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Neuheisel gives effort an 'A'

October 13, 2008|Chris Foster | Times Staff Writer

At the halfway point of the season, UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel and his staff will take a deep breath and evaluate the situation.

The Bruins received an "A" for effort in Neuheisel's appraisal. But as far as grading out with a "B" for bowl game, there was still serious homework to be done after a 31-24 loss to Oregon on the road.

"Looking at the tapes, we played very, very hard," said Neuheisel, whose team is 2-4 overall and 1-2 in the Pacific 10 Conference. "But we did not play well enough to win a game in that kind of setting.

"We're halfway through the year and we need to know what players can do. We have to make sure we're asking them to do things that they are capable of doing."

One thing the Bruins should be capable of doing is tackling ballcarriers. Oregon had several long runs, including a 69-yard touchdown run by LeGarrette Blount in the fourth quarter.

Removing the victory over woeful Washington State, UCLA is giving up 200 yards rushing per game.

"We keep a 'yards after contact' stat and Oregon had a lot of yards in the first quarter," Neuheisel said. "We were much more consistent after that and held them to 14 yards in the fourth quarter, until that last run.

"We do tackling drills at the start of practice and a couple live tackling drills through the week. We'll continue to do that until we get to where we need to be."

On offense, Kevin Craft threw for 288 yards. But his inconsistency nearly led to a bushel of turnovers.

Craft had one pass intercepted and a handful of other throws that were nearly picked off. Oregon also lost an interception because of a pass interference call that appeared questionable on television replays.

"Kevin was staring things down again," Neuheisel said. "We got to get him to stop doing that."

Still, Neuheisel said, "before you can be critical of people making mistakes, you have to be critical of yourself. Are you asking too much because of our inexperience?"

Injury report

Wide receiver Terrence Austin, who suffered a strained neck and concussion Saturday, will go through the "concussion protocol" before being allowed to practice. . . . Defensive end Tom Blake will have his abdominal strain reexamined by a doctor today. He did not play against Oregon. . . . Tailback Kahlil Bell injured his left ankle, which he also injured in the season opener. Neuheisel said it was a "different" injury and that Bell should play against Stanford on Saturday.


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