It was quite apparent that UCLA head football coach, Rick Neuheisel was pleased with his team's effort on Tuesday. That's not to say the team is a finished product because it is far from that, but progress was made and if it continues in this matter than the results will be good. The energy was high, the pace quick and the focus was good to. It looked like it mattered to the players.
As always, Neuheisel met with the media after practice to discuss the events and the ongoings of the program.
Neuheisel: "I think we got better today. The defense kind of took control late periods, bringing a lot of pressure. It is hard to handle pressure, when you don't have pads on, but it was effective. Our guys ran around and good film to teach off of and it will be terrific tonight to get the attention of everyone involved. I like where we are. I think things are moving along the way they are supposed to and I have to keep moving in that direction."
Can you talk about the two new transfers?
Neuheisel: "Oh yeah, a couple of new guys that we are very excited about. Albert Cid from Citrus College. He worked really hard this summer to get himself into position where he could become a UCLA student and we are proud of him and now it is up to us to get him ready, but he certainly looks the part and also Jamie Graham, who graduated from Vanderbilt, but because of the NCAA new legislation is eligible to come to another school and begin graduate work so he is in our school of education and will give us some depth in our secondary as well as special teams. He's a quality young player."
How precarious was that admissions process for Albert and Jamie and were you ever actually worried that it wasn't going to happen?
Neuheisel: "The admissions process is a careful one. Those people do a lot of hard work and it's they want to be mindful can these young people succeed in this kind of academic environment. I thought both of these kids were the kind of kids when the committee and the people who take the information to the committee met them, I think they were very confident that these kids were just not football players, but rather student-athletes. When you (Graham) graduate from Vanderbilt it is usually a good sign."
The wide receiving corps is quite deep as you know and Shaquelle Evans and Devin Lucien were out here, sort of acclimating as well, Shaq had some injuries in the fall. How are they going to fit in the equation?
Neuheisel: "It remains to be seen, but both are off to a good start. Both are gifted guys. Very good in terms of catching the ball. Learning the system as go and try to get acclimated as fast as possible, but I see that both will have big impacts with UCLA football."
In the passing game you guys are throwing a lot to the running backs today. Can you talk about that?
Neuheisel: "Well one of the things we have to get better at is not taking sacks. One of the ways to do that is get the backs out so you can find check downs when a protection breaks down. If somebody misses a block or loses a block and so we are working on that and that will be vital to us as we go forward, plus we have gifted running backs and when they have the ball in their hands can make some big plays regardless of how far the ball traveled in the air."
How does Albert (Cid) fit into the offensive line right now going forward?
Neuheisel: "He will be a guard and we will wait and see how fast he picks it up and how fast he can compete, but we're glad he's in the uniform and ready to do just that, compete."
Neuheisel: "Just some inconsistencies still, and some decision making thing that we have to keep working on and that's part of the job. You are not always going to be perfect. We have to make sure guys are learning and understanding why that was a mistake whether than having it might happen again."
Would you say Prince is still pretty rusty?
Neuheisel: "He's not game ready yet. If that's the question. Yeah, there's rust on him, but I see some real strides and I see both are performing well, I just want one to really or both to take off and then we will make the decision to who is the starter when we start to see that."
It looks like Prince is running fine...
Neuheisel: "He looks totally healthy, which is a blessing."
Are you expecting in regards to Prince and Brehaut that the lightbulb come on for one of them?
Neuheisel: "It's my decision and I will make when I feel like I need to make it and when I feel it is the prudent thing for the team. Right now it is great to get them both as much work as they can get. I don't have to poll anybody. I don't have to go and have a caucus. It's my call and I'm going to make it and we will live with it."
How good can your defensive line be? They look to be a step ahead...
Neuheisel: "Again no pads, but I am thrilled with the progress of our defensive line. A year ago we were a little overmatched or overwhelmed because of the lack of experience and strength at this level and so forth. I think a year later we have caught up and I don't if we're going to dominate with our strength, but we are certainly athletic and we're deep so we can play fast and guys going in there in a few plays is different than playing their tenth play in a row and I think that will have a huge impact on our production without necessarily having to scheme the pressure."
Neuheisel: "I think it helps to have fiery people period. As long as they're fiery in the right way. The energy has to be such as that everybody understands we are all pulling together and so yeah, that's part of the reason why we kept looking for ways to get this going."