A good week of practice is over and now all that remains is the game with Stanford. The Bruins have to bring the same kind of speed and intensity that they bring to practice, amp it up a notch and get ready to go. UCLA has to play well. Bruin head football coach, Rick Neuheisel met with media to discuss his team and the upcoming football game.
Neuheisel: "Excited with the week of practice with the way our team has responded to the challenge of a top 10 opponent and now we look forward to the opportunity to play the game and hopefully play it as well as we can and give ourselves a great chance. Still lots to be done, obviously before game time, but we're looking forward to our opportunity."
How much did the win last week help the mindset going into this game on the road?
Neuheisel: "Victories are always uplifting. Especially one in conference play because now you're in it and if you can find a way to get another win then now you are really in it. So it is exciting, yet, we need to concentrate solely on the task at hand, which is to play our best against Stanford."
What sort of physical toll does playing against Stanford exert and how can you get prepared for that?
Neuheisel: "You understand, as you do, I guess in prize fighting, that you are going in against somebody that likes to punch. Likes to slug and our defense has to understand that our offense has to understand that. It's a key, key piece to this game that the physical nature that they like to play with and frankly it has been kind of their calling card and we have to match that because as we evolve as a program we're trying to have that also be part of our identity.
What guys realistically do you feel you will have out there?
Neuheisel: "We will get there with a bunch of able bodied guys that are excited to play...
Out of the guys who have been sitting who realistically has a shot?
Neuheisel: "Those will all be game time decisions. We have a number of kids that are dying to play that are listed right now as questionable and doubtful and all that kind of stuff. We will just have to wait and see at game time. Certainly they have played a lot of football and will be missed if not available, but certainly if they can play we would like to have them."
Neuheisel: "Glenn has a little bit of a hamstring issue. We're hopeful that he can be ready to go."
Are you not only surprised at how quickly Stanford has turned it around but to the extent that they have?
Neuheisel: "Well it's a proven formula over the years that if you get a great quarterback you can usually do some good things around him. That's certainly not to take away from the other terrific players in their program but that quarterback allows them to really tee off and have some opportunities because there are very few mistakes made on the offensive side."
Are they a national player now in your mind?
Neuheisel: "They have always been a national player because of their reputation as an university. They've always had a niche in the recruiting world. That's why they don't have recruiting visits without mom's and dad's going on them. It's a neat place from that standpoint, but I don't see as a change from their ability to recruit nationally."
You got Jeff Baca back earlier than expected. How has he looked so far?
Neuheisel: "It has been great to have him back in. I don't know if he is 100 percent, but he is getting closer, all the time and has he gains more and more confidence in the ankle and all that stuff. I think his play will continue to improve."
Is he rusty at all from his year off?
Neuheisel: "Sure, there's rust. When you haven't played and remember he didn't play last year. He was out so he is coming back after a long layoff and sure there is going to be rust as part of that."
Do you have to find times at practice to spot him and give him some rest?
Neuheisel: "Yeah, we try to have a kind of a rotation in the offensive line between tackles and guards and try to give everybody a little bit of a blow, but we are also mindful that he has to play his way back into shape so you can't be so careful that you don't get him back to where he needs to be from a wind standpoint."
There has been all this talk about Andrew Luck this week. Can you talk a little bit about your quarterback (Richard Brehaut) and how you think he has matured over the last month?
Neuheisel: "I am pleased with Richard. I think he's come a long way. I'm excited about continuing the journey toward being a really, really good player, but if he can play with the poise that he played with last week and then in the Texas game, he's going to have a lot of good things happen to him. There's some things that we discover all the time that are in his head that aren't exactly correct and so we have to get those weeded out, but as long as we have great open lines of communication, which has been the case, we're going to get those discovered and I think he's going to be terrific."