Under difficult circumstances the Bruins had another good practice on Tuesday. Under warm conditions, UCLA were on the grinder and came through it pretty well. UCLA head coach, Rick Neuheisel as always took questions from the media after practice.
Neuheisel: " I knew it was going to be a difficult practice because we practice last evening. To come back in the morning and change the schedule and ask them to get after it and the way that we did was going to be taxing and it was, but I think they fought through it and we will definitely benefit from having this experience and then we will go again tomorrow full go and see if can't continue to build our conditioning base as we get ready to play in a tough environment like Houston."
Neuheisel: "I was told it is probably just a sprain, but I am sure just precautionary they will do that, yeah."
What was the reason for practicing over here (Drake Stadium)?
Neuheisel: "Just to give our grass a little rest. We don't have the luxury of a full field over there, so we have to be able to make sure we let it heal when we can. We used it (Drake Stadium) the other night and it is a beautiful field and the administration was nice enough to let us use it."
Do you plan on doing it again?
Neuheisel: "I would do it a lot if I could."
Quarterbacks today, an analyst?
Neuheisel: "I thought the quarterbacks were fine. I'm anxious to look at the tape. Again we were a little bit heavy legged today and I thought we pushed through it and we will get the freshness back as we taper down later in the week."
You seem to be doing the majority of your scrimmages on grass this year. Was that a conscious effort?
Neuheisel: "No, no, just trying, it is a little bit more taxing when you are on the turf. You can feel it in your legs, a little bit more, at the conclusions. So as we are in double days and now just coming out of double days, I'm just trying to be on grass as much as I can. We are playing on grass, also."
Is Tony Dye's return just in time just in terms of a boost for the younger guys?
Neuheisel: "Oh yeah, that's a big deal. Alex Mascarenas was back today. That's good. Tevin McDonald is back going full stuff. That's all great for our secondary and depth. We just need to keep getting better and keep getting healthier and all that kind of stuff. As the the old saying goes, get to the dance."
How do you feel Richard Brehaut has performed getting more reps with the ones?
Neuheisel: "I think Brehaut is doing well. I want him to play with the ones. Just like I want Kevin Prince to play with the ones. I'm going to continue to evaluate and continue to see. I think the fact that they are pushing for this opportunity to be the starting quarterback is making them both better. There is no reason to call off the jam yet. Let's keep going."
Does Ward's injury solidify Albert Cid and Greg Capella there at the guards. Just to start or is it a wait and see?
Neuheisel: "We'll wait and see. I don't think that he (Ward) is that serious. So we have our fingers crossed that we will have him back here shortly. I know he'll want to."
Can you talk about the receivers a little bit and also touch on Jerry Rice Jr. and he is maybe picking up things?
"Jerry knows all the positions and he can play them all well. We highlighted him in the scrimmage the other night to show what a great down field block he made. He's a player on this team and a guy I wouldn't hesitate to put in the game."
It seems like there is a lot of depth at that position, does that bode well for a kid like Rice?
Neuheisel: "You are happy that he is here. You are happy that he is working. You are happy that he's so intelligent that he can play it all and you never know. You never sit there and say that we're chalk full of those guys because it can happen in a snap of a finger that you are not. Jerry Rice's opportunity will come. I'm pretty confident of that and when it comes, he will respond."
One last thing, how's the reception of him having a famous last name?
Neuheisel: "That's kind of an individual thing. You have to be your own man. Certainly he learns a lot from his father, like any young man learns from his father. When your father is the best wide receiver in the history of the game that's probably a good place to go for information, but it can also be burdensome, because now the expectation of him go up to the point where, can he meet those expectations and what he has to do is realize that he said this himself when I've talked to him. He has to be his own man and be his own receiver and make his own name. Junior, rather than just Jerry Rice and I think he's doing a marvelous job at that."
Do you think maybe that if you were to pick a starting quarterback, he would start taking it easy?
Neuheisel: "No, I just know that both are getting better and I like it. As you guys have noticed in the last few years, we've needed more than one."
Neuheisel: "He's ready to go, they just don't want him to have a lot of volume. He can do everything, he just can't do a lot of it. So we are just trying to nurse him back in and he will get some chances on Friday in the scrimmage and see where he is."