Bruins struggling in Neuheisel's first year Print
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Monday, 22 September 2008 15:21
NCAAF Headline News

 LOS ANGELES (AP) -Rick Neuheisel got off to a good start as a college football head coach, with his first two teams at Colorado going 10-2. When he moved to Washington, the Huskies were 7-5 the first year and 11-1 the second.
If the Bruins continue to slog around the way they have the past two weeks, it may take him considerably longer to turn things around in Westwood.
UCLA (1-2), which plays No. 25 Fresno State (1-2) at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, has a lot of problems.
Neuheisel ticked off a long list of needed improvements, mentioning the defense and special teams but zeroing in on the offense.
``It's evident as you watch the last two games that our offense has got to improve. We've got to find ways to move the ball more consistently,'' he said Monday. ``I think we've had 22 drives now in the last two games that have resulted in three points (total). That is, by anybody's definition, woeful.
ense out of the game, and obviously give ourselves better chances to win games. That's going to be the focal point of the week.''
The Bruins haven't scored a touchdown in their last two games, a 31-10 loss to Arizona on Saturday on the heels of a 59-0 drubbing by BYU the previous weekend that was UCLA's worst defeat in 79 years.
Quarterback Kevin Craft, a junior college transfer who became this season's starter after Patrick Cowan and Ben Olson were sidelined by injuries, led a second-half charge that carried the Bruins to a 27-24 overtime win over then-No. 18 Tennessee in the season opener. Since then, however, he has not been able to generate much of anything.
Craft threw for only 81 yards and was sacked three times, with the Bruins' defense providing their only touchdown in the loss to Arizona.
Neuheisel, himself a former UCLA quarterback, said he and offensive coordinator Norm Chow plan to stick with Craft as the starter, at least for now. They don't seem to have much choice, since the first two backups are freshmen.
Neuheisel believes Craft, a football coach's son, has a good grasp of the position, but sometimes makes hasty decisions that lead to mistakes.
that and slow it down to game speed rather than at the warp speed he sometimes goes at, makes these quick and sometimes ill-advised decisions.
``If he can slow it down and make the plays that are there and throw the ball accurately, which we've all seen him do in practice, then we have hope that this will improve. If it doesn't, we'll make decisions as to where you go next.''
Despite the Bruins' struggles, Neuheisel isn't budging from what has become his mantra at UCLA, although he did tweak ``relentless optimism'' to ``relentlessly positive.''
``I know this, when you're optimistic you have a chance for things to improve, because you're at least giving yourself hope that they will improve,'' he said. ``It's what I've preached since I arrived. Just because we've had some bumps in the road and some disappointment doesn't mean we have to deviate from that course.
``As a matter of fact, this is a time you get to test it - relentlessly positive. We're going to continue along that path and hopefully we'll see improvement as early as this week.''
 

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