Interview: Justin London

He came to UCLA from Virginia, and the moment he stepped on the practice field last fall, he looked like the next big thing at linebacker. <b>Justin London</b> talks about trying to win the starting middle linebacker position this spring...

True sophomore middle linebacker Justin London is working to win the starting middle linebacker position this year...


How do you feel about your performance so far this spring?


‘I feel good. The defense is coming to me well. I'm starting to get it down pat and be able to run around more. And they've opened up the battle for the position. But it will be cool."


You intend to start at middle linebacker?


"That's my intention. That's what I came here for."


Have the coaches given you good indications about how you're doing?


"Yeah. We're out here working hard. They've said they like the way we're working.  It's just a process. Sooner or later, I'm hoping I won't have to worry about the competition, but just worry about what I have to do out on the field."


Do you like the change with the new coaching staff?  You have one coach, Coach Kerr, coaching the middle linebackers...


I like it. I think it's a change for the better. Coach Kerr is a good teacher. We're learning right now, in the learning process. It's intense, and we're getting a lot done in a short period of time. I like the change. I think it's a good change for the better."


Different with specific position coach? Are you getting more attention and instruction?


"I think we are. For the Sams, they then have their coach. So we are getting more instruction this way I think. It's definitely an advantage, a plus."


How much different is this defense?


"It is different. It's flat out different. It's different for the better. It's more basic. But we can fly around a lot more. We're more free at backer, which is what I like.  It's more gap control. Everybody has a gap. We handle our gaps. It's not about making the tackle every time, it's about handling the gap. I like that. As a team, you work together to get it done."


How good are you going to be next year as a defense?


"Good. Wait until you see it. I watched ESPN and they talked about those boys down in Oklahoma. Well, wait until they see our D." 


Who's impressing you? Besides yourself.


"Besides myself? Eric McNeal is showing me a lot as a safety back there. I'm sure he'll get some time this year. You know what? The whole offense is impressing me a lot. They're catching on fast, just like the defense is catching on fast. And for the offense, that's a lot to learn. Tyler Ebell looks good.  And he looks quicker. He's always been quick, but it seems like his cuts are even getting more crisp.  In another year, we might not be able to see him. On defense, at linebacker, I think Wesley Walker is doing well, too. We're gelling as a defense, and coming together pretty well."


Since you're from Virginia, and have now been here a year, are you now a California boy?  


"I'm here now. I've adapted. I'm not a California boy, but I'm living in California, and I've adapted to my teammates, who are California boys. But I love it."

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