Thursday the Bruins finalized their preparation for this weekend's visitors to the Rose Bowl, and Coach Rick Neuheisel had a few quick comments for the beat reporters after practice.
To start, Neuheisel mentioned that the team must get off to a quick start and play agressively from the get go.
"It’s always important to get off to a good start," Neuheisel said. "We can’t go in the tank if they get off to a fast start, but we’ve got to make sure that we do everything we can to start quickly and play aggressively from the get go."
When asked about the psyche of team, Neuheisel said they are "excited to play. We've practiced well. We've got what it takes to rise up in this circumstance and we've got to dig deep and play a whale of a ball game." Three cliches in one sentence. He has future broadcaster written all over him. If Tim McCarver can do it...
Injury wise, Chris Ward will only play in an emergency. Jerry Johnson will play but he was "resting" the last hour of practice. One can assume that his snaps will be very limited this weekend.
Brotherly love, after the jump.
He attended the game with other UCLA recruits and was sitting with his father, former Bruins running back Marv Kendricks. Both forgot why they were there when Bears linebacker Mychal Kendricks intercepted a pass late in the game.
As his brother ran 68 yards for a touchdown that clinched a 45-26 Cal victory, Kendricks said, "My dad and I jumped in the air and started cheering. Then we remembered we were in the UCLA section. We sat back down."
Thankfully, Eric chose UCLA over playing with his brother:
"This place has always been in my heart," Eric said. "I have been a Bruin ever since I was a little kid."
We need to foster these relationships more. We were unable to land Mychal, but Eric has been playing more this season, and is now third on the team in tackles.
Earlier in the day, Neuheisel was interviewed on ESPN Radio 710 on the Mason and Ireland show. If you'd like to hear the complete audio, head over here.
As for some of the interesting sound clips...
On why UCLA hasn't turned it around:
"If you’d have asked me when I got hired would that have taken place by now, I would have absolutely said yes. But for whatever reason, every time we’ve taken a step forward, we’ve had to take a step backward. Whether it be because of injury or what have you. We just have to keep churning and keep working our tails off and keep looking for the best way to be successful and that’s what we’re doing. We can not wallow in self pity or worry about what happened. We have to go forward and fix it."
On why he is the right coach for UCLA:
"I can recruit to this school as well as anybody in the country can. I know this school, I believe in this school and I’m very, very familiar with the inner workings of this school. I have always wanted to be here. This is, as I’ve said many times, my dream job. It has not been a dream since I’ve been here and I’m certainly well aware of the naysayers out there and I understand their concern and their disappointment. And to be frank, I’m disappointed in how things have gone as well."
He also states that starting over is someone else's decision, but that would be a "terrible mistake." Of course, he is fighting for his job.
However, when asked about saving his job:
"...I don’t feel like I have to apologize for the effort that we’re putting in. I would love for us to have a better record at this time, but we are going to keep fighting and those who believe in us are going to enjoy the contest because you are going to see guys doing everything they can to honor UCLA and UCLA football."
Some of us here would say that he would have to apologize after that effort last Thursday, and for what appears to be a team out of control. Saturday will be very telling to see if the Bruins have learned from last week and are looking to finish the rest of this season strong.