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Spaulding Roundup: Calm, Cool & Fun Mindset For UCLA

<em>Knox & Bosworth are ready to go. Photo Credit: <a href="" target="new">le_borst (flickr)</a></em>
Knox & Bosworth are ready to go. Photo Credit: le_borst (flickr)

Well looks like I missed out on quiet a bit of drama late last night. All I have to say that I hope our program has never have to experience something like this and if if we are unfortunate enough to experience something like that, CRN or whoever is in charge doesn't waste any time to make the right decision. With that let's go through the news notes  heading into Game Day!

The theme I am sensing this morning is all about fun. Thank God the Bruins are not going to start the season at a hostile atmosphere (just look at what happened to Oregon even though they went in to Boise w/ an experienced backfield) with at least 10 players who are going to make their college debut this season. Kids are excited but CRN is keeping them even keeled:

Coach Rick Neuheisel has a simple message for the first-timers:

"It's got to be fun," Neuheisel said. "It can't be nervous time. You've got to try to create it to be fun."

And if there are mistakes?

"Move on and fix them and go," he said.

Aaron Hester is keeping his cool:

"It's definitely something I've been keeping in the back of my mind," said Hester, who will start at cornerback. "But it's a football game and I have played in plenty of football games before. It's just a different level."

While Franklin is staying calm:

"Be calm, block out the fans and all that's going on and do my job," Franklin said. "I just have to play football and let it be a natural thing."

Staying with the theme of fun and no pressure, the coaches kept the practice a little lighthearted yesterday. More on that after the jump.

Yeah, apparently UCLA has "Slip 'n Slide" at practice yesterday:

The slide was there for quarterbacks to practice sliding, and they did that.

However, during the special teams part of practice, many of the linemen had fun falling and sliding stomach-first on the slide.

It was an interesting way for them to pass the time, considering so many linemen were injured during camp.

LOL. Can't imagine what was going through Palcic's head when he saw his big uglies goofing around like that. Guess, I am assuming those guys knew what they were doing and considering the kind of intense practices they have had (going by reports here) last three weeks, I think it is more than all right if they let their guards down just a little going into first game of the season.

Speaking of fun I think everyone here is salivating to see Chow's matchup against Rock Long. Okay, salivating may not be the right word. Perhaps nervous excitement is the better phrase given the element of surprise in Long's 3-3-5 defense and not knowing how our young guys are going to handle.  Brent Schrotenboer of the San Diego Union Tribune has a good story on the "brain battle" between Chow and Long:

[I]t might be the most intellectual football duel of the day tomorrow in college football.

Chow vs. Long. Mr. Quarterback Guru vs. Mr. Quarterback Wrecker.

Both have been considered among the elite offensive and defensive coaches in college football over the past 10 years.

Chow has helped win three national titles, at Brigham Young and USC. He also developed NFL quarterbacks Philip Rivers, Steve Young, Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart.

Meanwhile, Long's defenses at New Mexico have been ranked in the national top 30 six of the past nine years. They did so while playing with a much smaller stockpile of talent than Chow, even if it included six-time Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Urlacher of the Chicago Bears.

For those reasons and more, it's a match made in headset heaven.

You can read the rest of the story here which goes into all their battle dating back to Chow's BYU days. Although the score is one-sided in favor of Chow, the record is out of context, considering Chow arguably had more talent to work with.  We are hoping history repeats itself tomorrow afternoon. However, given so many players including our starting QB, half the OL, tailbacks are starting their first game at UCLA, right now we are not sure what exactly we are going to see tomorrow night at the Rose Bowl.

So I will just leave you all with what CRN told Prince:

"Relax and enjoy," Neuheisel said. "It's inevitable in my mind that he's going to be a good player. Why wait? Just go enjoy. Let it all happen."

Sounds good to me coach.