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September 5, 2011UCLA head coach, Rick Neuheisel, opened his after-Houston press conference talking about postmortem of a loss like the one the Bruins experienced last Saturday is hard indeed. Whenever you lose a four-point game there are countless things you wish you could have back.
Things jump out on tape that you know could have been better, but Neuheisel wants his coaching staff and players to look at the game with the right mindset because there are things that could be taken as encouraging.
Clean up the issues and this team has the capability to get better quickly. Neuheisel is excited about going forward leaving the bad taste of Houston behind him and the team, "in terms of the disappointment, but taking with us, the lessons that are available to us."
Neuheisel is convinced that there are the makings of a very good football team. It is important to move on and play again.
The UCLA coach was very pleased of how Richard Brehaut played against Houston and thinks because of the competition between Brehaut and Kevin Prince that Prince will return quicker than expected, much like Brehaut did in camp.
Prince has an AC strain to his right shoulder. There is no damage according to a MRI and how fast Prince returns will depend on his tolerance to the strain.
As Neuheisel said during last night's teleconference if Prince isn't ready to go, then Brett Hundley would be next in line after Brehaut.
The thing that Neuheisel wants out of his team this week is being being eager and have spirited practices. There will be no overlooking San Jose State. Three times Stanford had to use three downs to score from the one yard line.
Neuheisel would like to see the defense play fast, much like the one that he saw during camp and game week practice. That is what defensive coordinator Joe Tresey will be working this week, pace.
First games always have glitches that is why some prefer to play less formidable foes, but schedules are planned way in advance so you never know if you are going to play weak team or an unknown Boise State.
In the loss to Houston, UCLA learned a lot about themselves. They came way way back from a 31-14 deficit. The Bruins scored five times out of six when they reached the red zone, more importantly they scored touchdowns. The only time the Bruins failed to score was when Kip Smith missed his 32 yard field goal.
Neuheisel has reminded his team there is no reason to be too down, there are ample reasons to think this team will bounce back and play like the team that most saw during camp.
There will be competition this week at the field goal kicker position, but Neuheisel still feels that there is a good kicker inside of Smith and there's a chance that Smith will be the guy against San Jose State.
Smith will continue to get be coached and worked, but it is Neuheisel's job to put the best kicker in the game.
Of course the question would come up about Joe Tresey and in no uncertain terms, he has faith in his defensive coordinator, but the defense has to pick up the pace.
During Sunday's teleconference Neuheisel said that the defensive line did some good things and he was asked to get more specific about what he liked and he said there was great push, but they tried too hard get sacks. They need a little bit of discipline.
A lot Houston's rushing yards were because of UCLA's poor tackling and that is another thing they will be working on this week during practice.
Neuheisel was asked about his linebackers and he was disappointed in their play. Both "Patrick Larimore and Sean Westgate were overzealous against Houston." He cuts them a little slack since it was their first game in a new system.
San Jose State has elements of the the pistol in their offense, but that doesn't mean it is going to be easier for the Bruin defense.
Jeff Baca will be back at practice this week, but rust is to be expected. He hasn't played football in a very long time, but his presence is welcome and hopefully he will get up to speed as soon as possible. He makes the the line a better unit.
Linebacker Glenn Love was expected to be out for two weeks, but he is now considered questionable.