The UCLA Football team took the stage today at PAC-12 media day to meet with the press and answer questions as the start of the season looms near. The Bruins were represented by center Scott Quessenberry and LB Kenny Young.
Coming off a disappointing 2016 campaign, the UCLA Football showing at PAC-12 media day this year carried a little more weight than perhaps in years past. That’s because the press and fans want to know what the Bruins are doing this year that will help them avoid a repeat of ’16.
While plenty of questions go the head coach’s way, many in the media really tune into what the players say and how they say it. Sometimes they can blow nothing into a big something. However other times little gems turn into major storylines.
First up was current UCLA Football offensive center, Scott Quessenberry. There were a number of questions directed his way about the new coaching staff and the new direction that this offense would head in. One of the biggest quotes from Quess was his response to a question regarding the biggest impact to having a new position coach.
“He played center in the NFL for 13 seasons so he’s taught me more about the position than I’ve ever been able to learn”.
That’s not necessarily an indictment against the former coaching staff but given what little development we saw in the talent that UCLA was able to recruit I think its safe to say this coaching staff might already have a better handle on things.
UCLA Football LB Kenny Young took the stage next and was asked if he felt like there was added pressure on the defense since the offense would be installing a new system for the third time in three years. His response was exactly what you think it would be from a linebacker.
“Pressure is a privilege”.
Both players had high praise for their PAC-12 opponents with Young talking about the type of competitor and toughness that USC QB Sam Darnold embodies. Quess mentioned how the former Oregon Duck and now Utah Ute WR Darren Carrington will be a dangerous weapon in the PAC-12 South.
However it was the praise for their head coach, positional coaches, teammates and especially their QB that really caught my attention.
When asked about centers being the smartest guys on the field Quess responded with this
“Our quarterback is a pretty intelligent guy so I.Q. wise I’d probably have to give it to him.”
When asked by a reporter what it was like to play against Darnold, Young said he had only seen that type of competitiveness and skill one other time.
“Josh Rosen his freshman year. Man he looked like Petyon Manning back there in the shotgun. If he saw something that the defense is doing that he doesn’t like he’d make a check. That is not normal”.
While both players heaped praise on their teammates and said they both feel like this season will be bounce back year, PAC-12 media day is all talk. The real work will begin come Fall camp and Sept. 3 when the Bruins take on the Texas A&M Aggies.