Day 10 of UCLA football's spring practice is now in the books. Once again let's go directly to Coach Rick Neuheisel for his impressions from yesterday's practice:
Before I go on can I say how much we all have been appreciating these videos coming out of Morgan Center? No longer we have to exclusively depend on the fragmented quotes courtesy of the beat writers and can get the whole context of CRN's comments directly from him. The video blogging from Morgan Center around our football team has really been wonderful. I hope they continue to explore ways to build on it and also use the same strategy to cover our other programs (including the amazing baseball team from this season).
Anyway, going back to CRN's comments sounds like the offense had a choppy day yesterday. I enjoyed reading Gold's toplines in the Daily News today:
UCLA safety Rahim Moore makes a perfect jump on a pass and swats it out of the air, and his Bruins teammates chase after him in celebration.
Cornerbacks Aaron Hester and Sheldon Price take off like they're bringing back a quick-pick-six, and the only one faster is Daronte Jones ... their coach.
Jones and the rest of the UCLA defensive coaching staff hoot and holler as if Moore has just led the Bruins to a Rose Bowl bid, and the offense solemnly heads back to their places, heads hung, the coaches in their ears.
Then the next play, quarterback Kevin Prince finds an open Cory Harkey, and UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel cheers, Norm Chow pumps his fist and you can even see the slightest bunny hop from offensive line coach Bob Palcic.
Welcome to the battleground that is Spaulding Field, where the offense wears white, the defense wears blue, and there's no confusion about which is which.
Neuheisel talked about that competition in his comments above. There is nothing wrong with all out battle between the offense defense as long as they close ranks when game week for Kansas State gets closer. The difference this spring though has been that at least the offense is winning its share of battles. More from Gold:
"Our offense is so much better," Moore said. "Every time I come out here is like a game. I promise you that. There are so many playmakers. Our level of competition has come up. When I first came here, our offense wasn't clicking. Now it is."
I think Gold did a pretty good job of capturing the intensity in these practices and the sense of life around this program. Still IMO it is difficult to get a complete sense of where our guys are really at as a team.
As mentioned before in last three seasons the offense couldn't get it going because they would get destroyed by Brian Price within 2-3 seconds of every snap. It would have been really interesting to see how the offense would have done if Price was around. Oh well.
A big part of college game IMHO is finding ways to keep these kids motivated and engaged every day during practices (Pete Carroll was an absolute master in that department). I do like hearing how the Bruins are getting at it every day. We just didn't have that sense in the previous regime. Hopefully the offense will come back strong during the scrimmage today.
Speaking of the offense the OC Register's Trojan troll - Adam Maya - once again wrote a post about whether Richard Brehaut is going to transfer. Brehaut quickly dismissed the pathetic concern trolling from the Trojan alum:
"I don't have any thoughts of transferring at all," Brehaut said. "No thoughts. People will ask, If I'm not the No. 1 am I going to leave? I'm here to stay. I made my decision to come to UCLA, not just to come and play football at UCLA, I'm a student here too. I've loved everything I've gotten so far and want to keep doing that." [...]
"I'm the same as I've always been, fighting for a job," said Brehaut, almost all of whose repetitions this spring have come with the second-team offense. "I wont ever stop until I leave here.
"I'm going to keep fighting. I know that being the No. 2 you're one snap away from being the No. 1. If Kevin goes
Given Maya's hackish track record seems like he is just angling to write another snark laden, misinformation filled hit piece on UCLA football. How many times Brehaut needs to make it clear that he is happy being a Bruin and not going anywhere? So when does no mean no for Adam Maya? He should be told to knock off his baseless concern trolling if he wants to keep his media credentials to UCLA events.
Elsewhere, the LA Times wrote about Glenn Love adjusting as a LB. What was interesting here was the mentoring role Akeem Ayers has been playing in Love's transition this spring:
Glenn Love is new to the whole linebacker thing, courtesy of the coaches, who moved the former strong safety closer to the line this spring.
But having linebacker Akeem Ayers next to him expedites the process, since Ayers learned under former UCLA linebacker Reggie Carter.
"I can be the one to help him out a lot," said Ayers, who, with free safety Rahim Moore, was named on Thursday to the 2010 Lott Trophy watch list. The trophy is given annually to college football's best defensive player.
Love picks Ayers' brain in meetings and as they walk off the field. But on it, he'll ask Ayers and the other linebackers how to play certain gaps or what he's supposed to do in a Cover 4 defense.
"They're like teachers to me," said Love, who is mainly competing with Sean Westgate for the weakside linebacker spot.
I found that interesting because just last year we were talking about how Ayers need to do a better job of playing within scheme of our defense. Reggie Carter in a constructive way talked about Ayers playing out of position and taking him out of plays because of his over aggressiveness. It's kind of amusing (in a fun way) to see Ayers taking that mentorship role. I hope this means not only we will get meaningful contributions out of Love, but the complete package from Ayers we all have been looking forward to heading into his junior season.
Ayers, Love and their defensive team-mates will go at it in another full scrimmage this afternoon at Spaulding. Let's hope the offense brings it today.