Throughout the week, I’ll be bringing you some of the opening words from the new UCLA assistant coaches. A very energetic group, with a common purpose. We’ll start with new UCLA wide receivers coach Eric Yarber, who came to the Bruins from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Jon Gold: How do you approach working with a new group of kids, getting them to trust you?
Eric Yarber: “First and foremost, these kids, I genuinely care about them and when they know you genuinely care, when they trust you, they’ll go through the wall. First and foremost, I want them to know that. I want them to be successful on the field, in the classroom, in society. I start from there. Start with care, then trust, and then some of my NFL background, some of the guys I’ve coached, the proof is in the pudding. They’ll buy into some of the things I’ll be teaching. It has some credibility.”
JG: What have you seen out of the guys you inherit, which isn’t a big group?
EY: Well Devin Lucien didn’t play last year, so I haven’t seen much of him on film. You’ve got Shaq Evans, who played some, looks good on film. Ricky Marvray, who played some; Jerry Johnson who played before last year, doesn’t have a lot of playing film. I like what I see, though. I like the athleticism that we have.”
JG: What do you want to see out of these guys starting tomorrow?
EY: “I take all the ability out. I want to see great effort. A guy who has passion. Great effort doesn’t take skill at all. It takes want to. I will assess skill, see where they’re at. I want to take them from good to great. That’s what they put coach in front of my name.”
JG: What are you looking for out of your wideouts?
EY: “I’m going to send the message of being a complete ballplayer. Blocking, if they can’t block right now, they can’t play in this offense. First and foremost, they have to block. You want them to play with great effort. Quick, physical and aggressive. Playing with great effort, physically and aggressively. Making and finishing plays. That’s when drops come in. Not finishing plays. If you’re catch percentage is 80 percent, that’s not good enough. Elite receivers are at 95 percent. The high 90s. If you’re in the 80s in a passing offense, it’s not good enough.”