UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel was obviously pleased with the play of defense once again. The defense has been very impressive over the course of the first four practices. They can't wait for today's practice when they are in full pads and can really fly around and hit. Neuheisel talks about practice.
Neuheisel: " It was a great day for the defense, not as good for the offense. We had some guys missing from the offense, Taylor Embree was down, Anthony Barr is down and obviously, Damien Thigpen from yesterday, so those things kept us from being as efficient as we probably wanted to be on offense. We had to use some other guys at the F position and so it slowed us down, but that is no excuse. It was a great day for our defensive unit and we're hopefully going to get a day better. Tomorrow we get to put pads on and hopefully we will come out here and play with great intensity."
What's up with Barr?
Neuheisel: "A little tight hamstring. It is just precautionary and with Taylor it is a calf, a tight calf. It is just precautionary."
Do you expect them to be out there tomorrow?
Neuheisel: "I don't know. We will have to wait and see. We need them. We can't risk them if they're nursing tight muscles."
Did those things happen today during practice?
Neuheisel: "Those things I guess happened, they came in and were in the training room and then when they warmed up, they just didn't loosen up so rather than risk it, we kept them out."
Neuheisel: "I'm going to have to ask why. I don't know/I have not been told anything is wrong with Tony Dye. Maybe they were just getting extra guys reps."
Are you seeing the sharpness out of the offense in terms of running up to the line of scrimmage. The defense just seems really into it, while the offense hasn't really necessarily have the that urgency?
Neuheisel: "When we lose a couple of guys today and having to put new guys in that slows down the efficiency. There's no question about that and putting things together and having to change scripts and do all the different things because those guys aren't available that slows the thing down. That's no excuse, but it is a reality."
How difficult is the transition from running back to F-back in this offense?
Neuheisel: "It's a job that requires execution just like any other job. It's a position and so if you're not playing it and you have to go in there and play it then it becomes a little more difficult, but those kids have shown that they can play, both Anthony and Taylor, so hopefully we can get them back in short order."
What about the quarterback position?
Neuheisel: "I like what's going on. I thought Richard Brehaut was really good today. It's about managing the team. Knowing what the situation calls for and figuring out how to lead the team. You can coach it until you are blue in the face, but you have to feel it right and we just have to keep feeling it and keep talking about it, philosophically about when to do this and when to do that. We're going to get there. I see improvement."
You were spending some time with the kickers before practice. What are you seeing out those guys?
Neuheisel: "I'm looking for some consistency and we haven't been. That's a concern of mine right now. In Kip Smith we have nothing but high hopes for, but he has been anything, but consistent to start so we will just have to keep working it. So we are going to try and create some competition there."
What type of pressure that you seem to be exerting from the defensive side. Do you feel that was a necessary element you needed to bring in when you hired a coordinator?
Neuheisel: "we want the ability to bring the pressure when it is the prudent thing to do. I think we have a good idea how to do it and that's what practice is for. Offensively we will have to be able to handle pressure so it is good to practice against it."
Neuheisel: "The organization of his pressure package was encouraging to me when I interviewed him. I just felt like it was easily understandable and executable and I think our kids are buying into it and I think we have enough athletes to get home."