The Bruins returned to practice following their Friday scrimmage and it went much as it has all spring – the defense dominating the offense. If there was a change, it was that Coach Rick Neuheisel called out and challenged his offense to show some signs of life.
A unit that has struggled with dropped passes, missed assignments, a lack of focus and flat-out lazy play has to do better, Neuheisel said after the practice.
"It was a great day for our defense. I’m really proud of our defensive football team. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have lots more to do and we’ve got a lot more to get done to be complete, especially as we develop depth. But they’re really playing hard, playing well and are a great example for our offensive football team," he said.
"Our offensive football team has got to take the onus now to try to match their intensity. They can say all that they want to say, but we have to play harder as an offense and it has to happen for us to be the kind of football team that we want to be.
"So, hopefully we can get that done in the last three days of practice."
Whether or not that can happen this week remains to be seen, but some players have shown little competitiveness throughout the spring and have a lot to prove. Neuheisel made it clear that they will get a push, too.
The Bruins also got an update on No. 1 center Kai Maiava, who is out for the rest of the spring with a high ankle sprain suffered in the scrimmage. Linebacker Reggie Carter did not practice because of an eye infection, tight end Morrell Presley was out with an infection and linebacker Sean Westgate and tight end Nate Chandler also were held out of practice.
Richard Brehaut, the freshman quarterback, took a number of reps with the first team offense Monday.
Here are some questions to Neuheisel...
Have you thought that about the offense at various times this spring?
"I just think we need guys to step up. I mean, they’ve got some of the best coaches in the land. It’s time now to grow up. There are far too many just plain dropped balls out there, missed assignments, fumbled snaps. It’s too lax. And the only way coaches know how to do it is to take it as their responsibility, which means we ’re going to coach their tails these last three days. We have to."
Is it a pattern that reminds you of last season?
"We finished 115th out of 119 schools. It’s not good enough. We’ve got to make some radical changes. People have to understand, there’s nothing given here. We’ve got to get better."
How about that offensive line? There was a lot of pressure in the scrimmage...
"Yeah. They’re getting beat. We’ve got to do better and we’re going to work until we get it done. And I believe that they will fight, that they’ll keep working at it and it's important that we do."
How is Morrell Presley coming along?
"Morrell is fine. He was out today. He’s got a little bit of an infection so we’re going to rest him for the next couple of days and hopefully get him for the last two practices."
Where is the infection?
"I don’t know. It’s a cut that got infected."
What about Kai Maiava?
"High ankle. So he’s probably out for the spring. But we got a lot out of him. I’m pleased with him. He’ll be a good player for us in the fall."
"Reggie Carter has an eye infection. Something flared up. He went to see an optometrist this afternoon. I don’t have any report back from him yet."
How feasible is it for Osaar Rasshan to make the position switch this late in his career?
"You know,, I don’t rule anything out, but you can see where it’s problematic."
Does Chris Forcier fall into that, too?
"Certainly you take your hat off for being willing to do things in an effort to help the team, but you can’t, just to reward the great effort, slow down the team to create playing time if it’s not merited. You just have to be honest and see how it goes."
How big a problem is Maiava?
"Well, it’s only a problem for spring football. He’ll be back in the fall and at full speed, and we’re looking forward to that. But we do miss him when we’re playing against our own defense."
Have you been able to identify what was going on with Prince in the scrimmage?
"You know, he was great until he just choose poorly on two throws in a row. But that’s the beauty of spring football, those don’t cost you games. Hopefully, they do just the opposite – they keep you from doing that in a game. He'd done a nice job in bringing the team down the field in a two-minute context. On fourth-and-10 he scrambled for 15 and if you’re the offense you’re going to win the game, but he makes an ill-advised throw. Those are the kinds of things, hopefully he won’t do it next time."