What did you know about UCLA, as a school, and this current team?
Mike Johnson: “I knew we had a certain level of talent. I knew we had certain skill positions that were talented. I knew we were still trying to find our way from a passing standpoint. I knew that we were a team that lacked confidence. But I looked at it and saw certain things that I could make a change in. I felt like I could come in and change some of the things that were wrong, especially from a mindset standpoint. Changing the way they saw themselves, changing the way they see UCLA as a university. Teach some of the history of and tradition, what it means to wear those letters across your chest. I grew up in Los Angeles. I knew all about the UCLA football and the glory days. I knew about UCLA basketball, baseball, all the championships UCLA has had. You’re sitting in the heart of Los Angeles, with a strong recruiting base. If you can recruit the right kids from a character standpoint throughout LA to come in and rep u well, I think program can change quickly.”
Joe Tresey: “The only thing I knew is I grew up at 12 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon in November and Ohio State played Michigan and at 4 o’clock, USC played UCLA. I watched it for I don’t know how many years. To me, UCLA was always a very good school, traditionally, athletically. You had the track and the basketball, the football. Growing up, we didn’t have the internet, and there wasn’t ESPN, so there were only a couple games on the weekend. You had the basketball games on quite a bit, and you had John Wooden. You knew you had Dick Vermiel, you had Terry Donahue. Two guys right there in our profession, you knew were great coaches. Then when you looked at who came out of UCLA over the years, from an offensive and defensive standpoint, starting with Gary Beban really. That’s the first one I knew. I didn’t know Jackie Robinson played football here; I knew Rafer Johnson was a great Olympian in the decathlon. But when people have that type of status, they leave a lasting impression. That’s what I knew about UCLA.
Now? Nothing. Not a thing.”