LOS ANGELES (AP) -At the midpoint of his first season as UCLA coach, Rick Neuheisel is pleased with the Bruins' progress if not with their record.
UCLA has taken halting steps in the right direction, but now needs some wins to validate their improvement.
The Bruins fell to 2-4 after playing favored Oregon close in a 31-24 loss in Eugene last weekend, and face Stanford (4-3) at the Rose Bowl on Saturday.
``I'm very satisfied and excited with the effort we're getting, both in games and on the practice field,'' Neuheisel said Monday. ``If we can continue that into the second half of the season, I think we can make some noise and hopefully earn a few more wins than we did in the first half.''
He indicated that he and his staff may try to simplify the team's schemes.
xperience in terms of moving on to the next level and still being able to play at the level of efficiency you need to play in the Pac-10,'' Neuheisel said.
Linebacker Reggie Carter, a redshirt junior, said the young players and the team as a whole are maturing.
``We take steps every week. We just haven't been able to get as many victories as we would like,'' he said. ``But I think as a young team, we're growing pretty well - offensively and defensively we're getting better every week.
``We just have to fine tune every week and start getting some victories out of this.''
The Bruins, hard-hit by injuries, have been without their first two quarterbacks, their best tight end, one of their leading wide receivers, and several offensive linemen. Their top runner, Kahlil Bell, has been slowed by a sprained ankle.
So the offense has been inconsistent, with the adjustment to a new coaching staff and new offense taking more time than if it hadn't been necessary to use a patchwork lineup.
``As yet, we're not a fully developed offense, and I know that's frustrating for people, when they say, 'You're halfway through a season, how can you not be fully developed?''' the coach said. ``I think this is true for most programs that are starting new.
players alike, and to learn systems, to learn the nuances of systems, and then you start to factor in game planning. ... When you're having to game plan for particular defenses and different things, that retards the development of all the stuff you're trying to get done.''
He still hopes the Bruins can get rolling soon.
``I'm not saying that we can't get better fast. We believe that we can and we're going to work in earnest to get that done,'' Neuheisel said. ``We're working to put the pieces in place, not only from a scheme standpoint but also from a personnel standpoint so that we can be effective. And at times we look effective.
``When you have players that are playing as hard as our kids are and giving us what they're giving on the practice field, then there's always hope. We're getting closer, so we're going to keep slugging away until we feel good about it.''

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