Freesia shared an early guess at the news in yesterday's roundup, but there is now official word from Coach Neuheisel. Tyler Gonzalez, a UCLA Senior who until recently had been a student manager for the Men's Soccer team will be taking over most of the placekicking duties for Saturday Night's game against Washington State. Jeff Locke will continue to take the longer field goal attempts while Kip Smith recovers from his leg injury.
Neuheisel said Locke would still handle longer field goals, saying that "in my mind, probably 40" yards is the limit for Gonzalez, but that Gonzalez, a fifth-year senior who has not kicked since his senior year in high school, would kick the short ones even if it was in a game-winning situation.
"If it comes down to it, go make the kick, man," Neuheisel said. "Every great movie needs a great ending so let’s create it."
Neuheisel added that Tyler has the ability to make a 50 yard field goal, but he would prefer not to have him attempt such a long kick. While we hope that this game does not come down to a last minute field goal, UCLA Football has a good history with walk-ons coming through in critical moments.
The full video of Neu's post-practice meeting with the media is here, where he talked a bit about the Stanford game as well as this week's practice and the upcoming game with Wazzu. As far as points of emphasis that he is focusing on to help improve the team's results, he discussed the defense's struggles to make stops on 3rd down - per a fanpost following last Saturday's loss at Stanford, the Bruins rate as the 2nd worst 3rd down defense in Division 1 this season.Under the new injury policy, yesterday saw the release of the final injury report for this Saturday's game. Per the OC Register, this is the defensive portion of the injury report released to the media on Thursday afternoon.
Additionally, Chris Ward and Kip Smith were listed as doubtful; Ward and Sheldon Price are both expected to be ready for the Arizona game in 2 weeks. Hopefully, Kip's leg will be healthy by then as well. Anthony Barr and Damien Thigpen remain out of action while recovering from their injuries. Peter Yoon wrote a post for ESPN LA looking at the promise of Nelson Rosario, and the work that he needs to do in order to realize it, and Jon Gold asked 10 Questions of Richard Brehaut.
Saturday's game will kick off at 7:30PM and will air on Prime Ticket in Southern California, and presumably on regional Comcast sports channels and/or their sports package nationwide. In attendance notes, this will be the first home game since the Fall quarter started, so the Den should be closer to full strength. Saturday night is also slated to be an "I'm Going to College" game. While it is a worthy program for the Southern California schoolchildren (not to mention for the UCLA Students that interact with the kids during the course of the day), I think more kids would be able to participate if this fall's program was not taking place around a game set to end at 11PM. But maybe that sort of thinking is why I am not working at Morgan Center.