Notebook: Neuheisel stays confident in ability to coach Bruins

2011-10-21T00:01:00Z Notebook: Neuheisel stays confident in ability to coach BruinsDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
October 21, 2011 12:01 am  • 

Minutes after UCLA's 48-12 loss to Arizona, Bruins coach Rick Neuheisel stood no more than 3 yards away from his boss, UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero.

With his arms crossed in front of his chest and his head held high, Neuheisel sounded confident he's still the right man to lead the Bruins.

"My argument is I am absolutely the right guy for the job," Neuheisel said with Guerrero listening in. "It's not my decision. If someone is asking me (if I should keep my job), absolutely. But, the facts are that evaluation is done by my boss, and I'll wait and have that time with him at the appropriate time."

Only time will tell what Guerrero's decision will be, but Thursday night's performance doesn't seem like it will help the coach's cause to stay at UCLA.

Neuheisel, in his fourth year at UCLA, admitted he was disappointed with the way his team came out and started the game against a team that hadn't beaten a Division I opponent in nearly a year.

He felt confident riding to Arizona Stadium from the team hotel that his squad was in fact ready to build on a 28-25 win over Washington State last time out and improve to 3-1 in Pac-12 Conference play.

Instead, he saw a flat team that allowed 207 yards of total offense in the first quarter.

"I had zero worries about our abilities to come out and play and play fast," Neuheisel said. "Sometimes you catch a team that's hotter than hot and that's what they were in the first half."

Neuheisel said he wasn't surprised Arizona came out aggressive on both sides of the ball and was executing in Tim Kish's first game as interim coach.

Still, he expected his team to come out with more emotion and challenge the Wildcats more.

"It's definitely a step in the wrong direction," Neuheisel said, "but I still hold out my feeling that we can and will turn the corner."

Career rushing night

The Wildcats set a season-high with 254 rushing yards on 46 carries, and a couple of running backs had career nights.

Sophomore Daniel Jenkins and freshman Ka'Deem Carey both set career highs with their totals Saturday.

Jenkins, who began the game with just 25 yards on seven carries this season, had 43 yards on 10 carries. The sophomore from Moreno Valley, Calif., had an 18-yard rush on the first play of the game for the Wildcats, his longest rush of his career.

He entered the game with just 51 career rushing yards.

"I thought our guys did a tremendous job of blocking up front," Kish said.

"We owned the line of scrimmage offensively."

Carey had nine carries for 67 yards.

His previous career high was 59 yards, set in his first career game against NAU.

The freshman also picked up his fourth rushing touchdown of the season on his first carry of the game. He outran two UCLA defenders and dived for the pylon, scoring on an 18-yard rush.

Sack masters

When junior defensive lineman Jowyn Ward sacked UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince in the second quarter of Thursday night's win, it was the Wildcats' first sack since their Week 2 matchup against Oklahoma State.

The Wildcats already know they won't have to wait that long again for another sack. Senior linebacker Paul Vassallo sacked Prince on the very next play.

It was the first sack of the season each for Ward and Vassallo.

Protecting the QB

Arizona allowed just one sack in Thursday's win after not giving up any against Oregon State a week ago.

The Wildcats have given up just two sacks in the last three games. USC's Nick Perry sacked Nick Foles in the Trojans' 48-41.

It's a drastic improvement from the start of the season. Arizona's first four opponents - NAU, Oklahoma State, Stanford and Oregon - picked up 11 sacks against the UA's inexperienced offensive line.

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Pac-12 South football standings

Team W L T PCT
Arizona 5 1 0 0.833
Utah 5 1 0 0.833
USC 5 2 0 0.714
ASU 5 1 0 0.833
UCLA 5 2 0 0.714
Colorado 3 4 0 0.429

Pac-12 North football standings

Team W L T PCT
Oregon 6 1 0 0.857
Oregon State 4 2 0 0.667
Stanford 4 3 0 0.571
Washington 5 2 0 0.714
Cal 4 3 0 0.571
Washington State 2 5 0 0.286
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