UCLA bounced back after their first loss of the season with one of their best practices. The spirit was high and the competition intense. It appears that this team has a mission to accomplish. The focus and intensity were there. These are all good signs. This Bruin football team shows no sign of quitting. Many times after a loss such as Saturday's teams lose heart. This team seemed like they are itching to get back out there and compete. The following is Coach Karl Dorrell taking questions after Tuesday's practice.
Dorrell: "Today was a real good sign of a team that's rebounding and I was real proud of how we practiced. We had some energy. They did some good things about just playing fundamental football and practicing technique and skills and recreating the things that we need to do to improve and have a better performance this weekend."
"We had some good competitive work against each other and the spirit is back and that's what fun to see. These guys, I knew they had the character within them to respond and they really responded with a great attitude and with some good work done today. I'm very pleased with everything that was accomplished today."
Coach the hitting was back was this a way to get the guys to purge what happened last Saturday?
Dorrell: "Exactly, kind of get the frustration out. Get it out there and get ourselves back to playing the kind of football and quality of football that we are capable of doing."
"Both sides of the ball were pretty active today and you saw some good things and I'm very pleased with the effort today."
Maurice Drew really didn't do much today. How is he?
Dorrell: "We wanted to keep him limited. He had his MRI and the results were inconclusive again so there are no issues. But he is sore, so we kept him out of all the contact drills today. I think he just did some straight ahead running on the side and he will do more stuff tomorrow as he gets assimilated back into practice."
Coach, are there things riding on this upcoming game that haven't been there the first date?
Dorrell: "Yeah, we lost a game and we want to get back in the win column. I think that's the biggest thing. That we've had such a great run before this past Saturday, we want to get ourselves back doing the positive things that we have been doing most of the season. We this setback and now we just want to get back to doing the things that winners do and that is something that we want to continue and that's why our focus has been good so far today."
When you hear that every game that this is the biggest game is there any feeling that this one is even more so?
Dorrell: "Just the urgency of winning, I believe. When you lose, you want to get back to winning again. That takes care of losing and gets rid of a losing thought when you're able to comeback and win the following week. That's really the goal to get back doing the things that we doing most of the season. Get the bad taste out of your mouth."
Rodney Van, had a boot on his foot and sat out today.
Dorrell: "He has turf toe. I mean it's not a severe case but we wanted to rest him today. He will be able to do things tomorrow."
No problem by this weekend though?
Dorrell: "Well he's practicing tomorrow. So he better be ready to go. He should be okay. But the boot looks like it's serious."
Same thing with Maurice?
Dorrell: "Maurice could have practiced today we just wanted to give him some more rest. He did all the sprints today. He did some light running today. The doctors told us to hold him back a day and back into practice stuff tomorrow."
What is your take on Rudy Carpenter? What have you seen of him so far?
Dorrell: "He's playing real well and that's unfortunate for us. He's playing really well and you can tell he's gained confidence the more he's played. He's two really good starts. He's 2-0 as a starter. I know he's looking forward to come back here to Southern California for his family and friends to see him play. We don't want him to play that well though."
What kind of relationship did you have with Carpenter?
Dorrell: "Just in the recruiting process, he's a good kid. I met the family. There were just some concerns about his admissions status with us. He had some transcripts issues because he transferred from one school to another so there was some clarity that needed to be done there. Other than that it was just normal, typical recruiting process that in the end he went to the surer get because UCLA could draw a firm commitment for him regarding admissions issues. That's just the nature of what we deal with."
The offense has been sort of down a little the last couple of weeks…
Dorrell: "Let's get it back. I mean that's what we want to do. I mean we were 18 out 20 in seven on today. So we're working on getting those things back, but you are right, we have been out of rhythm, but today was a great, great sign of guys being focused and trying to do all the right things today."
"We had a good week of practice last week and I'm pleased with a great practice today. Let's back it up with one more great one tomorrow."
Are you going to look to do things differently with the offense?
Dorrell: "No, we have to do what's been good to us and there's a lot of good that we've been doing most of the season. We haven't many problems over the course of the season. We just need to be consistent. We need to kind of create our own rhythm and be effective in both running and passing. So we're going to continue to on those types of things that really characterizes our team."
Are there any concerns that opponents can kind of scout out the offense and that's what's been happening the last couple of games?
Dorrell: "That is part of it. I think some of it still is execution on our part. We have some mental errors on our side that can screw up any execution regardless of what a team knows if we are doing something or not."
"It's the same thing that has plagued us particularly the last game, it's just non-execution and not playing at a competitive level that most teams are playing against us. That's what it comes down to in a nutshell."
"We will get ourselves back to doing those things this week."
Sometimes it gets overlooked but Justin Medlock is really doing a good job, isn't he?
Dorrell: "Yeah, he's done well and he's a junior and he has another year under his belt to really get a chance to solidify himself with some other prominent kickers from our program"
"He's a hard working kid and he takes a lot of pride in what he does."
And that's a great asset to have…
Dorrell: "Well you have to have guys that are self-motivated in his (Medlock) position because there's not a coach really out there that's for him. He has a specialist coach that he deals with on the side and a lot of the stuff he does is the work he does on his own. So he has a great personal work ethic within himself."