UCLA football finds itself behind the technology curve, at least in Los Angeles.
Whether the know-it-now world really needs up-to-the-nanosecond updates, or frivolous “tweets” on what a coach is doing is open for debate. But what is clear is that UCLA is playing catch-up to USC on two fields -- the playing one and the Twitter/video blog one.
Bruins Coach Rick Neuheisel seemed reluctant about Twitter at the Pacific 10 Conference media day, saying he was still studying the phenomenon.
And now? “I’m waiting for my . . . uh, what’s the term I’m looking for? . . . my debut,” Neuheisel said Thursday.
That is still in the works. Meanwhile, across town, USC Coach Pete Carroll’s “tweets” are being followed by more than 38,000 (as of late Thursday). Carroll has also started using video blogs to get his message out.
Neuheisel has been hesitant about using new technology because of brushes he had with the NCAA before coming to UCLA. Last spring, Alabama Coach Nick Saban began using video conference calls as a way to have face-time with recruits during periods when he could not leave campus. Neuheisel took a wait-and-see approach.
He has reason for concern. Tennessee had to self-report a secondary NCAA violation when Coach Lane Kiffin -- a former Carroll assistant -- announced a recruit’s oral commitment via Twitter. Coaches are not allowed to talk specifically about a recruit until he has signed a letter of intent. The post was taken down, and Tennessee officials blamed it on a new assistant who mistyped the message.
Still, Neuheisel has begun testing the waters. He now has a Webcam for conference calls on his computer.
As for toddling down the Twitter/video blog road, Neuheisel said, “We’re learning the technology. I have a guy who is as contemporary as anybody.” But, he added, “I don’t want to do it just to say, ‘I’m doing it because Pete Carroll did it.’ I want to do it because it is the right thing to do.”
As for how much this will change the recruiting landscape, Neuheisel, who took a helicopter ride to see a recruit play last year, thinks the personal touch remains the best.
The Bruins canceled their scrimmage at the Rose Bowl today because of heat and fires. Instead, they will scrimmage on campus. It remains closed to the public.
They prepared with a light, low-contact practice Thursday, a good portion of which was spent on getting the offense, defense and special teams on and off the field quickly.
The Bruins did do some preparation for their Sept. 5 opener against San Diego State, though Neuheisel said, “You don’t want to put things in too early; it gets stale.”
Mike Harris has taken over at right tackle, with Jeff Baca now a backup at tackle and left guard, where Stanley Hasiak is the starter.
Hasiak’s practice time has been limited the last two days because of a sore shoulder, but he is expected to be ready to play against San Diego State.
Defensive tackle Jess Ward began running Thursday, his first step in returning from a sprained right knee. Ward said he expected, “to do a lot more in the next few days.” . . . Starting fullback Chane Moline (hip flexor) returned to practice. . . . Wide receiver Gavin Ketchum (hamstring) remains sidelined.