After a spectacular performance against Cal on Saturday, UCLA Safety Tevin McDonald (and son of 49ers great Tim McDonald) was awarded Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week Honors.
"I was very fortunate," McDonald said after the game. "They kept wanting to put the ball in my area and I was fortunate enough to catch them, so it was a really exciting feeling."
All of McDonald's interceptions led to points. Congratulations Tevin!
Keeping our eye on the defense, Datone Jones was asked about playing inside this week against Cal. His response?
"I love it," Jones said.
If he loves it, the coaching staff should consider keeping Jones there. Saturday's game was the first time this season I remembered actually seeing Jones have an impact on the game, and it created opportunities for other players, such as Aramide Olaniyan. Of course on the flip side, ASU will have time to prepare for this wrinkle, and we might get pushed around next week.
Injury wise, Dietrich Riley is questionable for ASU. He has been released from the hospital, and Neuheisel said he looks "fine" but he still needs to be evaluated by the medical staff before he can be cleared. Kip Smith is still out, and Jeff Locke is listed as probable.
A recap of Rick Neuheisel's press conference after the jump.
Coach Rick Neuheisel met with the press this week (for only ten minutes!) and the team now knows what they are capable of when they focus and put their full attention to the task at hand.
When it comes to rallying the troops this week, Neuheisel said there's good news and better news. The good news - "We responded. The better news is that we now know what we are capable of and to accept anything less than that is ridiculous." Of course, we all know it might be a bit too late for Neuheisel, no matter how the season pans out, but as long as the players keep executing, there's no reason why the team cannot meet the minimum expectations we had for the team before the season started.
When asked about why the team loses after a victory:
We are 0-3 in terms of following up a victory. We now have our fourth chance and we shouldn't squander it.The previous losses were a lack of complete focus. I take complete responsibility - I brought up the race and blah blah blah. At the end of the day, this is about ASU, Rose Bowl. 4:30pm.
He really did say "blah blah blah." Note the quote in bold - Neuheisel acknowledges that the team was not prepared for previous games, and hopefully the focus does not wane this week.
The part of the news conference that made me go "OH NO HE DIDN'T" was when Neuheisel was asked about Kevin Prince running around Cal's defense around the end... all day long... just like Colin Kaepernick last year. Neuheisel praised Prince's ability to make the read that he will have nothing but daylight to run around the end but Prince is also a big boy - he's 230 pounds. Neuheisel threw out the names of "Tim Tebow" and "Cam Newton" in comparison - OH NO HE DIDN'T. Kevin Prince had a great game, but until he can do this without getting hurt, he is not Tim Tebow. Coach Mastro did praise Prince this week, comparing Prince coming around the corner to Kaepernick.
The news conference ended with a comment about how UCLA is facing many of the top quarterbacks in the country this year - Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley, Brock Osweiler, anybody we play each week... but I digress. Neuheisel said there are two ways to look at it: "unfortunate because of how good they are; fortunate you have a front row seat to see some of the nations very finest." It's unfortunate that our defense has not consistently stopped these quarterbacks to keep ourselves in the game.
Let's hope this week we're fortunate to come out prepared against ASU. GO BRUINS.