The Bruins practiced on Wednesday in only helmets and shoulder pads - a tactic to give the football players legs a rest, as we approach the end of the season and the bodies are starting to feel the wear of a full season. Coach Rick Neuheisel called the practice "spirited" where a lot was accomplished and they are on course for Saturday.
This week, reducing the number of (stupid) penalties was a focus of the team, in particular the offensive line.
UCLA incurred six false starts last week as they tried to implement a new silent count snap that didn't go very well.
"That can’t happen," said tackle Mike Harris, who had four of the false starts. "It puts us back five yards and I’m going to try to come back this week and give my team my all because they deserve it for me. It was just a bad game."
Apparently Harris fell for one of the oldest tricks in the book:
"The defense keyed on the silent count and they would say something like 'go' and I went off that call," Harris said. "I feel like as a whole line we didn’t play as well as we should have and I’m going to let that pass and we have two games left and I’m going to give it my all."
More about the deep Colorado connection after the jump.
Neuheisel was asked about his time (2ish minute mark) in Colorado as a head coach and he called it a "good time" even staying with the Embrees when he first moved to Colorado. He says the biggest thing he learned from Colorado was to not invite the media to team morale activities (as the media laughed), and it became more of the story than "what they were doing on the field." He also mentioned he met Taylor Embree as a wee lad and now he's coaching him (to fair catch every... single... punt...)
Taylor Embree's senior day is on Saturday, and it is currently unknown if his dad will walk with him on the field, although he understands why his dad might not be there:
"We'll find out, but I know my mom is going to be nagging him to walk me out," Taylor said. "I told him I don't want him to use that as an excuse in the game. ... If he feels like he needs to get his team ready, that's fine. I'm just excited that he's even going to be on the field when I'm playing.
Neuheisel was asked what he would do in this situation (start around the 3:50 mark), and he said he'd be there for his son.
Taylor is a Bruin, through and through. At the age of 8, he could sing the CU fight song, but now he is not a fan:
"I'm going to be mad every time I hear that fight song at the game and I told my dad, too," Taylor said with a chuckle. "That song is going to be like a Trojans fight song to me. It's going to be annoying by the time the game is over."
I like that he got in a little dig at SC. Fair catch away in the Rose Bowl, Taylor.
Our Colorado connection isn't just Taylor and Jon Embree, and Neuheisel's former coaching tenure. Kai Maiava and Josh Smith are Colorado transfers, and still have many friends at Colorado. Although Maiava wouldn't mind pushing a few bodies around.
"I definitely want to get (outside linebacker) David Goldberg, that's my homie, (senior linebacker) Tyler Ahles," Maiava said. "That's it on defense, and I have a couple more boys on offense. Two of them play D-line, so I'm sure I'll run into them sooner or later.
"Hopefully I get the better end."
We hope so too.
Even Joe Fauria has a Colorado connection - his uncle played for Colorado when Jon Embree was the tight end coach in 1992-1994.
On the injury front, Alex Mascarenas practiced without a non-contact jersey for the first time in over a month. Jeff Locke is excited that Mascarenas has returned, with my Football Tweet of the Day (even if it's from 23 hours ago as of this writing...)
Great to have my holder @a_mas15 back out at practice
#specialist > #safety