Sept. 24, 2003
The backbone of a team is a solid defense. The strength of the 2003 UCLA football team lies in its defensive line. At a combined weight of 1,149 pounds, senior linemen Dave Ball, Mat Ball, Ryan Boschetti and Rodney Leisle are a cohesive unit prepared to lead the Bruins as they attack opposing offenses. With a total of 96 tackles and 15.5 sacks in 2002, the "D Line" is ready to rumble.
Do you agree with the saying, "Defense wins games"?
RB: I think it all starts up front in the trenches. We work hard every day and set the tone for the defense.
DB: The trenches are where it starts. When we get that call to go over the top, we go and we destroy. We wreak havoc.
RL: We're considered the meanest, strongest and fiercest guys on the line. We set the example and everyone follows us.
As seniors, how do you plan on leading the team?
MB: We plan on trying to dominate as a defensive line. As the whole D-Line, we feel that this is our chance to lead the team. And, as a line in general, we feel like we're the most important part of the team.
RL: We're leading by example.
RB: I think that we have a lot of guys on this team that lead by example, and the D-Line has been doing that. We come out to practice every day. We practice hard and we expect the best out of our teammates.
What do you do to prepare yourself for each game?
RL: I listen to crazy music and I eat a Double-Double burger to get prepared.
RB: I like to focus in a nice quiet area, tape up my fingers and get ready to go.
MB: I like to pretend that I'm a crazed beast. Sometimes I bang my head against the lockers. I fiercely attack whoever has the football.
DB: I like to stretch out and get mentally focused.
What are your goals for this season?
RL: One of my goals, our goal, is to end every game with a victory. Not focus on how many games we have left, just focus on each game individually. I also think that we should have four All-Americans on the D-Line.
MB: I think that, as a D-Line, we're trying to put three quarterbacks in the hospital. Non-life threatening injuries, of course. Just hospital time, in general, would brighten our day.
RB: I second both of those notions.
DB: Same here.
In what ways have you matured as a player since your freshman year?
RL: I think that I've gotten better technique-wise and as a leader. I've assumed leadership through my actions. I've run harder and I've gotten on people who haven't run or worked as hard as I have.
DB: I think that, during my time here, I've gone through "puberty" numerous times as a player. I've gotten a lot bigger and stronger. I'm faster and I can jump higher. I am an enormous beast.
RB: I think that we all give a lot of credit to Coach Johnson. He's really helped us mature as players and as a D-Line playing together.
What's your best memory of UCLA football so far?
RL: I think my best memory is playing with these guys throughout my four years, getting to know them and their personalities and having a great time on the field.
MB: My best memories are joking around with the team, having a good time, enjoying college life and winning football games.
Does any one of you assume the role of leader of the defensive line?
RL: I think we're all leaders. No one has more of a leadership role than any other.
DB: I think we're all robots doing whatever Coach Johnson tells us. We obey his commands on the field.
What are you looking forward to the most this season?
MB: As a defensive line, we're looking forward to unleashing fury onto the football field that the earth has never seen before.
DB: I am also looking forward to unleashing typhoon size anger upon quarterbacks.
RL: I second that.
RB: I third that.