UCLA's "pistol" offense, lifted from Nevada, is based on the fear that the quarterback might keep the ball in the running game, forcing the defense to account for him.
It is what has made Nevada's Colin Kaepernick one of the nation's most dangerous quarterbacks. So far, UCLA quarterback Richard Brehaut has yet to create such fear, with only 27 yards in seven rushing attempts in his three starts.
"I just think he is trying to be so careful to be right that he's hesitant, and hesitant doesn't work in this offense," Coach Rick Neuheisel said.
That's something Brehaut said he realizes.
"This offense revolves around the ability of the quarterback to keep the football and open things up," Brehaut said. "I need to make my reads and maybe keep it here, keep it there."
Brehaut didn't have many opportunities to do that in a 29-21 loss to Arizona on Saturday. He said the Bruins ran fewer zone-read plays. He had four official rushing attempts, but two were sacks and one was a scramble to avoid the pass rush.
"We only had three or four plays that I could actually pull the ball back and keep it," Brehaut said.
In his two previous starts, he was handing off significantly more than keeping it. When Brehaut does carry the ball, it has usually come near the goal line. Four times he has hung onto the ball on plays inside the 10-yard line, two of which resulted in touchdowns.
"I think he just has to be a little bit more decisive and trust his instincts," Neuheisel said. "When you're trying to follow rules, like a guy learning a golf swing, you get a little mechanical. I think he just has to use his eyes and trust himself."
Franklin eyes 1,000
Running back Johnathan Franklin has been inching closer to 1,000 yards.
Franklin has 792 yards rushing, averaging 99 per game, with four games left. However, he has averaged only 52 yards in the last three games. Continuing at that pace, Franklin would finish with 1,001 yards. The last Bruin to go over 1,000 was Chris Markey in 2006.
In Neuheisel's previous 10 seasons as a head coach, he was without a 1,000-yard rusher, although he said, "One year at Washington we led the conference in rushing. We just spread it over three guys."
As for the running game getting bogged down, Neuheisel said, "We've got to dimensionalize it again. We can't get hunkered down inside and make it a mosh pit."
Cornerback Sheldon Price, who missed the last two games with a sprained right knee, said he would be able to play against Oregon State this weekend.
"It's still a little achy, but it's going to be achy," said Price, who will wear a brace on the knee. "I can play on it and it's time to get back out there."