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Sunday, September 11, 2011
Upon further review: Neuheisel on SJSU

By Peter Yoon

Coach Rick Neuheisel had a chance to review game film from Saturday night's 27-17 victory over San Jose State and said Sunday during his weekly conference call with reporters that the main reason the game was so much closer than expected was UCLA's inability to convert on third downs.

The Bruins were four of 13 on third-down conversions and one of those came on an unnecessary roughness penalty on San Jose State when a Spartans player made a helmet-to-helmet hit on UCLA quarterback Richard Brehaut.

"That was the most disappointing thing from the game offensively," Neuheisel said. "We didn’t do as well as we have worked and needed to be on third down."

Many of those problems came from inefficiency in the passing game. Brehaut completed 12 of 23 passes, but Neuheisel said that by his count, Brehaut should have completed at least five more passes.

"We should have never been anything less than 17 of 23 just by doing things that are simple," Neuheisel said. "Not things that they took away from us, just things that we didn’t hit. If you do that then the game is a different game because you’re out there for longer and you can start to wear things down."

Saturday after the game, Brehaut lamented some of his decision making. He said he tried to take too many shots down the field instead of dumping off to safety-valve receivers for short gains.

"I could have done a better job of finding my underneath option -- my third option," he said. "As a quarterback, I've got to learn that when it's third and long, just take that underneath route. You never know what's going to happen."

On the defensive side, Neuheisel said he saw some improvement over the opening-week loss at Houston, but said there are still issues that need attention, such as "playing faster."

"They have to when they see the ball, they’ve got to go," he said. "You can’t continue to play without urgency. I don’t know if it’s inexperience or what have you, but we’ve got to go. We have to see it and go."

Neuheisel didn't name any names, but hinted that playing time would be up for grabs this week.

"We have to continue to have competition to make sure the guys understand that in order to be in there they have to do things right," he said. "We’ll continue to create opportunities for other people to win more and more playing time."

Other highlights from the call: