Seali'i Epenesa talks about the spring:
Q: here with Mr. [Seali'i Epenesa]. So, you've been running with the 1's again at nose tackle but you don't have much depth behind you. How tired are you getting out there?
SE: I mean, yeah, it gets pretty tiring in there, but you know, this time of the season, we just got to push through it.
Q: I mean, this is your first… I mean, spring really working heavily at that nose tackle position. I mean, last year, you started working in there. How much more comfortable are you in that role this year as opposed to last year?
SE: well, I feel a lot better from last year. Last year, everything was… coming spring time, everything was new. All the techniques were new. Our 3-point stance was new. Everything was just different. So now that I have a year under my belt in running this defense, I feel a lot more confident in my techniques and, you know, my ability to plug the middle.
Q: is there anything new that Coach [Angus McClure - Defensive Line/Recruiting Coordinator] is teaching you or is it just kind of reinforcing what you guys have already been taught?
SE: yeah, everything… everything's just… fixing the little stuff. You know, last year, it was new for everyone, you know. The inside and the outside guys. You know, it's different from playing a 4-I to an outside-in. soS you know, everything's the same. It might be a little more technical, but everyone's getting better.
Q: so, I mean, obviously, Brandon [Tuliaupupu] had the tough injury the other day. Tore his ACL. I mean, what does it… does it change things for you mentally knowing that there's not that guy behind you? I mean, the only guy behind you right now, I think, is Eli Ankou who was a defensive end until two practices ago.
SE: yeah, you know, injuries have been… you know, it's been an issue for us, but I mean, injuries are going to happen. You know, we can't do anything about that. We never know what's going to happen. Any one of us can get hurt on the field. The next Bruin just has to step up.
Q: I mean, this spring, you haven't had the opportunity to have, you know, you, Owa [Owamagbe Odighizuwa], and Cassius [Marsh] all playing. I mean, Owa's been out all spring. And then the depth behind you, you had a lot of injuries. Has that been an advantage in a certain way in that you guys been able to kind of grow a little bit more and, you know, play a lot more reps?
SE: the only advantage that has for me is I can get into better shape. Obviously, we want all our guys back. You know, the more guys we get healthy, the better it'll be for us during season. But, you know, I mean, better they get healthy now and be ready for season than get hurt later on. You know, it's tough in there, you know, being short in depth, but you just got to push through it.
Q: I mean, last year, I mean, it was kind of getting use to that tempo thing so you were tired after every practice. Now you feel, coming into the spring, maybe you were ready for the tempo? And then you have 5 guys on the defensive line.
SE: yeah, it's a little different now because you know what to expect.
SE: last year, it was like, "Okay. New coaching staff. We'll see how it goes." And then we just jumped right into it. It was tough. This year, we know what to expect. And so it wasn't as bad as it was last year. It wasn't a surprise.
Q: so you lost Datone [Jones] from last year. But, you know, you have Owa potentially coming back in the fall. What are your expectations for the defensive line as a whole? Do you think you guys can take a step up from how you played last year?
SE: yeah, I think that, you know… with Cassius on the outside, Cassius has been… he's been doing good. You know, he stepped up as a leader on the D-line. You know, being very vocal. And you know, Owa… Owa's … You just look at Owa, and you already know how strong Owa is. He's strong. He's fast. He just has to get healthy. And I feel once we get our whole D-line back and everyone is healthy, we're going to be, you know what I mean? It doesn't matter if the 1's are in or the 2's. Both strings will be fine in there and will get the job done.
Q: in terms of your comfort in the defense, I mean, last year it was a lot of getting used to, obviously paying a whole different defensive style. Do you feel like you guys are… I mean, as a whole, defense, ready to kind of take a leap this season?
SE: yeah, I think, you know… last year, we did, you know, pretty good as a defense. And that was our first year doing it. You know, we hadn't even been running that defense for a year. You know, last season. I feel, learning from last year, watching film from last year, and learning from all the mistakes we had, will make us better this year. We lost some good guys but we have a lot of young guys that are ready to come in and work and, you know, contribute to this team.
Q: where are you physically weight-wise right now?
SE: man, right now… man, I'm like heavier. I'm probably like 315 right now.
Q: oh, wow.
SE: yeah, so that's my goal right now. Is to drop down… come fall season, I want to be between 305 and 310.
Q: that's going to be some work isn't it?
Q: got some running to do?
SE: got to put in the work.
Q: do you think running with maybe 5 guys on the defensive line is gonna help with that?
SE: it helps for sure. You always in. You're always doing something.
VIDEO: Epenesa on Spring
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