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Spaulding Roundup - Wild Snaps and Making Players Care

It was a hot day in Westwood on Wednesday, with temperatures reaching over 90 degrees, but the person who became really hot under the collar was Coach Neuheisel at the end of practice.

When the team gathered in the post-practice huddle, Neuheisel delivered his message loud and clear, punctuating it by screaming at the top of his lungs: "I can't be the only one who cares."

Emphasis mine.

What caused Coach Neuheisel to go off on his players?  A lack of concentration.  Was it due to the heat?  The delicious training table that awaited the players?  Neuheisel wasn't sure, but he was not happy that practice ended on a bad note, with false start penalties galore and the players not being mentally sharp.  If you'd like to watch Neuheisel's remarks post-practice, head on over here.

The players on twitter noted that practice went really well, calling it a "beast" of a practice, so hopefully the players will be sharper tomorrow.

QB Richard Brehaut noted that he never heard Coach Neuheisel go off like he did today and thinks the losing might be starting to take a toll on everyone.

"He wants us to care as much as he does and I think a lot of guys on this team do and I think it’s got to be a group thing that everyone decides enough of this ‘UCLA came up just short, UCLA beat themselves,' " Brehaut said. "That’s old news. I’m tired of that. Everyone is tired of that but the only change that can be made is everyone takes it upon themselves to do something about it."

Is that the talk of a starting QB?  More details on the QB battle and the offensive line after the jump.

Richard Brehaut took the majority of the snaps with the ones on Wednesday, but Neuheisel did not name him the starter.

Kevin Prince did take a few snaps, but did not make any deep throws. 

"It was better," Prince said. "I was able to throw some. I wasn't able to throw everything I wanted."

Prince said there was pain on "some of the deeper throws when I tried to put a little more grip on it." Prince said he expected it to be better Thursday.

Neuheisel did say that Prince will be "available" for the game on Saturday, which may indicate he is leaning towards Brehaut as the starter.

Greg Capella took a few steps backward on Wednesday in regards to snapping the football, but still has the confidence of Neuheisel.  A few of his snaps were too high or too low, but he stayed after practice to continue working on his snaps. 

Capella said his issues arise when he rushes his snaps because he's trying to get to his block quicker. He said he just needs to slow down a bit.

"I don't follow through," he said. "But I’m going to work hard before and after practice with the snaps so I’ll be fine."

Hopefully Capella figures it out.  Kai Maiava didn't start out smoothly on Saturday, with one high snap and two penalties on snaps, so there isn't a high standard that Capella has to live up to - he just needs to get the ball into the hands of the quarterback.

Also of note for the O-Line: Albert Cid will start, taking Capella's spot.  Jeff Baca practiced at weak tackle, but Neuheisel won't push him, since he isn't in football shape.  Sean Sheller moved to guard.

As for Kip Smith, he made all nine kicks in practice on Wednesday, with only one wobbly kick.

"I changed my technique a little and we've changed the hold" of the ball, Smith said. "I'm making my leg swing more like a golf swing, more fluid. Watching on film, my kicks were pushing to the right because I wasn't following through right."

Hopefully Smith won't be put in a high pressure situation on Saturday where the game rides on his kick.  He could use a low stress game to get him acclimated to the college kicking game.