Oct. 17, 2001
By Brian Johnson, UCLA Sports Information Assistant
Whether it is off the field or on the field, senior free safety Marques Anderson has had no problem establishing himself at UCLA. His dominance on the football field parallels his dominance in the classroom where he made the Director's Honor Roll with a 3.48 GPA in December 2000 and is on track to graduate in at the end of December 2001. On the football field Marques' switch to free safety in the off-season has spearheaded a mature and fierce Bruin defense.
Why did you choose to attend UCLA?
I chose to attend UCLA because it had a good family setting, my sister was already here (Marques' sister Andrea was a member of the UCLA women's track team) and the coaches made me feel at home. The school is real close to Long Beach where I am from and with my parents close by everything I needed was near UCLA.
What are your hobbies?
In the offseason I like to shoot hoops, relax with friends or go to a movie. What has been your favorite class at UCLA?
My favorite class was Spanish 3 which I took in the summer because when I first walked into class I didn't understand a word she was saying. By the end of the quarter I could understand the majority of what she was saying.
How have you been able to balance football with academics?
I have been able to balance the two because of the support groups here at UCLA. The high school I went to - Long Beach Poly - also prepared me because in my senior year I was taking four Advance Placement classes.
What has been your biggest achievement on and off the field at UCLA?
My biggest achievement on the field would be putting myself into a position to be a Thorpe candidate. It takes a lot of work to have someone consider you the best defensive back in the nation. Off the field it is being able to graduate at the end of December 2001.
What are your personal goals for the season?
To win the Thorpe award, be all-conference and an All-American and when people think of Marques Anderson I want them to think of an expert safety who played at UCLA.
Do you have any pre-game rituals?
I don't have any pre-game rituals but, since my freshman year in high school, I have always put a cross on each wristband and on each piece of tape that I put on my ankles. It is my own little ritual.
Describe what it's like to play at the Rose Bowl.
It is electric, the fans are great and when you walk out and you see 80,000 people cheering for you it feels good. The Rose Bowl is such a beautiful stadium and at the same time you have those fans supporting you so it feels good.
How have you improved since your first year at UCLA?
I think that I have become more of a student of the game. I've really learned much more about football than my freshman year when I was running around and playing with raw talent. Now I understand the game and how to play it.
How has your switch from strong safety to free safety changed your approach on defense?
It didn't really change my approach, but now I am the quarterback of the defense. I have to know all the formations, all the checks, all the line movements in order to run the defense. I have to make sure everybody is lined up in the right spot and we are in the right defense.
How has the defense improved since last year and how is it different for the past units you've played on?
I think the defense is playing a lot more aggressive this year. We are tackling much better, we're out there with a purpose, and we're motivated. I think that we have a lot of senior leadership with Robert Thomas, Kenyon Coleman and myself. We are strong in all three aspects of the defense: the defensive linemen, the linebackers and the secondary. This is where our success comes from, and now that we are healthy, we are finally going strong.