How is your health?
"It's good. I partially tore a pec in the off-season bench-pressing. But it's slowly getting back to where it needs to be. It hasn't really affected me out here much. It should be 100% soon. Every so often I'll tweak it, but I stretch it out and keep going."
You've been moved on the depth chart early in spring...
"When we started spring I was second at right guard. And then they went ahead and moved me up to first. And then moved Steve Vieira, who was playing right guard, to left tackle. So, I worked my way back up to the ones and intend to stay there. It feels good to be back with those guys. I think it's where I belong. I like working next to those guys, the starters. I think we work well together."
You were considered a pretty well-hyped recruit coming into UCLA. Do you want to prove that the hype was justified?
"Yeah. All that hype out of high school, it's all fine. But when you finally get out here and realize you're competing with a bunch of other All-Americans, and everybody else is all hyped up, you realize it doesn't mean anything. You have to come out and compete and prove yourself."
You have some continuity on the offensive line, with guys who have been there before. Is there good cohesion between the group?
"Working with McCloskey is great because he's just an unbelievable athlete. I have Ed Blanton or Paul Mociler on my right-hand side. Ed's like 6-9 and 340, and we shouldn't have much problem getting movement on the double teams. These are some real athletes. They really help me out, and I think I really help them out because I've been around for a while. All together, I think it works really well, and that we all really work well together."
There are some changes, though, to adapt to, like Steve Vieira having to adapt to tackle...
"This is only his second day (Monday) playing tackle, and he's adjusted really well. He's an excellent athlete. He's going to do fine."
They made the change last Friday?
"Yeah, they made the switch on Friday. So Steve's at left tackle and I'm at right guard. And Paul and Ed are rotating at the right tackle spot to see who's going to start there. So we're all getting some work."
Last year you also had an injured ankle. How's that doing?
"I tweak it every once in a while. But it hasn't given me any problems this spring, the first four practices. I've just been rehabbing it. I rehabbed it all year. My ankle, my chest. And it it seems to be going well with all of it. We have good trainers here."
Even though you have the same position coach, is there a different feeling to the new coaching staff?
"Well, Coach Weber, he's great. He's always been tough on us. But he's just a great coach. As far as Coach Dorrell, he brings a lot of excitement to the team. We have more of a younger coaching staff. Coach Bieniemy as well. He's really energetic and he gets everyone really fired up. Those coaches know how to make you want to come out and play your hardest. You really want to do well for them, because they're great coaches. We should be really good."
Was the off-season the hardest you've experienced?
"Whew, yeah. Coach Dorrell introduced us to these mat drills, these agility drills, in the off-season. They were tough. They were designed to test you, and they weeded guys out who weren't strong enough to stay in there. It really helps a lot. Not just physically, getting in better shape. But mentally, too. You have to be mentally tough to make it through those workouts. They were good and very tough."
How good could this OL be with three returning starters and you, having quite a bit of experience?
‘I think this year coming up we're going to be the best that we've been in a long time. We just have some really good athletes with experience, with a lot of games under our belt. We've all played and we know what we're doing. I think we're going to be really good."