Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Go Joe Bruin staffer Andy Goodman was able to catch up with UCLA defensive back Tevin McDonald. Here’s the conversation.
Q: So, Tevin. Last year you played under Rick Neuhiesel and you bursted onto the scene of CFB and solidified yourself as a team leader. What was it like transitioning from Rick to Jim Mora? Were there any noticible changes in the way you approach your game?
A: When Mora got here, you could feel the urgency in the way he approached everything. The idea about UCLA football was that we were soft and he was on a mission to change that culture. I feel like I approached my game the same.
Q: No doubt that you guys were labeled as ‘soft’ before the year started. Last year you were under the direction of Joe Tresey on defense; now that Lou Spanos is in charge, you guys are reeking havoc in the backfield. To be fair, UCLA’s D wasn’t that great, but this year you guys were fantastic. How much do you credit the change on D to Spanos?
A: I think our 3-4 scheme worked well with our players. I think it gave us the ability to be more athletic and attacking. You got guys like Barr, Holmes and Zumwalt rushing on the edge forces the issue and gave us the the ability to get turnovers. The numbers speak for themselves.
Q: The numbers do speak, you guys were elite in takeaways and sacks forced on the opponent. Now, tell us about the “rivalry” you have with your brother TJ. What was it like beating him this year? Any trash talking?
A: Nah, there wasn’t much trash talking. I went easy on him because it was his senior year and they were having a rough season. He took it easy on me last year when we lost by 50 points as well.
Q: Looks like you guys have a good relationship. It was a long, successful season this year. What has been your favorite moment as a UCLA football player thus far?
A: The moment the clock struck 0:00 after the USC game. It was euphoric. It was a moment I will never forget.
Q: We all will remember that one for sure. I’m sure you get this a lot, but it’s Gameday and your listening to your iPod. What songs/artists are on your playlist?
A: Meek Mill- Tony Story part 2.
Q: Good choice. Last question before we wrap it up. What was it like not being able to go to the Holiday Bowl? And what are your goals for next season?
A: It was pretty tough not being able to play in that game and to find myself in a situation like that. In the end though I know it made me a better man. And I’m real excited for next year. My goal is to help lead my defense/team to a rose bowl championship.
Me: Can’t wait to see what you guys accomplish next year. Good luck in the offseason and regular season, Tevin. Thanks for your time. Go bruins!
Tevin: Thanks a lot man. Go Bruins!