Neuheisel admonishes offense for ‘lax’ efforts

When the head coach opens up a postmortem by praising the defense for a “great day,” and says how “proud” he is of the unit, it’s a sign those on the offense should brace themselves for what follows.

“Our offensive football team has got to take the onus to try to match that intensity,” UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel said. “We got to play harder as an offense. It has to happen for us to be the kind of football team we want to be.”

There was frustration in Neuheisel’s voice after Monday’s practice.

“I think we need guys to step up,” he said. “They have some of the best coaches in the land. There were far too many dropped balls out there, missed assignments, fumbled snaps. It’s too lax.”

But the sky was not so much falling as overcast in offensive coordinator Norm Chow’s eyes. Asked if he felt the offense had progressed as far as he expected at this point, he said, “Yeah we have. We’ve done a great job.”


As for the day’s practice, he said, “Of the 11 guys we project to start, three practiced today. . . . Guys were jumping the snap counts; it’s nothing to be concerned about. Let’s just play.”

As evidence, Chow said that the goal was to average four yards per carry rushing in Friday’s scrimmage -- a significant achievement for a team that finished 116th in rushing offense in 2008.

“We averaged 4.5,” Chow said.

Center of attention

Part of the reason for the fumbled snaps was the absence of center Kai Maiava, who suffered a high ankle sprain in the scrimmage. Maiava, a transfer from Colorado, will not practice again this spring.

Maiava started nine games for Colorado in 2007 and is the rock the Bruins hope to build a line around.

“We got a lot out of him this spring,” Neuheisel said. “He’s going to be a good player for us in the fall.”

Quick hits

Linebacker Reggie Carter missed practice with an eye infection. . . . Receiver Morrell Presley missed practice with an infected cut. Quarterback Osaar Rasshan has moved to wide receiver.