UCLA quarterback Kevin Craft is not all polished, and his coach has taken occasional public notice of the less shiny parts of his game.
Rick Neuheisel has suggested that Craft needs to slow down and let the game develop more, and after last week's 31-24 loss at Oregon, he said that Craft has the tendency to stare at his intended receivers too long, a major fault that leads to interceptions.
Craft, who has five touchdown passes and six interceptions, has handled the critiques in a monotone manner. If he's annoyed, Craft has chosen to keep that to himself.
"You've got to improve every week," said Craft, who ranks 10th in passing efficiency among Pacific 10 Conference quarterbacks. "When they see something wrong on tape, they have to make it better for the next time. It pushes you more. It's a good thing."
After Thursday's practice, Neuheisel said that he doesn't mean to be only critical of his starting quarterback. Some of the mistakes Craft makes aren't the fault of the quarterback.
"We're getting a lot out of him," Neuheisel said. "I think he's had his moments where he's been really good and he's had his moments where he's really struggled.
"I think when we're able to manage the game in a way that doesn't mean throwing on every down, I think he does fine. And I think that's a real must as we go forward as we try to manage the game and not just make it a throw-fest."
Craft's job seems secure at the moment, though redshirt freshman Chris Forcier has improved as the No. 2 quarterback. Ben Olson, the team's No. 1 quarterback in August before breaking a bone in his foot, threw some passes this week, but he is at least three weeks away from being ready.
"You start worrying about that and it will become an issue," Craft said when asked if he thought he had to constantly prove his abilities. "I feel there has been improvement every week. I feel more comfortable in the offense. I just come out here every day and work hard."
Defensive end Reggie Stokes sat out Thursday's practice, but Neuheisel said Stokes would be ready for Saturday's game against Stanford at the Rose Bowl.
Also, Neuheisel said that Micah Reed wouldn't start but would be available at left guard and that receiver Marcus Everett, who has been out since injuring his toe in the opener against Tennessee, would be available. Defensive ends Tom Blake (strained abdominal muscle) and Chase Moline (back) will sit out the Stanford game.
Receiver Terrence Austin, who left the Oregon game on a stretcher after taking a hard hit to the head, practiced again Thursday and will also be available Saturday, but Neuheisel said no decision has been made about whether Austin would return punts.
UCLA filed its Equity in Athletics report for 2008 this week. The athletic department broke even, with $66,088,264 in revenue and expenses. Football and men's basketball were the only two sports to make a profit. Football had $28,174,046 in revenue and $16,803,190 in expenses. Men's basketball had $10,883,210 in revenue and $6,625,357 in expenses. There are 379 men's athletes and 390 women's athletes at the university.