On Day 2 of Pac-12 Media Day, UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley and linebacker Eric Kendricks represented the Bruins as they helped kick-off the unofficial start to the college football season, one that should be very promising for them. With both players answering questions on just about every football-related topic, Go Joe Bruin was able to ask them a few questions regarding the up-coming season.
The Defensive Formation
One of the biggest questions with the defense is how new coordinator Jeff Ulbrich will have the team running. The Bruins have been utilizing the 3-4 defense the last few years, but in the spring showed movement toward a 4-2-5 due to injuries and a fantastic secondary. We asked Eric Kendricks about the potential change.
“It just depends on what the offense is doing and what personnel they have on the field. We have all types of looks this year, it should be fun. We have blitz packages and coverage formations and things like that, based on what the offense is doing and how to trick them. It’s going to be all a game of chess.”
Brett Hundley had talked about trying to limit distractions. We asked both Hundley and Kendricks how they will try to limit the distractions that will come from being on the second season of ‘The Drive’ on the Pac-12 Network:
Hundley stated, “I’m actually mic’d up for ‘The Drive’ right now. It is funny because, as a team we have been pretty good at it. But when you have to focus, you don’t even worry about those things. When [I'm] at practice, I honestly never focus on the camera. So you just got to be yourself and there will always be people watching and when you sign that scholarship you understand that. You know, people will always be watching you as you play Division One football.”
As for Kendricks, he had this to say, “I just figured this out the other day. Like I said, I am never too worried about cameras. As long as we do what we got to do, we’ll be fine.”
The Leading Tackler Can Improve
As the leading tackler from last season, we asked Kendricks what he is looking to improve on this season:
“A lot of things. I am trying to improve my game as far as coverage is concerned. Things that I didn’t do well last year, as far as maybe blitzes and things like that. And I can always improve on the run.”
Big things are expected from UCLA this season, especially with the media voting the Bruins to win the Pac-12 South, Kendricks expanded on how he and the Bruins handle the attention.
“I feel you have to ignore that a little bit and worry about yourself. If you worry about yourself you will be fine. Worry about the team goals, especially, like last year, I wasn’t worried about anyone else or anyone getting hyped up. I was just worried about what I had to do and how I could help the team.”
The Freshmen Class
With a great recruiting class coming in, we asked both Hundley and Kendricks who they thought might make a difference this season.
Kendricks said, “There are a lot of guys that have been working their butts off, including, I would say, Eldridge Massington has been one of the workers I’ve seen as far as a freshmen standpoint. Same with Jayon Brown. Its a collective effort.”
Hundley said, “We came back with a lot of starters, so the freshmen this year, I even sat them down and had a talk with them and told them, ‘As you guys expect to play, just understand we come back with a lot of starters’.
“A lot of positions have been, I don’t want to say filled, but the best will play. So there is a lot of talent from this freshmen group, but the best will play. And you know, if one of them understands the game, they fit with the offense and doing what they need to do and handling their business, then they will play.
“Right now, you know, all of them are still sort of learning and still getting stuff. It’s the first summer of college and I remember when I was there. But they are all enjoying it and having fun, but when camp starts I think there will be a rude awakening at how real this is.”
We did not ask this question, but thought it was very noteworthy. When asked if Hundley really thought UCLA runs LA, he said:
“I do personally. Its always fun. There will always be diehard SC fans and there will always be diehard UCLA fans, so there will always be that clash between the two. But after two years its been fun, but each year, that is one of the things we did when Mora got here, we don’t focus on it until the week has come. We will focus on week one, we will focus on week two and on the second-to-last game, we will focus on SC.”