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Q & A With Freddie Mitchell and Brian Poli-Dixon
By: UCLA Athletics

Sept. 5, 2000

By Brett Henry
UCLA Media Relations

J.J. Stokes, Danny Farmer, Kevin Jordan, Jojo Townsell and Sean LaChapelle are players who will always be mentioned as the greatest receivers to ever wear a UCLA uniform. Yet when Brian Poli-Dixon or Freddie Mitchell's names are mentioned, spectacular single game performances come to mind. Poli-Dixon's nine catches in a Bruin victory over Oregon State in 1998 ranks as the seventh best receiving day in Bruin history. Mitchell made a quick impression during his inaugural season in 1998 catching four passes for 108 yards in the season opener against Texas, highlighted by a 79-yard touchdown reception from Cade McNown. During the same game he also threw a 34-yard touchdown pass, ran 30 yards on a reverse and returned three kickoffs for 78 yards.

Both receivers return for the 2000 campaign after having contrasting1999 seasons. Mitchell led the Bruin receivers with 38 receptions for 533 yards while Poli-Dixon missed virtually the entire season after suffering a fractured wrist in the third game against Fresno State. In 1998 Poli-Dixon enjoyed a spectacular sophomore campaign by making 44 catches for 712 yards while recording a team-leading 10 touchdowns. The 2000 season brings new challenges for both players, each ready to match the accomplishments that propelled them into the UCLA record books.

Brian Poli-Dixon

What are some of your goals this upcoming season?
Well, first I want to help the team improve on our 4-7 mark last season. It was really disappointing. I want to go for 1,000 yards. It doesn't matter how many catches. I want to catch at least 10 touchdowns like I did before. It's going to take a lot of hard work, I have to be focused on and off the field. I have to know my role, which is being a good leader and a team player. We have to win more games.

You were injured last season, how does going through that experience prepare you for this season?
Well it was definitely a learning process. I matured a lot. Last summer, how I worked out affected how I came to camp. It gave me a chance to look at how I came into camp that year and it gave me the opportunity to make changes in things I didn't like. In a way it was kind of a blessing, it allowed me to grow and gave me a chance to start over.

You are often compared to J.J. Stokes, how do you feel about the comparisons?
At first I liked the comparisonsbeing compared to another great receiver is a compliment. Being compared to someone is the potential that you have. Potential is nothing, you have do it. I'm trying to break out of that, I'm trying to make a name for myself. I want to put up my own numbers so I can break his numbers. It's cool but I'm trying to be better than that.

Why did you choose UCLA?
I set up my five visits and UCLA was my second visit and I ended up committing on my trip here. I came out here and just fell in love with the university. The coaches seemed cool. I loved the system because they threw the ball a lot. The atmosphere in California was nice and since I want to get into media advertising I thought Los Angeles would be the place.

Do you have any pre-game rituals?
Yeah, Freddie and I wear wristbands on our right wrists. I also listen to music. We wear them (wristbands) in practice and in the game, it's our own little thing.

What do you think you'd be doing if you were not playing football?
Working in media advertising or real estate. My dad is currently in real estate and he has given me the inside scoop in that field.

Freddie Mitchell

What do you feel your role is on the Bruin team?
Play the energy role, whenever the team needs a momentum change I think I'm the player to do that. I want to set an example for the younger players. I want the younger (players) to look at me and say, Oehey what is Freddie going to do now'. I like that I want them to build off my energy so they can make the next big play.

You played baseball last season, do you have any aspirations on being a two-sport professional athlete?
Definitely, I would not mind ending my career in baseball. Baseball is a fun sport. It is not fun watching, but if you are in there and you know the situations it's real fun. I think I want to get my football receiving skills at a good level, get good at that and then go to baseball. I want to be great at both of them.

What are some of your hobbies?
I love dancing, I love music. I played the tenor saxophone when I was little and I want to take that back up because I miss it. I love the saxophoneI love music. I love jazz and oldies. I'm a dying fan of country.

What is your greatest athletic highlight to date?
The first game of my career at UCLA, my freshman year when we played Texas. We had two Heisman candidates, Cade McNown and Ricky Williams, up to the mound, battling each other and I think that I shined. I ran reverses, kickoff, I did punts, I scored a touchdown by catching and I threw for one. It's like the best game ever. It's one of the highlights that I'll remember to tell my kids.

How do you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as a kid that can overcome controversy and everything. I know I am going to be remembered for my leg being broken. I want to be remembered as a kid from Florida that had a lot of heart that gave it his all. I don't want to be known as a soft character that a lot of people see nowadays. I want to be known as a guy with a lot of heart who would do whatever it takes to win.

Why did you come to UCLA?
I wanted to do something different. Everyone in Florida sticks to Florida. I've had a lot of friends after football that do nothing, they just go to their 9 to 5 jobs. I wanted something better for myself, I wanted to open up more doors. I want to do different things.

What type of things do you what to do when you leave UCLA?
I cling to kids and I love kids a lot. If I were not involve with kids I would not mind getting into film. I have met a lot of producers. In high school I took television production classes. I have always wanted to be on film.

Have you done anything on film since you have been at UCLA?
I've have been on Pacific Blue with Mario Lopez (A. C. Slater from Saved By the Bell), he is one of my best friends. That was a fun moment, I still have the clip at home. It's great. (In the scene) I was walking down the beach with a couple of people and they zoomed in on me. A lot of people called me from Florida and said they saw me on TV. I would love to do acting.

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