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Spring Football News & Notes: Under The Lights

The team had it second scrimmage of this spring last night. By all accounts the defense dominated the offense. From the Daily News:

A few penalties by the offensive line, some bad reads and poorly throw calls prompted coach Rick Neuheisel to say the passing game needed to make a marked improvement in the last four spring practice sessions, culminating with next Saturday's spring game at the Rose Bowl.

"We need to improve dramatically in the throw game between now and the end of week so we give ourselves a springboard toward the offseason and into the fall," Neuheisel said. "Just a little bit more precision (is needed), where the timing is on. And you know what? That's a tall order. That takes longer (to develop) than it takes to cover it (defensively).

"We've got to get a little bit crisper. All the guys in the throwing game have to take that on themselves."
Well I am not sure if this is a reason to panic. As we have mentioned all spring the offense is operating with a brand new line and a new coaching scheme. It is going up against a defense that has been much more stable and consistent under the same DC for more than two years. So the results were somewhat predictable. The good news is our offensive coaching staff are not sleeping (pun intended) on the problem. Coach Chow called for his staff to be in at six this am to figure out the problems in our offense:
"I know they missed a couple of reads," UCLA offensive coordinator Norm Chow said. "They weren't pass protecting very well with the first group, but I just like the eagerness, the way we're trying to get stuff done right.

"The little stuff - the snap count is messy, the offsides - we can't be doing that with one week left to go. I told our offensive staff to be in at six in the morning and we're going to have to figure this thing out. It shouldn't be that way at this point."
Again given that kind of dedication, I think we are going to get some of these issues straightened out.

Staying with the offense, neither BO nor PC had a great night:
Olson got two series with the first offensive unit, completing two of six passes for 19 yards with that group. He was five of 11 for 42 yards and one touchdown overall.

"You got to try to take advantage of any chance you get with the first team," said Olson, who was the Bruins No. 1 quarterback at the start of the 2006 and 2007 seasons. "I would have liked to have done a little better, but I've got to keep working hard and stay positive."

Cowan played exclusively with the first team, as he has nearly all of spring practice. He completed three of eight passes for 54 yards.

Neither quarterback turned in a smooth performance.

"The problem with a scrimmage is you don't have game plan," Chow said. "You're just trying to get our stuff in. So at times it's not going to look good."
Well we will see how long PC or BO can keep this up. By the time Fall camp rolls around and they are still not stepping up, it could give an opening for Craft to step up.

Anyway, some other notes from the OC Register:
Defensive tackle Brigham Harwell is one of 70 players on the watch list for the Outland Trophy, which is presented annually to the top interior lineman in college football. ... Harwell and tackles Brian Price and Jerzy Siewierski all had some big plays in the scrimmage, stopping the struggling running game. "I thought they did some great things inside," Neuheisel said. ...

Terrence Austin had a nice punt return for a score and looks to have an edge at that spot. "It was against the look team, but he looks pretty natural back there and I'd say he would have a great chance to have that job of he does a good job and is real consistent catching it," Neuheisel said. Ryan Graves and Christian Ramirez also have worked on punt returns. ...

Moline is running with the second and third defenses, but after coming close to giving up football after suffering a neck injury a year ago is happy to be out on the field. "It's fun," he said. "It's my last year. I get a chance to finish it out. There was a moment where I thought I was done. But I took the time off and everything and it started to feel a lot better and I gave it a try."
The defensive line has been one of the few shining spots this spring and its great to hear Moline coming back and doing best to contribute. Also, I have a feeling CRN is going to find a way to get someone like Austin more action on the field. He has playmaker written all over him.