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November 2, 2011First practice getting ready for Arizona State is in the books and per usual, UCLA's head coach, Rick Neuheisel, holds court after the session is finished and takes on questions from the media.
Neuheisel: "Good first day. Like all first days you try to put some stuff in there, you see how it takes and away you go, but we will keep chiseling away at the plan and see if we can't come to some conclusions as to the best way to attack a very, very, talented, Sun Devil team so we're excited about the contest. Looking forward to it."
On Saturday you mentioned the marching orders for this week would be to carry over the momentum from Saturday. What have you done specifically to make that happen?
Neuheisel: "They all saw the film. They saw what we looked liked. When we play with passion and we play with concentration. To do anything other than that would be a terrible, terrible waste of what we are all trying to accomplish. They are well aware of what we are trying to do."
Do you think you will have Jeff Locke available this week?
Neuheisel: "Yeah, I feel very good about that."
You are facing a defense that has forced 25 turnovers over their season, with a player like Vontaze Burfict, does that change the way you guys game plan at all?
Neuheisel: "Well you have to know where No. 7 is, there's no question, he's right there in the middle. He's not going to be hard to find, but you have to account for him on every play whether it is run or a pass. He's a very instinctive, very talented football player."
You mentioned you have to keep a guy on him. Who gets the enviable task of doing that?
Neuheisel: "It depends on which play, but we will take turns because no one person can be able to handle that job."
When Kevin Prince came away with a game like he did on Saturday running so successfully, is that something you want to continue to do or is it game by game?
Neuheisel: "Each game will dictate what the plan calls for. Really it's a lot of what they do to us that dictates how many times he will have to keep the ball, but the offense is predicated on his ability to keep it, at least a portion of the time, if they decide to take away the other option."
You mention taking what the defense gives you, but is balance what you always strive for in the an offense?
Neuheisel: "You would like to be balanced, no question, but if you are having success running the football then you don't need to do much else. Certainly we understand that against an Arizona State defense, as talented as they are, we're going to have to have, both run and pass."
Do you think getting your full compliment of receivers back helps that?
Neuheisel: "It gives us a step in the right direction, no question about it."
What are the reasons that is so difficult preparing for the spread?
Neuheisel: "Two reasons, number one it's a complicated offense that really spreads you out. It makes you be really sure tacklers and they're a skilled group and dynamic offensively in terms of running after the catch and number two we're down numbers in the defensive backfield so it makes it even more complicated, but we're going to fight them and see if we can't hang in there with them."
Offensive line, Wade Yandall, how is he looking?
Neuheisel: "Wade did a nice job in his first start and he is going to get another chance so we will see how he and Berto (Albert Cid) compete this week and see what the future holds here for the weekend."
Do you have three interceptions in the game plan for Tevin McDonald?
Neuheisel: "I would love that. Where do I sign for that."
The suspended guys who are back in practice, how did they do today?
Neuheisel: "They were terrific. Last week, our two scouts of the week were both suspended guys. That group of guys busted their tails, helped us get ready to win. They couldn't be in the game, but they certainly participated in the victory by the way they practiced and Cassius Marsh is doing that again this week. These are tough pills to swallow to lose games when you work all season long, but hopefully the lesson has been learned and they are excited about being back."
Who did win those awards? Can you share that?
Neuheisel: "Cassius and Ricky Marvray."
Are you looking to continue to use A.O. (Aramide Olaniyan) in special packages?
Neuheisel: "A.O., is now a proven guy and we will see how we use him. Each game will be different and dictate how...it's all about finding the right match ups."
Does that give you faith to be a little more creative with moving guys around and things like that?
Neuheisel: "I've never needed faith to do that. I've done that my whole career. It is just something that you have to keep looking at. You can't get locked in. Looking from outside of the box, I guess."
Who is your backup punter?
Neuheisel: "Right now it is Mike Leamy."