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September 21, 2011It was back to work for Rick Neuheisel and his football team. They are looking at conference play as a new beginning with the record 0-0. Neuheisel met the beat media after practice and the following is what transpired.
Neuheisel: "It was a good practice. It is always cathartic to be back out on the practice field after you have suffered disappointment and obviously we want to do better.
"As I said yesterday, there is absolutely zero quit on this team. We're going to fight. We're going to come back and we are going to play a whale of a ball game on Saturday.
"That's what we aim to do and that is what our plan is to get accomplished. It is just going to take paying attention and close attention to the details to get it done. Looking forward to that effort."
James Rodgers returning, can you kind of talk about him as a player and what he has done against your team?
Neuheisel: "Well, he's a fantastic player. It is a shame that he had to suffer the injury that he did against Arizona last year, but certainly I noticed he was a captain on their team. He's a leader. He's a big play guy and all of us who love college football are glad that he will be back."
Neuheisel: "Sean Sheller had surgery today to repair the break in his arm. It was a little more complicated than we first hoped. We had hoped that he can get back and we will remain optimistic, but it will be close."
Sheller was a six year senior...
Neuheisel: "It's a tragic deal because he worked himself so hard to get himself in this position to be able to play and this will have meant that he missed three of those six years because of injury. So sometimes it is a cruel game, but you know what, Sean Sheller grew up a lot here at UCLA and he will be hugely successful in whatever he chooses to do."
Who steps up?
Neuheisel: "We are going to have competition at that position. We have a three man rotation at guard with Greg Capella, Chris Ward and Albert Cid and we will just wait and see how we do with those three guys."
This is the third straight week now that you are facing a first time starter. Can you talk about what is like to go against a guy like Sean Mannion opposed to Ryan Katz?
Neuheisel: "Everybody knows Mike Riley's reputation for quarterback and quarterback play so you have to expect that he'll play very well. Mike wouldn't be choosing him if he didn't have full confidence in him and so we have to expect that he'll engineer that offense as well as all the others have. It's a good offense. It's one that has been highly productive over the years and we expect nothing less with respect to this weekend."
What would you consider with Brett Hundley before you would use him, other than the obvious. You said the other day about getting him on the field. What are the things you would have to consider?
Neuheisel: "You want to make sure that it is productive time. You want to make sure that every decision I make has to, not only be best for our team, but also best for the individuals and Brett Hundley is a young guy that is chomping at the bit, like all young guys, but sometimes, patience is a virtue. If there are things that he can do to help us and add dimension to our offense, you have to consider that, but you can't consider it until he's ready to play."
Is Hundley ready to play?
Neuheisel: "He's getting closer. We have to used a lot of reps to get that fully done, and we don't have the luxury of those reps when you in the midst of a season where you have one week to prepare for an opponent. We are trying to get him a few extra reps and see where that leads us."
With Richard Brehaut stepping into the No. 1 spot, does that change Hundley's situation?
Neuheisel: "No, his role is still the same in terms of just trying to keep raising his football intelligence and his acumen with our offense. It instills, no matter who is playing quarterback, it is difficult to get the third one ready."
Tony Dye's status right now?
Neuheisel: "He had a couple of stingers and we are trying to nurse that back to health and we will wait and see how the week progresses, but I anticipate him being ready to play."
Neuheisel: "Kip is better, but not ready to kick. I don't know maybe that would probably be a game time decision."
Neuheisel: "He is supposed to be able to start jogging, but I didn't notice him doing that, but he is supposed to be able to be jogging this week and hopefully ready to start participating as early as next week."
What about Anthony Jefferson?
Neuheisel: "Anthony Jefferson, I think is at the eight week mark now after his surgeries so his jogging I believe starts next week as well."