Nate Starks Talks About Mental Conditioning Consultant

Aug. 11 -- Junior running back Nate Starks talked about how UCLA has brought in a Director of Mental Conditioning, and he says it has dramatically changed the atmosphere and mindset of the program...

Nate Starks talked about fall camp Thursday, and about a new Director of Mental Conditioning, Trevor Moawad.

Background on Trevor Moawad

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On the running backs:

We’ve got a lot of different styles of backs in the room, young guys who run well.

On each of the backs:

Bolu is a bowling ball type running back.  I have both, power and speed.  Soso is real finesse.  Makes a lot of moves in open space.  A lot of different styles on the table.

On if they compliment each other: 

Oh yeah, definitely. I think our styles compliment each other very well. It’s going to be hard for defenses to stop our running game.

On the offense compared to last year: 

It’s awesome. I just know that Coach Polamalu is going to have us ready for that next level. A lot of defenses, like I said, aren’t going to be ready for our styles of running.

On their comfort level:

I think we’re very comfortable with it. We’re very comfortable with each other as well. We’ve got a guy like Trevor that’s around now. We’re more of a team now. Everyone has more respect for each other.  We’re making each other better.

On being more of a team:

I guess it was just more cliquey before and a lot of guys would just come out here and just say, “I’m going to get me,” and do their own thing. But everybody’s coming together as a team, everybody’s holding each other accountable on the field. If somebody’s doing something wrong, they’re going to tell them and that guy’s going to listen, and we’re going to come together as a team. We have one goal, and that’s just to go all the way this year.

On what changed:

I think it’s Trevor (Moawad). Having a guy like Trevor come in and really sit us down. Everybody had to look around and say, “these are my brothers, these are the guys that we’re going to be fighting with all year.” You’ve just got to respect those guys and have full trust in them in that we’re all going to do our jobs and get it done.

On when Moawad came into the program:

I think he came in at the end of spring.

On Moawad’s responsibility:

He’s our mental coach, he takes care of the mental part of the game. We’ve got Alosi as our strength and conditioning coach, and he just takes care of our mental side.

On if it was easy to buy in:

Yeah. He’s worked with many teams. He has a whole bunch of examples, the teams he’s worked with. Alabama, he’s worked with guys like Trent Richardson and Russell Wilson and Cam Newton, and a whole bunch of different guys. The mental part of the game, it’s important to be mentally healthy throughout the season.  That’s a big part of the game.

On if he addresses the team individually or as a team:

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It’s always as a whole. We come in the team meeting room, and he’s the first one to speak to us. He’ll say different things every day. He had us the other day sit next to a guy that you don’t really talk to that much on the team, and get to know them better, and just let them know that you’re going to hold them accountable if you see them doing something wrong on the field. Things like that are bringing us closer together as a team.

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