Yesterday afternoon, the Bruins traveled out to the Rose Bowl for their second extensive scrimmage of the summer. With Pasadena having been under an excessive heat warning on Friday, the team was able to get some idea of the conditions in a near-game context that will be facing them in Houston next weekend. The scrimmage was closed to the media as well as the general public, so reports of how the team and particular players did on Friday are limited to what Coach Neuheisel and members of his staff have shared. There was not a lot of news coming out of the closed scrimmage, but enough to get a taste for what is to come. Here's the basics via ESPN LA.
On the heat at the Rose Bowl: "It was a great day for us with respect to that to get used to that and I think it will help us mentally when we get there next week. It was kind of a hot and humid day out there which is exactly what we expect to play in a week from now."
On how the scrimmage unfolded: "We played the one offense vs. the two defense and the two offense vs. the one defense. Each offense and defense got 25 plays. Then we played the threes against each other for about 15 plays and we played the twos, who had been the service teams, against each other 10-12 plays which Brett Hundley got all the snaps and he looked pretty good."
While Coach Neuheisel is still looking to make - or at least announce - his decision of who the starting Quarterback will be early in the coming week, the scrimmage was not designed to be an QB-centered day, with Neu telling the media that "... we didn’t throw very much. We were into pounding a little bit.". Still, comparing how Brehaut and Prince can manage the Bruins running attack doesn't hurt when making that decision.
In addition to the weather conditions mentioned above, another of the benefits of the Rose Bowl scrimmage was the ability of the coaches to manage the session under game day conditions - in terms of communications, placement of the coaches and players on the sidelines and such.
... But from a standpoint of working through all the administration that goes into calling offenses and calling defenses and having coaches working sidelines and press box communications and all that stuff it was good.
The post-scrimmage media conference call also shared some encouraging developments on the injury front. Jeff Baca is recovering faster than expected from his broken ankle suffered in Spring practices. He is expected to return to practice next week, and may be ready to play in two weeks against San Jose State. Certainly a benefit to Coach Palic and his O-line rotation. Taylor Embree was able to go through warm-ups and individual drills on Friday, and should be able to return to practice tomorrow. Chris Ward is also expected to rejoin practices on Monday, after having sprained his ankle last week. Chris Foster has a story on Tony Dye and his move to Free Safety, and a greater leadership role in the Defense in the LAT.
Nestor has already written on Brett Hundley's performance at the scrimmage, along with the growing prospect that he will see playing time this fall, by way of Pryor/Tebow-like packages installed in the gameplan. The idea of burning a redshirt year for Brett is not a clearcut decision to make and does not come without controversy, if only among the fanbase. Regardless of Neu's future status with a program, it is difficult to imagine any head coach cutting off a possible avenue for improving his team here in 2011, when the consequence - if any - is not going to be felt until 2015, and if recruiting at the QB position goes well over the next couple of years, likely never felt.