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September 23, 2011During the last meeting of the week between UCLA's beat media and Bruin head coach Rick Neuheisel we learned the latest on injury blotter and if true freshman quarterback, Brett Hundley is ready to play. UCLA's lack of recent road success was also talked about.
Neuheisel: "I am looking forward to a great contest against Oregon State. It promises to be a hard fought game. Obviously both teams have struggled in the early going and both teams need to get their season put back on the right track and to do that you need victory and there is nothing like a victory to open up your conference season. So I promise you it will be a barn burner."
Tony Dye's status for Saturday?
Neuheisel: "He's on probably 50-50 right now. He's trying to calm down from those stingers. I know he wants to play. He's on the trip and we will wait and make a game time decision. I hope like heck he can because he is certainly a good player for us."
That is a downgrade from what you felt earlier in the week on his availability...
Neuheisel: "Yeah, they want to calm him down because there is some lingering, but as I have been told, it can clear up at anytime so we are going to keep our fingers crossed that he will be ready to go."
Is it just a pain issue, comfort issue?
Neuheisel: "It is a nerve issue and those things have to subside."
With your situation at your cornerbacks, have you decided how you are going to handle your guys off the bench?
Neuheisel: "Yeah we have a plan for that, but we are going to keep it for ourselves, however we have a plan for that."
Will you tell us later?
Neuheisel: "Yeah, I will you on Sunday."
What do you think of the conference's decision to stand pat at 12 teams?
Neuheisel: "I'm for whatever the conference thinks is good. Obviously there were a lot of conversation if what is true and what's not true, is anybody's guess, but if the people that are paid and smart about all these things feel like that's the best move then I'm all for it."
Do you have any expectations one way or another?
Neuheisel: "I said a long time ago, I think if you will remember that I didn't think that this is over. All this movement and maneuvering and I still don't. I think there is probably more to be done. We will see how it all unfolds in the end."
Do you feel comfortable putting Brett Hundley out there if need be? Is he ready to go out there in a game?
Neuheisel: "He's readier. We will wait and see. I love working with with Brett and I think he has a tremendous future, but I don't want him to go out there until he is completely ready."
What areas isn't he quite ready?
Neuheisel: "It is just things like anything when you are learning it you don't have it all and to go out there and not have it all is not prudent. You ought to be in a situation where you know what you are doing, but he is getting closer, no question about it."
How is the mindset of the team?
Neuheisel: "The mindset of the team is one of let's put on our work gloves and go to work. Ultimately we are disappointed in the fact that we have two losses thus far, but we still feel like we have a good team. The proof is in the pudding. We have to go play like a good team. There are some factions of our team that have been consistent and some that haven't been. So we have to make sure that all factions come to the table on Saturday and see if we can't put together a winning effort that gets us 1-0 in the conference."
If Dye can't go, who comes in for him?
Neuheisel: "We will make that determination at game time."
Who are the candidates?
Neuheisel: "There's a bunch of candidates. We have Dietrich Riley and Dalton Hilliard, Tevin McDonald, Alex Mascarenas and Stan McKay are the five guys that kind of can all play safety, so we have enough guys to move and shuffle."
The last two games between the two teams have been barn burners. Dropped interception from Alterraun Verner and then the field goal last year. Can you talk about the rivalry?
Neuheisel: "Well you know we have the utmost respect for Oregon State's program. Mike Riley is as good a coach as there is and he's going to have his team ready. There is no question about it. They have had a week off and two weeks to practice for our offense, which is an advantage for teams. I think Stanford has that next week as well. You get to learn all the maneuverings of it and practice it. It is what it is and e look forward to the contest and like I said we went up there and came from behind and almost got the win. Now we have to finish the job."
You haven't been able to win on the road in awhile why do you think that has been?
Neuheisel: "We haven't been good enough. It's not like we go out because it is the road, we just haven't played well enough. It's a simple formula. You want to win on the road, you have to take a good team. You have to take a team with the right level of concentration and the right level of skill proficiency. That's what we have to do. We have to go play like a good team."
Are there things that you have to prepare them for?
Neuheisel: "Crowd noise, which you hear here on a daily basis and that kind of stuff, but ultimately it lies within and we just have to be able to concentrate and make it important enough to block out the distractions and go play a great game and come away with a win. I am looking forward to the challenge."