UCLA football coach Rick Neuheisel cut Tuesday’s spring practice short.

Or at least it looked like he did.

Neuheisel stopped drills and called the team into a huddle after Rahim Moore and Morrell Presley got chippy 15 minutes before the end of practice. E.J. Woods got into the extracurriculars as well. Presley ripped off Moore’s helmet and when the scrum was all over, so were the drills.

“You have to remind them that we can’t lose our temper,” Neuheisel said. “That can cost us a game, especially when we are dealing with overtime. And obviously they lost it and it got personal, and it resulted in a scuffle. But you like that they are passionate and now we just have to channel it.”

The players didn’t get to go home early as a result of the shortened drill session. When the team broke from the huddle, the offense stayed on the field and did up-downs until their irritated offensive coordinator Norm Chow felt they had suffered enough.

“We’re jumping offsides and are going the wrong way, and it’s guys that have been in the program,” Neuheisel said. “So it is time we get a little more concentration out of them. I think that’s the message (Chow’s) sending.”

But despite the unnecessary fighting, the scuffle did illustrate an increased level of intensity in a team whose offense, players say, has lacked passion over the past few practices.

Redshirt freshman running back Johnathan Franklin said that the team has been “up and down” and was slacking during parts of Tuesday’s practice.

“Other than the fighting going on, the intensity (from the fight), that’s a real good thing,” Franklin said. “We need that attitude, we need some swagger out here rather than us just moping around and being careless.”

RUNNING BACK SURPLUS: Multiple running backs continued to get reps yesterday as the coaching staff continued to sort through its surplus in the backfield.

Even with projected first-string running back Christian Ramirez sidelined by an injury, five different backs saw the field Tuesday.

“All of us are going for that No. 1 spot,” Franklin said. “The decision probably won’t be made until the fall. It’s a big question mark as I see it.”

Derrick Coleman is one back in the group that is likely to see playing time. The sophomore-to-be was the team’s second leading rusher a season ago and has a year of experience under his belt.

Yet he’s not banking on his prior playing time to get him a starting job.

“Past is the past,” Coleman said. “I just know what it feels like. I came in and didn’t have no experience last year and I had a pretty good year. But that doesn’t mean that the other guys who have had experience can’t dominate either. It’s whoever shows up when the lights come on that will play.”

Franklin was the leading rusher and the only person with a touchdown in last weekend’s scrimmage.

“I scored a touchdown and that was cool,” Franklin said. “But I still have a lot of things I need to work on. After watching film, you really see it from a different perspective. I really wasn’t happy with the way I did.”

PAULSEN INJURY UPDATE: Tight end Logan Paulsen’s CT scan of his right foot came back negative for a fracture.

Paulsen injured his foot when he landed after a reception in Saturday’s scrimmage and was on crutches as he watched practice from the sidelines Tuesday.

Neuhesiel said the redshirt senior will be kept out of action for the rest of spring practice.

“We know what he’s capable (of) and he’s proven he’s ready to go,” he said. “We just will really research what to do to make sure he doesn’t get any flare-ups come fall.”