You know there has been more time than usual leading up to a game when a lot of the same topics get covered over and over. UCLA head coach, Rick Neuheisel was asked similar questions leading up Arizona before, but the UCLA coach, as always, responded with courtesy during the media scrum after practice.
Neuheisel: "Sorry to make you work a little overtime tonight, but class schedule required a later start and I am just thrilled with the way they came to work. It has been a great week of practice and there is obvious energy with our football team in anticipation of a big game. I am sure that it is the same in Tucson. It ought to be a whale of the ballgame."
What do you think the environment will be like there on Thursday Night?
Neuheisel: "Like most college football stadiums it will be jumping. The homegrown will be excited about their team. Kind of a new starts of sorts and for our team it's a chance to hopefully take another positive step in the conference.
Neuheisel: "Anytime you lose your quarterback that's a hardship, but we were fortunate that we had an experienced player to come off the bench, not only in the Washington State game, but also get ready for the rest of the year.
"We still hold out optimism that Richard will return before the season's end, but in the meantime, we feel very good about the way Kevin Prince has worked and also feel good about Brett Hundley in his backup role. I like our quarterback situation. It is what it is, but we're not going to complain."
When you watch Arizona on film do they look like a 1-5 team?
Neuheisel: "No, they are much better team than their record would indicate and if you stopped to really analyze who they have played over the last 10 or 11 games it's murder's row. They have put up a lot of points and have lost a lot of close games. There's not a game that's on that deal that they weren't in on at some point. That's a proud program and a bunch of kids that have great character and it's going to be a whale of a ballgame."
How's the national television aspect impact the importance of this game?
Neuheisel: "Well you like to put on your best when people are watching and it is one of those games in that time slot where it is the only game in town. So when people are turning it on or channel surfing, we want to make sure they say look at the Bruins, they have improved and this is our opportunity to get that message across."
Do you find that it affects recruiting at all?
Neuheisel: "Sure, I mean if you do things well in spotlight situations that helps."
How did Kevin (Prince) look tonight?
Neuheisel: "I thought he was good. There are some things that we can fix, but the mistakes that were made were ones that are easily correctable, but his command. His ability to move the ball, but just can't turn it over. That's the key and we have to keep working within his comfort zone to make sure that is the case."
You said you were going to use the bye like a training camp, sort of for Hundley...
Neuheisel: "Last week we did, yes."
How did that work out for him?
Neuheisel: "He had lots of reps. Reps that would have been hugely valuable had he been able to have them in actual training camp. He's our backup quarterback right now so he's got to be ready to roll."
Neuheisel: "Yeah, I would say that the chances are not great."
The Arizona head coach has recently been fired, how do you think it impacts the Arizona players?
Neuheisel: "Obviously that kind of change is tough. Especially if you are fond of your coach and you got to believe they were fond of Mike Stoops and his passion and so forth, but the only thing they know how to do is give their best and I know they are fond of coaches that are still there and I just expect them to play with great emotion on Thursday Night."
Neuheisel: "I like it when it is close and I like it that they keep clawing and trying and fighting for it and both become better players and consequently our depth gets better. I haven't talked to our guys in the front as to who is ahead right now, but I will have that information later in the week."
Can you talk about Joseph Fauria being named to the Mackey Award watch list?
Neuheisel: "Joe has had a great beginning of the season and hopefully an even better second half. We get started here in earnest and I think Joe is a real weapon and I am excited for him."
What does Joe bring and not just on the field, but also off?
Neuheisel: "He loves football. He has that kind of personality that obviously enjoys being out there amongst them. The more of that you have of that on a football team, the more contagious it is."