Talk about the guys returning with extensive experience?
“There’s a number of guys who have proven themselves and we’re fortunate they’re back. On defense, you point to Rahim Moore who has 13 interceptions in two seasons. Akeem Ayers has made countless big plays. Those two guys will be at the forefront of what we do defensively. David Carter has to pick up where he left off. Datone Jones has to do a great job up front. Those guys are going to help bring along guys with less experience so we can play our typical UCLA defense. Prince, Rosario, Embree have all made a lot of plays. Cory Harkey, even though he’s going into his second spring here, he has a lot of experience. Four-fifths of our offensive line is coming back. There is experience. But I think we are in a place in our development where we have to let our fur fly. We’ve got to see who can do exactly what needs to be done.”
In your third spring ball, does your approach change?
“The approach and structure are the same. It’s the intensity. That’s not to say we weren’t intense in the first two springs. There was a lot of teaching going on, a lot of explanation. Not that we won’t teach and explain, but we have to really find time for legitimate playing. Who can play this game at the intensity this conference demands?”
Thoughts on Josh Smith:
“I think Josh is a very exciting player. I believe he can make a lot of plays both as a return man and as a receiver. When we decided he was a guy he wanted, just like with Joe Fauria, just like with Kai Maiava, we wanted to make sure that they were the kind of guys who could be a playmaker, a starter, but guys who can help build the program. I think Josh and Joe are very eager to do that.”
Any thought of putting Akeem Ayers at middle linebacker?
“We want to give a lot of different looks to opposing offenses. We want to make sure they can’t run away from any particular player. I thought it was a good thing to give Akeem chances to put his hand on the ground. We’ll do more of that this fall. I can’t tell you exactly where he’ll be lined right now.”