UCLA DT Eddie Vanderdoes Antsy to Return to Game Action

Aug. 24 -- UCLA defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes spoke Tuesday about his anticipation for the season opener, what he looks for in opponents and more...


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On how he feels:

I feel great right now.  Each week I'm feeling better and better. I feel like my technique is coming back, my get off, my knowledge of the game, my stamina.  I'm feeling good now. We have a lot of room to improve before the first game.

On if he had rust:

The first week and a half, yeah.  The first week and a half, I had rust, first time back practicing and in pads in a year.  But right now I'm finding my groove, my technique, my confidence, my pass rush is better.

On what he looks for on film in game prep:

Stances, honestly. I'll read the stances and formation.  I haven't seen Trevor Knight play yet.  But sometimes quarterbacks will give it away with their stances.  Just getting back to reading stances like I did for the Virginia game and I think it helped me and Kenny last year and told us everything we needed to know if the guards were pulling or not.

On if familiarity with the Mazzone offense helps in preparation:

I loved Coach Mazzone. We had a great relationship when he was here.  We've faced his offense for four years now. That helps us as a defense. He's going to come out with some new stuff. He's savvy when it comes to changing things, schemes player, so expect to see stuff we haven't seen. He's a smart guy. To call the same stuff we've seen for four years in practice, he knows better than that. 

On if he'll miss having a role in his offense:

Hell yeah, of course.  I'd love to shoot him a text and ask who's his new panda. But now I know when we get on 3rd and short at the goal line, to yell 'Panda, Panda, Panda' and I'll know who the ball goes to.

On if they change the way they practice once it gets close to game week:

Tuesday and Wednesday we go and practice. Practice probably won't be as long, focusing on A&M than on each other. So practice time will go down, and physicality will go down through the week, but Tuesday and Wednesday, we'll get up.

On if he feels as good pre-injury:

I feel great. The first week and a half, I had scar tissue, which I expected and was told I'd have.  So I had a little stiffness and soreness and pain, but as the week has gone on, I feel better and better. My knee is 1,000 times better. I really trust it. It's not going to re-tear.

On if it was hard to get confidence in his knee:

A little bit. When you're out for a whole year.  You've been hurt and try not to think about it.  Its naturally in the back of your mind. But whatever happens happens.  

On if he'll use a knee brace:

I'll wear it for fall camp. Not because of issues, but because it's the most physical time, they want it for all camp. I'll see next week when I see the doctor if he wants me in it or not.

On the defense against the run in camp:

I thought we did really well, made a lot of improvement in the run game. I see it on film, I see the confidence on our defensive line.  Knowing what's about to happen as far as the plays. We've definitely improved and we'll hopefully see that next week, in Scout team and preparing for Texas A&M.

On their own running backs:

Nate Starks is Nate Starks, he's a great running back and has stepped up since Paul Perkins left. He can run you over, shift, he's quick, knows how to find the whole. Soso (Jamabo) is a finesse back, very smart when it comes to hitting holes, very shifty. Bolu (Olurunfunmi) is our big back, runs through guys. Jalen Starks is a big back, 270?  He'll be a goal line back. He's definitely a load. Like Brandon Jacobs.  And Brandon Stephens, I like him a lot. Watching him play, he's very shifty.

On if being away has him more excited for the season:

Absolutely. My mentality is different. It was never bad, but you go in with a different mindset. Going into practice, I'm getting my reps back, getting better, doing what I love. I look forward to each practice we have closer and closer to game time.


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