Nov. 19, 2011
UCLA 45, Colorado 6
November 19, 2011
UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel
"It was one of those games where you're nervous all week about it because you know they're coming off a win, and they're excited about playing at the Rose Bowl and all these relationships with guys on the other sideline. You've got all these other things going on. It was a frustrating week for me to just keep concentrating on our team getting better and so forth. I was very pleased with how we started the game. We're going to talk long and hard the next couple of days. We're going to play a game where we can't afford to have missed opportunities.
"I'm very pleased with the ability that our team has shown over the course of the season, that we have been able to respond and come back to work and not point fingers. We have played complete games the next time out. We find ourselves at 6-5 and, more importantly, with a chance to win the South Division. There weren't very many people in this room who believed that to be possible at the start of the season. Say all you want about the lack of great teams on this side of the division or blah blah blah, but the bottom line is that we're playing for a championship. I know our players will be excited about the opportunity. We certainly have great respect for the next opponent. We're looking forward to a whale of a ballgame. We finished tonight and that's within reach now.
on addressing the crowd after the win
"It was something I wanted to do after the last game of the season. If I'm fortunate enough to be here, I'll continue to do that at the end of the year. It's nice to do that to people who are so loyal. They get mad at you when things aren't going well and are elated when things do go well. We went 5-1 at home this year. That's a heck of a record. Since I've been here, that's the best record that we have had at home. I wanted to say thank you because they deserved it."
on not getting too excited after taking an early 14-0 lead
"It's one of the jobs of whoever is in charge to make sure that the focus is such that we are not celebrating too early. You don't want to take celebration away from your young people. You want to enjoy it and have fun. But the fun can't dissipate from the focus of what's going on on the field. I'm 50 now and I've got to be responsible with that. When I was 33, I would have been celebrating with them."
on playing Colorado after having coached there before
"Seeing those uniforms out there was a little different. When I left Colorado to go to Washington, we played them the next two years. There were still a lot of hard feelings, if you will, and players that certainly I'd been involved in recruiting. That was much more difficult. Coaching against guys where you had been in their living rooms and had convinced them to come and be a part of the program. It was fun and surreal to see Jon Embree as the head coach and a number of guys on that staff that I grew up with in this business. I was excited with how we were able to handle our end of the deal."
on quarterback Kevin Prince
"You know what, a complete game. He wants the one pass back where he missed Shaq [Evans] over the top. That's exactly what the quarterback in this offense needs to do. He needs to handle both parts of the job and take advantage of big plays when they're available. I'm happy for him. And now I want more. That's just the way it is."
on being able to play USC for the chance to win the Pac-12 South
"We're playing `SC for the championship. That's the way it should be. That's the way it used to be. When I was in school, this was the game you always pointed to. In 1981, if we had beat them, we would have gone to the Rose Bowl. My senior year, we needed to beat them to go to the Rose Bowl. It's the nature of the beast. When I first got back here, that's what I longed for. It's not just the championship of L.A. but also for the championship of much bigger stakes."
on the importance of a strong offensive line
"Always it results in great success. If you're stout up front, and do a great job, you'll have an opportunity to play well. For Kai Maiava, it was an important game for him. He wanted to play well and I thought he played great up front. Certainly, it was a complete effort."
Colorado head coach Jon Embree
"We had the turnover early that hurt our defense. We missed some protections and some pressures that we should have been able to pick up. We didn't do that. Playing from behind like we did, we couldn't sustain anything and couldn't get any first downs. We had to stay on the field to give us a chance. I think our defense played well in spurts, but at the end we just couldn't tackle. The last two or three drives we had there was just poor tackling.
on optimism about his running attack
"I felt that we were starting to find our rhythm up front with the offensive line so that we could run the ball. Coming in, I felt that we could be balanced, be able to run and throw."
on his team's confidence level after last week's win
"You have to come out and match their energy and passion and we didn't do that. We were OK early, but the first pick that turned into six and having a chance to come back and do something after that, we just couldn't sustain anything. Every time we got a turnover or a stop from them, we went three and out. We can't do that."
on playing against his son, UCLA wide receiver Taylor Embree
"Never want to do it again. I'm just glad it's a one-time deal. It's very awkward. You're cheering against him. After the game, I told him I loved him. I told him congratulations for getting bowl eligible, because that was his goal going into his senior year. He didn't want to finish by not going to a bowl."
on finishing out the season on a high note
"We have one game left at Utah to try to end our road streak. It's something our seniors and myself have talked about, finding a way to do that. They have one game left. We have three practices left and four days of football left for the majority of those guys and then they never play again. We've already started on Utah because it's a short week, so we'll see what happens in Salt Lake."
on the program's foundation
"There has been a foundation built, but there hasn't been the consistency. We'll evaluate everything after the season. I'm sure there will be some things on both sides of the ball that we will tweak and try to improve on."