Normally I start with my stuff that I write for the TNT, but I saw the tweet from Chris Foster earlier and I had to link to his story. It seems that coach Rick Neuheisel, who is staring at almost certain unemployment after this season, wasn’t too pleased with his team’s effort practice on Wednesday.
Apparently at one point, he screamed, “I can’t be the only one who cares.”
Could you imagine a head coach having to scream that?
From Foster’s story …
The scene followed a poor end to practice, with bad center snaps and penalties hindering the offensive preparation. The Bruins had three illegal procedure penalties during one two-minute offense drill. Center Greg Capella, who will start in place of the suspended Kai Maiava, struggled with snaps.
UCLA lost to Houston, 38-34, Saturday and will face San Jose State this week.
“The lack of concentration, jumping off sides, that’s ridiculous,” Neuheisel said. “That’s just lazy. We got to have tougher minded guys.”
Neuheisel said the practice “started great” but dissolved at the end.
“I don’t know if it was the heat or we were tired or we’re not eating during the day, but we were not as sharp as they needed to be,” Neuheisel said.
It speaks a little of what is going on at UCLA. The Bruins are prepping for the second game of the season, and they lost their center because he failed a drug test for marijuana. Oh by the way, it takes three failed drug test to earn a suspension. So Kai Maiava had apparently been caught twice and was well of aware of the consequences, and yet he still did it. That’s some leadership.
“I’m not happy about the situation, but at the same time I’m not going to sit here and cry about it,” Maiava said. “Everybody makes choices. Everybody makes mistakes. I’m a grown man now and I’m going to learn from them.”
Hmm, three bad choices, apparently. Three mistakes, apparently. A Bruins fan probably would be quick to say, “No, a grown man would have learned, oh I don’t know, the first two times.”
Ok , now on to my story, which was a notebook about Chris Polk, who is healthy but has to get his timing and rhythm back.
That was apparent watching Polk this week. There’s no tentativeness in his movements, and he’s participating in all team drills, taking contact from defenders, bouncing off them and running hard.
“He can get back to the Chris we are accustomed to seeing,” running backs coach Joel Thomas said. “I think he’s got his legs back.”
The legs and repetitions have led to rhythm, flow and timing.
“I think he’s much better,’’ Sarkisian said. “Getting him back going and practicing every day, I’m definitely seeing a difference, more explosive cuts and decisive cuts that are showing up in practice.’’
ESPN’s Pat Forde has two quality columns to read.
Bottom line: This is what Oregon (22) and Nike have unleashed — creating buzz and a brand not through a rock-steady iconic look, but through a rotating array of visual assaults. Start with garish, then amp it up from there. Nike’s Pro Combat series added to the mishmash last weekend, with Boise State and Georgia (23) wearing jarring new looks.
Boise is one thing — it doesn’t have much uniform tradition to worry about. But Georgia, with deep tradition, wore uniforms that were universally panned — at least by adults.
The bigger question is how they played with recruits. If they like the uniforms, it might not matter who else is repulsed by them.
Pac 12 North
Cal: Bears’ kicker Giorgio Tavecchio had a pair of extra points blocked in the first game. Tavecchio hasn’t always been so great in games. Case in point …. this game …. sorry Curto.
Oregon: Here’s some Chip Kelly video … Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti believes Nevada’s pistol offense presents difficulties for the Ducks. Running back Kenjon Barner wouldn’t accept excuses for the loss to LSU.
Oregon State: Columnist Steve Gress has his concerns of about the way head coach Mike Riley is handling the quarterback situation. Meanwhile columnist John Canzano thinks that Ryan Katz is being set up as the scapegoat in the situation. Collin Kelly of Kelso has waited his turn to play on the offensive line.
Stanford: The Cardinal has some tall tight ends.
Washington State: Vince Grippi of the Spokesman chronicles Marshall Lobbestael’s career at WSU leading him back to being a starter.
Pac 12 South
Arizona: It now looks like Juron Criner won’t play and nobody is quite certain what the illness is that won’t allow him to.
ASU: The Devils are doing a “black out” in honor of their new black uniforms. Hmm, wearing all black to a game in Tempe. Yeah, that sounds like fun.
USC: After catching 17 passes, Robert Woods felt pretty sore. He is also expecting to get extra attention from Utah.
Utah: The Utes young secondary needs to grow up in a hurry against USC. Columnist Kurt Kragthorpe writes about what Utah should expect in their trip to the Coliseum.