The Bruins are continuing their march toward next Saturday's opener in Houston. Yesterday afternoon saw the team back on the practice field, and like Wednesday's practice, the hot weather mirrored the heat generating between the offensive and defensive squads. On Thursday, it was Datone Jones feeling the heat, though he quickly regained his cool, and apologized to his teammates. His post-practice words on what happened:
"I just let my emotions get to me," said Jones, a normally even-keeled player who is expected to be a defensive leader for the Bruins this season. "I took a few plays off to get my mind right and realized it was pretty selfish of me and I apologized to my defense and it will never happen again."
... "It’s going to happen," he said. "You’re going to have fights with your teammates on the field. You’re going to get into it. I guess we’re getting close to game time and things are getting tense."
With game time getting close, it is getting closer to Coach Neuheisel's time to name a starting Quarterback for the Houston game. The consensus from this morning's media reports have Neu making that decision by early next week. Both QB's have been getting first-team reps this week, and he does not feel much urgency in making a pick, noting that both guys have started games and have seen hostile action.
While Thursday's practice was not a particularly extensive or notable session, Joseph Fauria turned some heads, and continued an impressive run through recent practices. He closed a two-minute drill with a one handed catch in the back of the end zone via Kevin Prince. Fauria talked to Adam Maya after practice, telling him that he is finally feeling healthy and able to play at his full ability after playing through a groin injury last season.
"I couldn’t get into my stance last year," Fauria said. "The few plays I had last year, they weren’t 100 percent. They weren’t really me."
Hopefully Joseph can get on the field and back up some of his preseason talk, and provide another weapon to whover ends up lining up under center next weekend, and beyond.
In injury news, Damien Thigpen was at practice and did some running on the side, but did not otherwise participate. He did tell reporters that he believes that he will be able to play against Houston. Andrew Abbott got a little banged up, briefly sitting out of drills before returning before the end of the session. Chris Ward is still day-to-day after injuring his ankle earlier in the week, while Jamie Graham attended practice without crutches, but is still walking with a limp and is still a few weeks away from returning to practice.
The Bruins will be holding a private scrimmage at the Rose Bowl this afternoon, allowing them to run parts of the game plan without the risk of people watching from Lot 6, but also gets them out of Westwood, and practicing in the heat of the San Gabriel Valley. While the humidity will be nothing like they will face in Houston, at least the heat will be a closer approximation. That was part of Coach Neuheisel's plan in scheduling the Rose Bowl session:
"We don't have as many people around, so we'll get some more things done," Coach Rick Neuheisel said. "But the best thing about it is to play in that heat, which will be close to what we'll see in Houston."
Pasadena will have a high of 96, with a "real feel" of 102, according to Accuweather.com. The forecast for Houston on Sept. 3 — as of Thursday — is 82 degrees, with the "real feel" of 91. Thunderstorms are also in the forecast.
"We can get the feel of that heat and learn not [to] give in to it," Neuheisel said.
Certainly a benefit to getting the players some experience playing - or at least scrimmaging - in warmer weather than Westwood can provide to prepare for Houston, or for that matter next month's afternoon game against the Longhorns on this same field.