Mike Stoops firing could impact the Bruins

October, 11, 2011
10/11/11
8:15
PM PT
Coach Rick Neuheisel said it was a double whammy for him when he found out Arizona coach Mike Stoops had been fired.

First, he was upset that one something like that would happen to one of his coaching brethren, and second, he is concerned about how it might affect UCLA's game at Arizona on Oct. 20.

"It’s one of those things as a coach that you are saddened by because I know Mike and I admire Mike and I wish him well," Neuheisel said. "I also know that he gave a lot of his heart and soul to that university. That being said, I also know that team will respond in the way that they should, meaning that they will come out and play and play as hard as they can."

Whether they play with the same schemes or not is another question Neuheisel has to try and answer.

"Certainly there can be some tinkering," Neuheisel said. "If there were things that coaches wanted to do but were not allowed to because of Mike’s wishes, those are no longer there and that can now happen and they have extra time to get that accomplished. I don’t know how to prepare for that other than get prepared to play and make adjustments as they occur during the course of the game."

Defensive coordinator Joe Tresey said he doesn't expect to see too much change, but is wary of a Wildcats team responding to the sudden adversity with an influx of energy.

"I’m sure there are a lot of kids that really like the guy and they are going to play for him and you have that whole dynamic," Tresey said. "You have every reason in the world to think that everyone is going to play at a higher level. So our kids are aware of that. We talked to them today about it and we’ll talk to them later about it."

That means the challenge for the UCLA coaches over the next week and a half will be to make sure UCLA has similar levels of energy and intensity at kickoff next Thursday.

"Whenever there is a change, whatever the reasons why, there is always kind of a fresh start and so they’ll feel that this is a fresh start," Neuheisel said. "From that standpoint, you just know that they are going to have a lot of energy when they step on to the field and we’ve got to match that."

Peter Yoon

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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