Did you think you had to prove something, is that why you came returned for your senior year?
To a point. I thought I had something to prove. School was good. And I knew we were going to have a good team, too. I'm having fun here. The League is not going anywhere."
Has your running style changed or evolve since you were a freshman?
"It's just experience now. I know who's coming off blocks. I can read defenses better. Little things like that. I can press a hole a little more because I know the tackles will get off to them. It helps out when you have the experience, rather than just going out there and trying to run."
Do you like being given the ball so much at the beginning of the game?
"It loosens you up a little bit. You might be nervous. It's good to get a couple of carries, feel fluid, see what they're trying to do to stop us, and open up the passing game."
What are you trying to accomplish early in the game?
"I'm really not looking for big runs early in the game, just trying to hit holes. Get four yards, so the defense can close in on me. So, if we do play-action right after that, they'll close on me and we can go over the top. Or like a reverse. I don't try to cut back too much early in the game. If I see it, I'll take it, but usually I try to just hit the hole and go from there."
Do you like the fact that UCLA is running the ball more so far this season?
"We've always run the ball. I'm getting all the carries right now, but we've always run the ball here, in Coach Toledo's offense."
A few years ago, UCLA was known as a wide-open passing team…
"Well, we had Cade. You go to your strength. Cory Paus is our quarterback and he's going to get it done for us. We came in together, in the same recruiting class, but he's a junior and he's coming along, too, but I've been here and been doing it. So I'm trying to take the leadership role."
Are you always trying to break a big run?
"You always want to break a long run, but I've found out that early you can't be looking for it. You just have to hit it. You just have to keep hitting that rock. You keep hitting that rock and eventually it will break. As long as I keep hitting it up in there a big one will come along."
The offensive philosophy has been to use you to open up the offense so far…
"It's good that we're able to set up everything with the run. Everything so far this year is keying off itself. We set up the run, then the pass opens up, and reverses…Cory's started off slow a little bit, like for the Alabama game, but he picked it up this game. It's just easy to run the ball."
Have you been hit hard yet this year?
"Not really. There was a third and one in the Kansas game. Number eight hit me. But that's about the hardest hit I've taken."
Having been injured a number of times during your career, do you think about it?
"I try not to think about getting hurt. Getting hurt comes with the game and that's it."
What do you think about the performance of your offensive line so far? Have they improved from last year?
"They're retty much the same guys from last year, but two guards changed. I feel confidence in them. They're doing a great job. Everything is just experience. When you've been in there and done it, it starts to become natural to you. You're not thinking as much anymore. It's good that we have two returning tackles that can help out the new guards. And the center is a senior, and he can lead the line. He makes all the calls down there and helps out."
What's Cory Paus like in the huddle?
"Cory's funny in the huddle. He's calling the plays and it's third and one and he says, ‘Oh, guys, we need this.' He's always giving a speech. He keeps us motivated. Cory's just a fun guy."
You broke your finger in the game last year against Arizona State. Do you remember how it happened?
"It was an off-tackle play. I got through the line, and I made a move on the guy, a straight arm. If I would have gotten past him I would have been gone. And when I went to straight-arm it got stuck in his helmet and it kind of pulled and that's when I heard it pop. It was against Al Williams."
What do you think about the Heisman hype you're getting now?
"It's okay. I'm just here to play games. I'm not trying to get caught up in all that. It's good that it's happening but you have to play hard and do well, and as long as we're winning games...
When you were younger, you used to mention winning the Heisman…
"Maturity makes a big difference. When you're young, that's the type of stuff you're thinking about. Coming out of high school, you watch the Heisman race all the time. You want to be a part of it. But I remember Cade wasn't talking about it all the time. So, experience does something. Being around Cade when he didn't say much about it, I learned. If it happens, it happens."
Do you feel you need to get a certain amount of carries each week?
"No. It's good to see other guys get in there and get a chance to play. Akil, Manuel, and Kenny got in this week, too. They practice just as much as I do. With a victory like that, it's not always about stats. I've learned that. Maybe when I was younger I would have thought about it, but I've learned it's not all about that. We got the win and I get to play next week."