Let's start the Monday with some good news out of Vegas. The latest UCLA commit - QB Brett Nottingham - was the "top" performing QB at the Elite-11 QB camp at UNLV. From Craig Haubert of Scout Inc. from ESPN (HT PEDbruin):
Top performer: Brett Nottingham (Danville, Calif./Monte Vista)
Although a few quarterbacks performed well enough to claim this title, Nottingham had the best and most consistent day. The recent UCLA commit, who looked like a a polished pocket passer on tape, displayed that same skill in Saturday's workout. He looked very smooth and quick in his drops and showed strong ballhandling skills. He did not have the strongest arm in attendance but was very accurate and threw catchable balls. He really shined in short-to-intermediate passing work. He does not have striking physical measurables (6-foot-4, 208 pounds) but is a good-sized kid in person. The Bruins picked up a pretty good player who is fairly far along in his development and, based off his film and live workouts, should compete for playing time early in his career.
If Brett gets invited to the Elite-11 camp he will be the
third fifth UCLA QB recruit to get invited to that camp in this decade (following the two Olsons: Drew and Ben Drew Olson, Ben Olson, Nick Crissman and Richard Brehaut) [HT to BruinsRule].
One guy I am sure chomping for the opportunity to coach Brett is Norm Chow. In case you some of you missed it, ESPN's Ted Miller recently sat down with Chow for a great interview posted on WWL's Pac-10 blog. There were could of his comments I thought were worth highlighting on the home page. I thought Chow's responses re. Kevin Prince's performance this spring was somewhat comforting:
This spring you guys tapped redshirt freshman Kevin Price the starting quarterback fairly quickly: What about him impressed you?
NC: He's bright. He's strong. He's got a nice arm. He understands the game. He hasn't played for two years. He was hurt [his senior year of high school] and was already committed to the University of Washington when we got here, but we talked him into staying down here. He lives 10 minutes from UCLA and always wanted to go there, but I guess the previous staff didn't really recruit him or whatever. So he's a guy who wants to be there. He wants to be a good player. If we made a mistake, we probably should have played him a little bit last year, but the way the season was going and mid-way through the season when we'd have to make that decision about a redshirt and so forth we decided as a staff it would be best to hold him out. So the negative is he hasn't played for two years. The positive is that he understands the offense after being a part of it for a year and he's ready to explode, I hope.
Prince didn't play well in the scrimmages: Why do you think that was and does that concern you?
NC: No, not at all. Scrimmages are scrimmages -- we don't game plan; we just call plays. The defensive guys are trying to get their work done and you're trying to get your work done, so oftentimes it doesn't match, if you will. But I thought he performed well. He managed the offense. Maybe the numbers weren't like they were supposed to be but I thought he did well in the spring.
Chow then went on to emphasize how the OL will "always be the key." The most interesting part of his interview was this response wrt to his relationship with CRN:
Obviously Rick Neuheisel, a former UCLA quarterback, is an offensive guy. And he's a hands-on head coach. Did you guys ever butt heads during the season?
NC: Not at all. We have respect for each other. We're both trying to get the same things done. We have very similar ideas about offense. No, it was a joy. This past year, of all the years I've ever coached, was the first time I worked with an offensive coach, an offensive-minded head coach. I've always worked with defensive-minded head coaches, both in college and the NFL. They kind of have a tendency to leave you alone. But Rick was very good about suggestions and thoughts. All you're trying to do is get better. We got along very well. In fact, it was fun. He was a joy to work with. He's a nice guy. He's a fun guy. He's an intense guy. He's perfect for the head coaching position at UCLA.
Not sure if I have ever heard Chow speak of the former head coaches he worked under in such glowing terms. Something must be working right in Westwood and this is right in line with the feedback we have read over the years from other coaches who have worked under Neuheisel.
Lastly, we will end the roundup with couple of stories on alums doing really well in their careers following UCLA football. Dave Ball who terrorized QBs in a Bruin uniform is doing well with Chow's former employer Tennesse Titans. There was a nice write up on him last week in Nashville's City Paper.
Then there is Chad Sauter. Remember Chad? He was one of the anchors of the offensive line that protected number 18 and opened up holes for Skip Hicks and Deshaun Foster during UCLA's 20 game winning streak back in late 90s. Chad is now an L.A. County Sherrif's deputy. He is also coaching up kids as a volunteer assistant at Lynwood and Compton Centennial High Schools as a volunter assistant. Chad is doing his own version of shock-and-awe campaign while coaching up kids in those two schools:
Though he is responsible for the linemen, Sauter, 33, works with quarterbacks on understanding defensive formations, and he shows linebackers how to read linemen's stances to determine whether the offense is going to run or pass.
Sauter says the teens he works with are good kids. And he plans to keep it that way through his own shock-and-awe campaign.
He awes players by showing off his Cotton Bowl and Rose Bowl rings as incentive to go to college. He shocks them with stories of teenage lives gone awry.
"He's seen kids go in and out of jail, get killed and all that," said DeShawn Foxx, a running back and linebacker for Lynwood. "That helped some of the players on the team open their eyes and realize that life's not a joke."
Even players who were initially hesitant about having a deputy in their midst have come to appreciate Sauter's easygoing manner and sense of humor.
"He does a good job with the at-risk kids," Lynwood Coach Mark Williams said. "I might tell him, 'This cat might have a little problem there. See what kind of rapport you can build with him.' After a while, you'll see him talking to them for hours."
Good to hear there is at least one police not owned by the Trojans in LA.