Spring Preview: Thigpen Interview

We talked over the new offense with Damien Thigpen, how it felt to sit out last year, and whether he's fully healthy and ready for spring practice...

Q: How are you feeling health-wise?

A: I'm feeling good. Sitting out this last year may have been tough just because it was hard not to play, but I feel like it was good for my body and you know, I feel like I've also grown in maturity, so I'm thinking I'm going to be really ready to play this you. It was pretty tough, but I feel like everything happens for a reason, and that it was meant to be for me to sit out last year so that I could have bigger and better things to look forward to this year.

Q: Did you think at any point you'd be able to make it back last year?

A: I thought I'd be able to make it back at a certain point before I reinjured my hamstring during the season right around the San Jose weekend. But after that happened I knew I was redshirting and that I was basically training to get back into workout shape and get rest so I could get back to practice and sharpening my skills. After the second injury, it was time to just take some time to get myself better.

Q: Are you still doing rehab, or were you able to fully participate in workouts?

A: Oh, I'm fully working out now. That's the good thing about taking last year off is that I was able to get fully healthy. I've been working out and doing my thing. Coach Alosi, I'm definitely enjoying what he's doing. He's definitely getting us better. I'm really excited about him and how we're going to look in the spring.

Q: And then I saw you were listed as a wide receiver on the website. That looking like the F?

A: I will be running at the F, and I'll definitely be lining up at the slot, and at times out of the back field.

Q: So you're going to be working closely with Coach Tui then. What do you think of him?

A: Yep, he's a good coach. I'm glad he's still here, and I'm sure he's going to give me tips and techniques to get myself better.

Q: Do you kind of see this offense as suiting your abilities a little bit better than the pistol?

A: I definitely feel like everything happens for a reason, so the fact that this offense is in place here and as well as me not being utilized as much in the past, I feel like it's all coming pretty full circle for me, so yeah, I'm pretty excited about it.

Q: There's been a lot of talk of culture change- what's been your impression so far of what the coaches have tried to do in terms of that?

A: I think what they're really trying to do is make sure that we reflect the culture that they believe in. So, I'm sure from our workouts to just walking around campus, they want us to have a certain feel about ourselves, you know, respect the university and respect ourselves, and you know, walk around with UCLA football proud on our chests, and I definitely feel like they're working hard to instill that kind of mindset in all of us.

Q: Does that message resonate more, given that a lot of these guys have gone on to play professional football or coach in the NFL?

A: I think having a lot of guys from the NFL, I mean, regardless of whether they played there or not, I'm going to take the information they give me. I'm going to apply it. But it definitely helps to know that they've played in the NFL. You understand that they were in that position that you want to be in, so you definitely have to pay attention to everything they're saying. They know it. They played in it. And that's everybody's dream. Well, most of the time.

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