Bruin head coach, Rick Neuheisel was obviously pleased with the day of practice getting ready for UCLA's next biggest game of season against Utah. For a Tuesday the practice was as crisp as the November air in Westwood. Neuheisel met with the media after the session to discuss his team.
Neuheisel: "Pleased with the first day of practice. Our kids are eager. Now it is about performing and executing as the week goes on, we will try to accumulate the necessary amount of emotion to play a kind of game that we are going to have to play to compete with a very, very good Utah team. Especially when they are at home so, but it was a good start to week and I'mm looking forward to continuing along that vein."
Did you get the weather set up this way because you know it is going to be cooler up there in Utah?
Neuheisel: "Well November does turn, but the last two times we played in the cold weather we played hard, so I don't think the weather will be a factor."
Getting a look at Richard Brehaut is there really much chance at all for him to go this week?
Neuheisel: "Probably not, I don't rule him ever out. He is going to work out now, but he is still sore and he is rusty. You can't be gone since the Washington State game and not come back rusty, but it is good to have him starting that process and hopefully it will go quickly."
You have talked about the team staying positive and putting together a couple of wins, especially a big win against Arizona State. Is it going to a new level or just maintaining...
Neuheisel: "It's just one game at a time. It is us against Utah and right now, both of us put in a great Tuesday practice and you can't keep score on that, but someone is ahead so we have to make sure that we are doing everything we can as the week goes on to have that edge and that is what we are focusing on."
Is it getting hard not looking ahead given that you control your own destiny now?
Neuheisel: "You have to be reminded and you have to remind guys all the time you can't look ahead. I mean certainly everybody else wants to. You asked the question and people are calling and trying to get tickets for games that are down the road. I mean you are going to be given those types of obstacles, but you have get them out of your mind and keep focusing on us against Utah."
What do you tell the team?
Neuheisel: "I tell him exactly what I tell folks, I'm not talking about anything other than Utah and that is what we should be doing and that is what we should be doing. Anybody that wants to come up and pat your back for about Arizona State or Cal, you say thank you, but we are thinking about Utah and that's where it has to be."
Neuheisel: "Getting better. I still think he will make the game."
Can you talk about the run defense on both sides here? This is going to be a real key to this game.
Neuheisel: "Utah has the No. 1 run defense in the Pac 12 so it's a big time challenge for us, who like to make our living running. This is a game not for the faint of heart. It's going to be a grind in there and hopefully, we are up to the task."
Your run D is going to have to face a guy who is probably going to carry the ball at least 25 times in John White.
Neuheisel: "That is exactly right. This is going to be an old fashioned slugfest. If I have thoughts on it correct. I just think this is going to be a field position game and we have to hang in there and do a nice job with that."
To add to that, you gave up a 168 yards last week against Cameron Marshall with John White coming in Utah is 5-0 when he reaches the 100-yard mark. What are you guys going to do differently to adjust to that?
Neuheisel: "He has done a nice job and we won the game even though we gave up 100 yard rusher last week. We just have to find a way to get guys off the field and certainly in playing against a more traditional two-back offense we will be a little more better suited to stop the run than maybe against a Arizona State team that was going to spread the field and so on and so forth. Hopefully we are up to the task."
You will probably be loading up the box a little more than the normal, you think?
Neuheisel: "Yeah, you would think so."
Cassius Marsh running with the twos right now, is that a product of the suspension?
Neuheisel: "He's just working his way back. He has been gone for two weeks and he is an important player on this team and he will have a role on Saturday."
There is a chance that it might rain. Does that effect anything that you might do at all?
Neuheisel: "You know we can't worry about things that we can't control. It is just one of those things that happen. We have been in wet weather before and hopefully we are up to the task."
How about going up against their quarterback (Jon Hays), he's throwing at about 53 percent?
Neuheisel: "He's a guy who had to come off the bench and come in for a starter and I think he has really performed adequately and I think they kind of know who he is and manage him. Norm Chow is good at that. Norm is going to give him things he likes and the guy has made a lot of big plays of late."
Speaking of Norm, do you feel like you have any edge at all this week over another week because you know him so well?
Neuheisel: "He'd being saying the same thing about me so it will be an interesting matchup, but Norm and I will be in safe places. Not between the white lines."