April 4, 2008

The Neuheisel era begins

Rick Neuheisel's first practice as UCLA head coach is in the books and it was a solid effort. Rome wasn't built in a day, but yesterday was a very good start. The players, especially the offensive players are all much relieved as the offensive picture is much clearer and though it was only the first day it showed. For a group of players that have been mentally beat up over the last couple of years, it is a welcome relief. The offensive players actually said they are having fun and again.

As is customary after practice Neuheisel meets with the press. The following is what transpired.

Do you have an opening statement?

Neuheisel: "It's a thrill. It's an absolute thrill to back out here. I called Terry Donohue earlier today and left him a message about how thrilled I was to be able to take the field and I thanked the team today because I know we have 8,000 million mistakes out there, but they tried hard. They ran around and they are eager and when you have that you have a chance. There's too many things to mention that need to be fixed and worked on, but we do have great effort and great character so I'm excited about the future. It was a thrill to be out here again.

Given the fact that it was the first day with a brand new system and a brand new coaching staff. You said there were a lot of mistakes, but was it encouraging what you saw?

Neuheisel: "I'm very encouraged when I see Brian Price and Brigham Harwell line up next to each other (laughter), that looks like it is supposed to look. That's a beautiful thing.

"Our defense, obviously, is ahead of our offense given that they're system is in place and they have been in it for the last couple of years, but our offense will grow each and every day.

"We struggled with the center/quarterback exchange because we put Adam Heater in there at center just a week ago and obviously that's a lot to ask of a young man, but I guarantee he will bust his tail and he will find a way.

"A week from now, we will have very few of those so we're just going to work our way through it and hopefully we improvement on a daily basis.

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!