Coach Rick Neuheisel tore into his team in a verbal tirade Wednesday following a practice that featured several false start and offside penalties as well as other mental mistakes.
When the team gathered in the post-practice huddle, Neuheisel delivered his message loud and clear, punctuating it by screaming at the top of his lungs: "I can't be the only one who cares."
"Lack of concentration," Neuheisel said when asked what set him off. "Jumping offsides. That’s ridiculous. That’s just lazy and we’ve got to have tougher-minded guys. They’ll respond, but that wasn’t good enough and I can’t tell them that it is."
UCLA had four false start penalties in its season-opening 38-34 loss at Houston, so to make those mistakes again on the practice field clearly became too much for Neuheisel to handle.
"Practice started great and then we lost our concentration," Neuheisel said. "I don’t know if it’s because of the heat, we’re tired, we’re not eating during the day, but we were not as sharp as we needed to be and they need to know that we need better than that, we’ve got to be better than that if we’re going to be a good football team. It was a disappointing practice for a game week and I hope we come back tomorrow and have much better effort."
Quarterback Richard Brehaut is no stranger to getting yelled at by Neuheisel, but he said he couldn't remember the coach ever going off in a post-practice huddle the way he did Wednesday. He said UCLA's losing ways -- the Bruins have lost four in a row dating to last year and seven of their last eight -- might be taking a toll, especially with Neuheisel's job probably on the line if the Bruins don't win this year.
"He wants us to care as much as he does and I think a lot of guys on this team do and I think it’s got to be a group thing that everyone decides enough of this ‘UCLA came up just short, UCLA beat themselves,' " Brehaut said. "That’s old news. I’m tired of that. Everyone is tired of that but the only change that can be made is everyone takes it upon themselves to do something about it."