Catching up with Eric Yarber

UCLA Wide Receiver Coach Eric Yarber

On Jerry Johnson:
“He hasn’t played a lot and he doesn’t have a lot of experience, but the things he brings to the table you can’t teach. He has great speed, and what’s exceptional about him is his quickness for his size. He’s very, very quick, very fast, very strong. He goes up and attacks the ball. I think the sky is the limit.”

On the production of the unit compared to his expectations:
“All these guys I once recruited, so I knew they were pretty good coming out of high school. I knew Shaq Evans was good. I knew Devin Lucien was good. Jerry Johnson I recruited also. Those guys had skill in high school, and I think they need a little know-how. They have some talent, and hopefully I can give them a little know-how and tools to put in their tool box.”

On where he comes into play:
“I just try to get these guys to be the best that they can be. You don’t have to be the best that somebody else is; be the best person you can be. That’s what I’m trying to bring out. I think they’re starting to buy in. They’re giving the effort I want. I believe in them, and I let them know that they’re good people and good players and they have to have confidence in their abilities. If they don’t, nobody will. it starts with me.”

On the competition for spots:
“There is no favoritism. the best guy is going to play. Even though they are competing with each other, they pull for each other. They’re bring the best out of each other. One person sees another guy doing well, he wants to top him. They have a good competitive nature.”

On cockiness versus confidence at the wideout position:
“I think its…athletic arrogance. It’s not cockiness. It’s confidence in your abilities. Sometimes you have a diva tag, but I don’t want them to have that diva tag. I talk to them about speaking softly and carrying a big stick. Some of them are getting that little attitude right now. I don’t like that diva tag. I want them to play fast, physical and agressive and I want them to make and finish plays. I harp on that. Anybody can go out there and make a simple catch. I want you to compete to the end and make the tough catch. Make the quarterback look good. I want you to put your best foot forward and I’m not going to settle for less.”

On Devin Lucien:
“He’s a very good player and at a young age he’s showing a lot of maturity. He can be one of the better receivers to come out of UCLA, but right now is just the beginning and he knows it. He has a long way to go, but the thing about Devin is he wants to be great. He does all the little things. Takes great notes in meetings, works extra after practice, always picking my brain. He wants to be great and that’s a great starting point for me.”

(Catching up with Eric Yarber…get it? Catching up? Catch? OK.)