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Spring Football News & Notes

The boys were back at Spaulding yesterday. And once again the defense dominated our offense. According to Dohn the offense (with PC taking the first team reps) sputtered around as QBs were missing receivers, who were having their share of the dropsies.

CRN for his part is staying patient and intent on "not passing the buck":

"It's little things. It isn't a wholesale epidemic," he said. "When one guy doesn't do it exactly right it shows up. When one guy doesn't do it right on defense you don't see it a lot of the time. We're not far off.

"You leave watching the tape encouraged that it can be done, but our guys have to take it upon themselves to start eliminating some of the mistakes." […]

"It's coaching. The coaches have got to eliminate the mistakes, not assume the player's want to, Neuhesel said.

"We've got to. I'm not passing the buck. It's just remaining diligent, remaining focused on the target. Just keep pressing and eventually you'll get there. …

"There isn't one guy on the offense that hasn't dealt with at least three position coaches. There isn't one guy on the offense that isn't learning at least the second offense.

"There are very few guys on offense that aren't playing a new position, relative to where they were. So it's obviously a work in progress."
What CRN will not mention is what a challenge it has been to work with an offensive unit which hasn’t received any competent coaching for years. If you don’t want to believe me, just listen to Osaar Rasshan, who destroyed the former coaching staff in the DN report today (emphasis added throughout):
"I've learned more in the last couple of months than I've learned since I've been at UCLA," Rasshan said. "I'm repping every play in my head and trying to play vicariously through the other quarterbacks. It's (learning) how to play and why, and being able to make decisions and call the games, kind of like the offensive coordinator."
Ouch. Those words are tougher and harsher than anything we have ever written on this blog. But OR wasn’t done. He let it all out yesterday:
"It can't get too much worse than it was last year," Rasshan said.

"I dealt with so much last year with certain people and having to overcome it. One thing I do commend these coaches on is they have been honest with me from (the beginning).

"I don't think there was any communication at all (last season), with any of the quarterbacks. Thursday, Friday, with all the quarterbacks, we weren't sure who was playing."
Well for his part OR is intent on sticking around at the QB position even though he is not getting many reps and will probably be around 4th in the depth chart this season. He is staying at QB because he truly believe he can make a run for the starting spot following the graduation of Cowan and Olson.

I just hope he would consider the prospect of at least being used as a Slash QB (QB/WR) allowing coaches to have one more athletic options in certain plays. After all it was CRN who did wonders with Kordell Stewart in Colorado, kick starting that trend in both college and professional football.

One kid who is not waiting around and getting plenty of action (with a starring role) is Brian Price. The LAT zeroes in on the DT who is perhaps poised for a big sophomore season:
"He went through a lot," Walker said. "Was he going to make it, then he did make it, then had to get cleared. Then, 'OK, I missed training camp and now they want me to play next week.' He has been building from that and has handled the thing he went through very well."

Now Price has the time to learn the subtleties of the defensive line to go with his physical abilities.

"I'm getting to learn what the offense is running and what to do in situations," Price said. "I'm picking up my football IQ. I was learning stuff on the run last season. Every week, something new was thrown at me."

Price also shed 17 pounds since last season, down to 288, which has made him quicker as well as stronger. Said defensive line coach Todd Howard: "He still has a lot of rawness in how he plays. But he is picking up the finer points of playing defensive tackle, the hand placement, the footwork."

The ceiling on Price's potential remains high.

"He's just so doggone explosive and he can run," Walker said. "What we've seen from him this spring is consistent energy. Since we've been here [as coaches], we haven't seen a guy like him. Even watching UCLA over the last five years, I haven't seen a defensive tackle like him."
Can’t wait to see Price and Harwell anchoring that DL next season. I expect our defense to be better next season because they are going to be sharper and more battle tested after taking on an offense coached up by a competent staff every day at Spaulding.