And all through Spaulding
Not a player was seriously injured
Not a single one (except Wesley Flowers who hurt his knee)
(I know, I'm off on the rhyme pattern.)
The new uniforms stayed hidden in boxes, with care
With hopes that the fan base won't try to rip out more of Dan's hair.
And with players in their kerchiefs, and Rick Neuheisel in his cap
One more practice to go, before the post turkey nap....
On Wednesday the UCLA Bruins football resumed their preparations for their showdown with that other school across town. Coach Rick Neuheisel opened his post practice remarks with Thanksgiving wishes and that it was a good practice, with everyone working to put their best foot forward. UCLA will practice in the morning, and will be able to go home for Thanksgiving in the afternoon.
Neuheisel was asked if he had to win to keep his job, and he said he didn't, he just has to do his best everyday and he enjoys coming to work.
All that other stuff is on someone else's desk.
Unfortunately, it is on the desk of Dan Guerrero, and probably under a pile of donuts. Neuheisel did reiterate that we've "earned the right to play for a championship" and he "works at a school that has 107 national championships and football has been on a hiatus from championships." He wants UCLA football back in that talk. At least he knows what the goal is, although the execution has been extremely suspect.
Jonathan Franklin is looking forward to Saturday's game, and is looking to put his issues with fumbles behind him. Neuheisel trusts him but states that we must win the turnover war on Saturday.
"I don't want it to become something mental for him," Neuheisel said. "But there's no question in games like this, turnovers are huge. In both games (against USC the last two years), we gave up turnovers that resulted in touchdowns for them."
After Franklin's fumble last year, he only had one carry the remainder of the game. Last year's performance will not affect Saturday's play calling, and Franklin will be in the rotation. Don't forget you have this guy named "Derrick Coleman." He's pretty good too.
A bit on the defense, after the jump.
Andrew Abbott attended Mater Dei with Matt Barkley and remembers the recruiters fawning over the quarterback but ignoring him.
"None of them were interested in me," said Abbott, a junior cornerback at UCLA. "It was a little annoying they wouldn't talk to me when I knew I was good enough to play."
"Every now and then, one of those guys would talk to me when I was at Mater Dei, but they were there for other guys," Abbott said. "That's OK. It made me work harder. It made me hungrier. I knew it was about my size. I knew it wasn't about my talent."
Abbott is a walk-on and earned a scholarship last year. At Mater Dei, he played wide receiver and frequently hooked up with Barkley.
"Hopefully he'll flash back and still think I'm his receiver on Saturday," Abbott said. "Hopefully I'll get one."
Abbott had a spectacular interception last week and we would all love to watch him return one back for a touchdown.
On the injury front, the flu bug is spreading through the players, and hopefully will be squashed before Saturday. Andrew Abbott, Brandon Sermons and Todd Golper missed Wednesday's practice. Jonathan Franklin, Randall Carroll and Albert Cid returned after missing Tuesday's practice.
As for others currently not puking or sneezing, Richard Brehaut is "getting close" and is "closer" to being the backup. Sean Westgate should make it but still must go through the concussion protocol.
On the "GOOD VIBES!" note, Pat Cowan was at practice, he of 13-9 fame. Also, the UCLA managers beat the USC managers in flag football in triple overtime. The last time UCLA won that game? 2006. I'll take all the good vibes we can get.