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UCLA FYI

Seeing would be believing for Craft

October 14, 2008|Chris Foster | Times Staff Writer

The continuing education of Kevin Craft as UCLA's quarterback touches on a familiar topic this week: his eyes.

Craft passed for 288 yards Saturday in a 31-24 loss to Oregon, but the Ducks intercepted one pass and nearly intercepted several others.

"Kevin has got to learn people are going to pay close attention to where he is looking, so he has to look them off," UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel said.

While Craft has had only two passes intercepted since the opener, when Tennessee picked off four, he ranks 10th in passing efficiency among Pacific 10 Conference quarterbacks.

"It really comes down to the organization of your feet," Neuheisel said. "If your feet are organized in terms of going from choice one to choice two to choice three, then your eyes will follow."

Neuheisel also said Craft was relying too much on what has worked and not expanding the possibilities of the offense.

"If the play is designed to go to [tight end] Ryan Moya, Kevin gives Ryan chance two and chance three rather than going through the progression," Neuheisel said. "We've just got to get him to trust all the way through the options."

Tackling problems

A year ago, UCLA held six teams under 70 yards rushing. This season, four of six opponents have gained 177 or more yards on the ground.

Poor tackling has been the root of the problem, as Oregon backs proved Saturday by slipping arm tackle after arm tackle. The Ducks had 323 yards rushing, the most yards the Bruins have allowed in the 2 1/2 seasons DeWayne Walker has been defensive coordinator.

"The scheme is working," linebacker Reggie Carter said. "We're getting to ballcarriers. We're going to have to figure out who the guys are that can make plays. You don't have to make the big hit, just wrap guys up and get them to the ground."

Stanford, UCLA's opponent Saturday at the Rose Bowl, gained 286 yards rushing in a 24-23 victory over Arizona in its last game.

Odds and ends

Defensive end Tom Blake was scheduled to undergo an MRI exam Monday to determine treatment on a sports hernia that kept him out against Oregon. . . . Wide receiver Marcus Everett (dislocated toe) and offensive lineman Micah Reed (strained knee) could return against Stanford. Reed, the starting center when the season began, probably would rotate at guard. Receiver Terrence Austin (concussion) is listed as questionable. . . . Stanford quarterback Tavita Pritchard suffered a concussion against Arizona and is also questionable.

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chris.foster@latimes.com

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