VIDEO: Duarte on Playing Time

Thomas Duarte talks about his playing time so far this season and how he sees his role expanding this year and next...

Thomas Duarte on his role:


On his season so far:
It's been going great, it's everything I'd hoped it would be and more. Really getting out on the field a whole lot, contributing like I wanted to. It's just a blast out there, I'm having a lot of fun.

On if his playing time expectations have been met:
Definitely. The speed of the game is what I thought it would be. The opponents we play are high-caliber opponents. It's that challenge I wanted.

On making guys miss on the edge:
I feel like that's where I belong, coming out of the backfield or even at slot receiver. Or even outside. But definitely, that's where I think I belong.

On how far he feels he is from where he wants to be:
There is definitely always room for improvement. I'm still learning, I'm still growing. I'm still maturing into the football player I want to be. Definitely from when I first got here until now, I've improved a lot. I'm not going to say the coaches gave me all the time they're giving me, but I've earned it.

On what specifically he needs to improve on:
Definitely my open-field blocking. Definitely work on that. Just getting my hips around, moving my feet around, staying active. And then when the play isn't to my side or I don't get the ball, always find ways to help my teammates get more yards.

On his comfort level with the offense:
I'm very comfortable with the whole scheme of things. One thing Coach Mora preaches is you have to be comfortable in an uncomfortable environment so every time we come out here and practice, nobody is ever comfortable. You're always competing, you're always working and competing against your own teammates. It's really brought an energy to UCLA. So I wouldn't say I'm too comfortable but I'm always improving.

On if he'll see more of an expanded receiver role:
They said it's more of a, as I progress, as I learn the offense, and just pick everything up, pick up the scheme of things, that's when they'll insert me more here and there.


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