Video: Kenny Young Talks Linebacker Rotation

Aug. 8 -- Junior linebacker Kenny Young spoke about the start of UCLA Fall Camp, his offseason progression and more...

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Kenny:

Competition is competition, you know. You come to camp. Camp is a great time to showcase what you have, what you’ve been working on—what you’ve been working on in the off-season. Competition is just competition. For me, I really don’t worry about it. I just go out and play 100% because that’s all you can really control and the rest will take care of itself. As in anything—you work hard and do what you gotta do, and it should be hard for someone to take your spot.

Media:

As far as you know, are they naming anyone as a starter?

Kenny:

I started today, but me and Isaak’s gonna rotate, and whoever wins it wins the spot, but you know, things are gonna happen. Well, you get to season, and like last year things just hit the table—we had like eight starters, and midway throughout the season we had like four starters. You know how things play out. For me, I just study all the linebacker positions because that’s important for me as a main linebacker and a guy there should be versatile to help our defense and eventually get us to the championship.

Media:

There was a big emphasis after the bowl game about getting bigger and stronger. Have you added weight or done that at all?

Kenny:

For sure, for sure. That was one of my biggest things—to gain a little bit more weight, do a little bit more recovery. Because once you get into the season, your body just wears down, that’s a natural thing that happens. So a big thing that I tried to do this year, going into my third year, was just getting more recovery and having more of a mental mindset because physically you can do anything you want. Physically, I can run sideline-to-sideline but you know, make sure that once I run my course throughout the game, that I’m recovering so I can come back on the racetrack, just like you do in NASCAR. So that’s the mindset I take with it. I think the other guys have been growing in areas that they need to grow in from last year because honestly I feel like last year we ended off—I ended off—with a bad taste in my mouth from the season. And I’m at a point now, where like in high school, there was no losing one or two games. And I feel like we’re at this point now where it’s time to take things up to the next level. It’s time to win the Pac-12 South. That’s the ultimate goal. That’s all I want to talk about. Is winning the Pac-12 South. And then, you know, we can get things started from there because one or two games is frustrating, man, especially for me because I’m a hard competitor. So I don’t like to be one or two games short and be like, “Ah we should’ve done this, we should’ve done that.” Nah, fix it right now, so we don’t have to worry about things down the line. So that’s my mindset, and for sure, I feel like the defense and offense are ________ the first practice with a championship mindset so it’s a great start.

Media:

You talked about improving your recovery. How do you do that?

Kenny:

Well, you listen to your body. For me, I have…I guess a “genetic” for my back to tighten up, every now and then, like when I’m lifting heavily or when you go two-a-days or something like that. For me, it’s always finding something to do. Like right now, I know I gotta work on something. We just did ice stuff, so I know I’m gonna stretch or get DMS on my back, just something. Because you always have to stay on top of it. You don’t want to wait until you get sore to start doing recovery, you want to start now so if it’s a knick and knack, it’s easy to take care of. So that’s my mindset as far as recovery.

Media:

As a linebacker, how nice is it to see Eddie Vanderdoes lined up in front of you guys?

Kenny:

Man, we gonna win a lot of games with this fella. He’s a little over 300 pounds. He can move, can play really well. Really strong. You don’t find many guys like Eddie V., so it’s just a blessing to have him back because I know how it felt before he had got hurt. You know, it’s just adding to the toolbox of the defense. And I think we have a lot of special talent. Like the D-line, the linebackers, and the DBs. As you felt, the energy today—it was pretty great. So having Eddie V. back is a lot of help on the backups and a lot of help on himself, too, to give him breaks to come back in the 4th, 3rd quarters and you know, dominate like he was in the first half. So having Eddie V. back is definitely a great thing.

Media:

How much weight did you put on in the off-season?

Kenny:

I wanna say I estimated about four to five pounds? I don’t wanna do 10 pounds because then I lose my ability to move sideline-to-sideline. I always like to feel loose. I’m like that player that…I don’t like to play from tackle to tackle. Ball’s thrown deep, I want to be the one to make the tackle first. So just about four pounds to handle the 9-on-7s like we’ve handled this year, playing for the teams like the Stanfords—the big-time pounding teams. But I handle those battles in the trenches, being physical and playing hard every single play. That’s not just me making that contribution to myself, the team has done it as well—the whole defense has done it as well. Like I said, we left the season with a bad taste in our mouths. We remember what it was like to lose in a bowl game; we know for sure we shouldn’t have lost that game. Everybody did a little bit here and there to get where we need to be, and obviously for me, it was gaining a couple pounds.

Media:

You’re happy with your current weight, though?

Kenny:

Yes, yes. I want to stay around 235 or 230. Around in that range. That’s perfect for me.

Media:

In terms of what you did in the weight room this off-season, was it a lot different than last summer? Was it a different schedule?

Kenny:

Yes, it was. Actually, we lifted four times this summer, and we ran five times. You know, we’ve never done that since Coach Mora’s been here and Coach Alosi, they’ve never done that before. So I felt like with me sleeping well and eating well—I was changing my diet a whole lot—and getting rest at night…I think that helped me to be able to maintain another workout after we had just finished with another two-hour workout, and I noticed that change in my body. I think that the way the coaches put things together for us to get stronger and to get more flexible or whatever it is that needs to be done, I think it was done, and I think the guys approached it right. We took it upon ourselves to put the things back into our bodies that we needed to go out and take the next workout.

Media:

You said “four to five times,” and that’s per week?

Kenny:

Yes. We would run Monday through Friday. And Monday through Thursday, we would lift. And it’s never been like that. Usually it was Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, or something like that. It was off. But it was perfect—the way they had it set up this year. And the guys felt it, and the coaches loved it also.

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