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UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel says his rants might not play well to the masses

Coach's yelling at quarterbacks is an accepted style, but Neuheisel admits in the heat of the moment he isn't thinking about how it looks on television but merely how to help them improve.

November 23, 2010|By Chris Foster

Quarterback Richard Brehaut fired a pass toward no one in particular against Washington last Thursday and trudged off the field toward a coach who had already achieved spontaneous combustion.

Rick Neuheisel met Brehaut before he got to the sideline, looking as if he was berating the sophomore …

"It's not berating, it's quizzing," Neuheisel said Monday.

OK, Neuheisel was intensely quizzing Brehaut about his decision making.

So it went throughout Thursday's 24-7 loss as Brehaut sustained a concussion and his two backups struggled in their first major college football experiences.

After Brehaut got chewed on, it was Darius Bell's turn, and then walk-on Clayton Tunney's turn.

On Monday, Neuheisel, less red-faced and the veins in his neck no longer bulging, explained his actions and Brehaut said he understood the tongue lashings.

Said Neuheisel: "I know I'm animated. I know that the quarterbacks are a focal point of the football team. What I'm not thinking about, and maybe I should more, is that I am on television as I'm doing this. I'm just trying to help them improve as a quarterback."

That help came in the form of the question, "What was that … ?" to Bell after he had a pass intercepted and returned for a touchdown.

Neuheisel's sideline rants pre-date his hiring as coach of the Bruins. And it didn't take long for the habitual screaming to show up. He scorched UCLA quarterback Kevin Craft repeatedly his first season. Kevin Prince got an earful last season, and this season too, before he got injured.

Now Brehaut is getting surround-sound coaching.

"Um, that's something that coach has always been famous for," said Brehaut, who practiced Monday and said he expected to play Friday against Arizona State. "I don't blame him, that's his style of coaching. He's passionate."

As for dealing with those moments, Brehaut said, "I get the message he's trying to give me, and don't worry about the other, uh, yelling and stuff."

Neuheisel explained it is all part of the learning curve.

"When they come off the field I ask them what they saw," Neuheisel said. "I get frustrated if they don't have an answer.

"They listen, sometimes, like our children. They let it go in one ear and out the other. I walk over and get the board and start drawing what it is I'm trying to explain to them."

Neuheisel said these moments "look worse than they probably are."

Brehaut seemed immune, saying, "Kevin [Prince] and I have talked about not letting stuff like that affect us. We get the message, 'All right coach, I understand,' and let the rest go."

Then Brehaut gets on the telephone with offensive coordinator Norm Chow.

"He kind of gives me what I need to know," Brehaut said. "He's more calm. That's just their different styles. Maybe it is good to have that balance, one who is calm and one who is animated."

chris.foster@latimes.com

twitter.com/cfosterlatimes

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