Sorry about that headline, had to do it, but after the jump is my Ricky Marvray mini-feature for tomorrow’s paper. Got a couple of cool anecdotes from Richard Brehaut, including this one, which I couldn’t fit in. Really, REALLY, wish I could’ve fit it in…
“Man, he loves football,” Brehaut said. “We were in the locker room today, and I was done showering, walking out, probably 30 minutes after practice, and I see Ricky looking at himself in the mirror with his full pads on. Cleats still on, helmet strapped on, and I say, ‘Dude, Ricky, what are you doing?’ ‘He says, ‘Man, I love football too much man. I just love it.’ That’s 30 minutes after we broke. He’s making the game face in the mirror. Ricky, he just loves the game and he’s not afraid to play so much bigger than he is.’
UCLA sophomore quarterback Richard Brehaut knew from the first moment he met Ricky Marvray that he wanted Marvray on his team.
The future Bruins met on the exact field on which they practiced Monday afternoon while at a one-day camp in 2008, when both were going into their senior years of high school.
Brehaut needed only one throw to know: If he was going to UCLA, Marvray was, too.
“He would run a route, make the catch, and he’d just come back and wanted it again right there,” Brehaut said. “He didn’t want to get back in line, he just wanted another pass. From that moment on, I said, ‘Coach, we need to offer this kid.’ We didn’t offer until the middle of the season, but that’s when I knew that if we didn’t get this kid, we’d miss something special; now you see him, and it’s paid off. He’s ballin’.”
Marvray was late to the camp that day, didn’t even have a camp T-shirt, but he’s been one of the early stars of UCLA’s fall camp, which continues today at 3 p.m. at Spaulding Field.
Working to become a mainstay in the Bruins’ rotation, the excitable wideout has made highlight-reel catch after highlight-reel, going four feet into the air for a grab over two defensive backs as Monday’s practice winded down.
After a disappointing redshirt season when he showed flashes of brilliance mixed with drastic missteps, Marvray has become a consistent threat for all of UCLA’s quarterbacks. Sophomore quarterback Kevin Prince, who is nursing a pulled oblique muscle that has sidelined him since last Tuesday, talks freely about the extra time Marvray spent in the offseason with him. Brehaut and Marvray share a bond, as well, as the two often threw the ball around on Landfair Ave. in Westwood during the school year, and at Brehaut’s Los Osos High during the summer.
“I’ve never wanted to settle for anything in life,” Marvray said. “Whatever I do, I’m trying to be the best at it, no matter what it is. We have some really good wideouts on this team, and we all contribute differently, but I’m try to be the best. I’m trying to get on the field and get some plays.”
The key to Marvray: precision route-running.
Raw talent is a given at the Pac-10 level, and Marvray is expected to have devoured the playbook, but both running exact routes and simply finding ways to get open are the best way to see the field, and Marvray knows it.
“Especially with a position as precise as wide receiver, it’s not as easy as it looks just running down the field catching the ball,” Marvray said. “There are a lot of minute intangibles that go along with it.”
If he continues to nail them down – and catch the ball, too – Marvray could see his way into a rotation that features three established veterans – juniors Taylor Embree, Nelson Rosario and Josh Smith – and a promising youngster in Randall Carroll.
“I’m on my Pokemon status right now; I’ve got to catch ’em all,” Marvray said. “That’s what I’m trying to do. I want to be known as the most consistent guy. I don’t want to be known as, ‘He’s a go-route guy. He’s a slant guy.’ I just want to be known as the guy who catches the ball. You throw it to me, it’s going to get caught.
But there’s only one ball to go around.
You wish there were two or three?
“If there was four, I’d catch them all.”