Sept. 4, 2001
Vic Deverian (Pasadena, CA)
What are the three or four most important factors you look at when recruiting a player for the Bruins? Also, will you be opening up the offense more like the '97 and '98 playbook selections now that you have an experienced quarterback and an improved offensive line?
"Well, obviously there a couple of things. We want to make sure they have outstanding athletic ability. They have to be good students otherwise they can't get into UCLA and lastly I like to check the character. As I tell our staff, we recruit character, not characters. As for opening the offense, it depends on the opponent for one. It also depends on how well our defense is playing. A good example is last week against Alabama. We went in there with a very conservative game plan because we wanted to see how good our defense was. The other thing is that I didn't want to get Cory Paus hit early in the year. I wanted to get the ball to DeShaun and be able to run the ball. Kind of pound it in there and ware Alabama down a little bit. But to answer the question, week to week it will change depending on who we're playing. As everybody knows, I'm not afraid to throw the ball 40 or 50 times a game and open it up."
Kevin (San Jose, CA)
My question is about Craig Bragg. Being a good friend and former teammate of Craig's, how is he holding up during these workouts and does it look as if he is putting pressure to play a lot or will he see more time as kick returner?
"Craig Bragg was our scout team offensive player of the year last year as a redshirt freshman. He came in the spring and got bigger and stronger. He was learning what to do and did okay. But he made a big jump this summer. He stayed here and worked out with our players and got a good grasp of our passing game. Right now he's rotating with Tab Perry as one of third receivers. He runs back punts and he runs back kickoffs as well. He will get the ball thrown to him. He's an outstanding threat and a big part of our offense."
Jason Watts (Portland, OR)
I've heard you say in the past that you consider the first three non-conference games as "preseason" contests. Obviously wins over Alabama and Ohio State would be huge for UCLA's national exposure, but do you consider them as important as say a win over Oregon or USC?
"There is nothing more important than a league win. One of our goals is to win a championship and you can't win a championship if you win non-league games and lose league games."
Mila Bodanavich (Los Angeles) Nice defensive effort against the Tide. In regards to the exceptional defensive effort, do you think it was because of Phil Snow's presence or just the fact that the UCLA defense has another year of experience under its belt and is more seasoned and mature? Or was it a combination of both?
"I think it's a combination of both. First off, I think Phil has brought a real good attitude to our defensive football team and I think he's a great coach. He's an aggressive guy and our entire staff has gelled real well with him and his philosophy. Also, we've played a lot of players in the last couple of years that have been injured, so it has afforded us the opportunity to play seven or eight guys on the defensive line. I think that experience showed the other night because we rolled players in and out to keep fresh players on the field, particularly on the defensive line and some at linebacker. But, yeah, it's a combination of both."
Carmen Fernando (Westlake Village, CA)
Following the first week of college football, were you surprised how any of the games turned out? For instance, having played Fresno State the past couple of years, did you know they had the talent to beat a solid team like Oregon State?
"Well, nothing surprises me anymore. I think there is parity throughout college football. You look at the Northwestern score and you look at Fresno the last couple of weeks. We beat Fresno the last three times we've played them here, but they are competitive and it you don't play well they can beat you. That's what they've done in the last few games."