Now that UCLA knows what it is like to play at a high level, there can be no going back to the largely mediocre play that has plagued the Bruins for much of this season, coach Rick Neuheisel said Monday.
The Bruins are coming off of 31-14 victory over California that was easily their best played game of the season. Even in past victories over San Jose State, Oregon State and Washington State, the Bruins never really impressed all that much, but that was a different story against California and now the trick is to carry that forward.
"We now know what we’re capable of," Neuheisel said. "To accept anything less than that would be absolutely ridiculous on every one of our parts so coach and player alike, we have to bring it like we did last week."
It won't be easy as UCLA (4-4, 3-2 in Pac-12) faces Pac-12 South leader Arizona State on Saturday at the Rose Bowl. A win by the Bruins would forge a first-place tie with the Sun Devils (6-2, 4-1), but don't expect to hear any talk about that this week. Neuheisel reiterated his stance that the Bruins would focus only on the process of the game and let the results take care of themselves.
Everything else becomes a distraction as UCLA found out when Neuheisel and the players openly talked about claiming a share for first place before going to Arizona on Oct. 20 and getting spanked, 48-12, in a dismal performance.
"I just want to attribute it to a lack of complete focus," Neuheisel said. "Because you start thinking about other things and I take responsibility. I was the one who brought up the race and blah, blah, blah. At the end of the day, this is about Arizona State and UCLA squaring off at the Rose Bowl at 4:30. We shouldn’t miss that chance."