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September 7, 2011First day after the frustrating loss to Houston and the team looked like they were going to shake it off and press on. What else would expect a competitor to do? UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel as always met with the media after the session to talk about practice and what is going on with the program.
Neuheisel: "One piece of unfortunate news and piece of good news. The unfortunate news is I had to suspend Kai Maiava as center for this weeks game for a violation of team rules. No other comment to made on that point. The good news is that Brandon Willis who had left us to go home for his family and personal reasons has returned to our program. He enrolled in school this morning and we are excited to have Brandon back at UCLA.
"Those two pieces of information from a standpoint of practice, I thought we came out and worked really hard today. Because there is some familiarity with San Jose State's offense and ours, we tried to go against our defense and we hit a couple of rough patches there because we were trying to be scouts, as well as run our own offense and we lost a little focus at that point, but other than that I thought it was a terrific practice with great energy and great tempo and I am looking forward to playing on Saturday."
How do you think the defense responded?
Neuheisel: "I spend most of my time coaching on the offensive side because of my quarterback responsibilities, but I am sure they responded well. They are great kids. They are competitive kids and I know they want to be better than they did on last weekend's contest."
Will Greg Capella be the starting center?
Neuheisel: "Greg Capella right now would be the starting center. That's correct."
Who will be the guards?
Neuheisel: "We will wait and see. Chris Ward will be at one of them and then we have to determine where Jeff Baca is, with his condition and where Albert Cid is, but we have a couple of options and as well as, Wade Yandall."
How did Baca look today?
Neuheisel: "He looked good. He wanted more. We were kind of being precautions, but I thought he looked for the brief time he was in."
Any update on Glenn Love?
Neuheisel: "Glenn Love is going to see some doctors this evening, but he feels much better. He is chomping at the bit to get back in there. We will wait and see what the doctors say and Kevin Prince was unable to practice today because of the concussion protocol and he will be back tomorrow."
How did Kip Smith do today?
Neuheisel: "Kip is a good kicker that just needs finding his stroke. I'm going to continue to weigh the competition there. Joe Roberts was unable to kick today because of a quad muscle injury and we will just wait and see if he could go tomorrow and so forth, but Kip needs to know that we trust him when he's in there and he needs to know that he just has to know that he just has to go and do what he does, which is swing through the ball and he is talented enough to be very, very effective."
With Baca's return, can you tell us the steps that you need to see?
Neuheisel: "Well it is really a conditioning thing. He has not played football now for a long time. He had a brief fling in spring ball, but that didn't last very long and he didn't play at all last fall, but he is chomping at the bit to get back in there and we will hopefully nurse him back to health."
Is there any timeframe for the waiver that would determine if Brandon Willis would be allowed to play?
Neuheisel: "I have no idea how quickly things like that work. I know we are going to try. I think it would be a great thing for Brandon and I think for him having sat for as long as he has sat, really not doing anything wrong, on his part, I think it would be a neat thing if the NCAA would allow it to happen, but that's is somebody else's hands."
How much would like for Willis to be able to play this season?
Neuheisel: "Because he doesn't get the year back. I think it is the right thing to do, but we will wait and see what the smarter guys than I think."
With Kevin (Prince) not able to go today, how likely will you have a choice on who to start on Saturday?
Neuheisel: "Well we will wait and see until tomorrow. I think it is too early to make that kind of determination."
Brett Hundley had most of the reps with the twos today, how did he look?
Neuheisel: "He looked good. As he gets more and more, he will look better and better. It was just unfortunate that he missed so much of fall camp, but he is a terrific athlete and we are going to keep nursing him into condition and shape and see where he fits with the plans of this season."
In the game, if the ebb and flow had gone a little differently could you have foreseen him in a package in the first game?
Neuheisel: "That is behind me. I don't have to play that card."
In reviewing the film do you feel like Kevin could have gone out of bounds or do you like the way he ran on the play where he was hit?
Neuheisel: "I think there are things that he could do to take less abuse. There are ways to get down. I watched quarterbacks last night play in the Miami-Maryland game and get down. Kevin is a competitive kid. He certainly doesn't want to be hurt, so we will hopefully get him back quickly."
Would you like to do some UCLA uniforms like those Maryland uniforms?
Neuheisel: "You can't say they weren't stretching the boundaries."