UCLA Linebacker Kenny Young Talks Defensive Maturity

Aug. 30 -- UCLA middle linebacker Kenny Young spoke about the defensive improvements during camp, facing Texas A&M, one of his top choices coming out of high school, and more...


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On how they stop A&M's offense:

Stick to our assignments.  The thing thats good for us, we do it right and play together, no one can stop us. It's doing your assignment.

On how the defense has improved:

A lot, improved a lot since spring ball. We've reiterated the small things and mastered the basics so at game time, we're all ready to go.

On how many fans he'll have at the A&M game:

I'll have half of Louisiana.  They're all coming. It's only like six hours away. They're all coming to support me.

On if A&M was in the mix for him:

They were. The tail end of my recruiting process it was shaky, I was supposed to go there. They were one of my top contenders. But they were up there.

On visiting A&M for an official visit:

I fell in love with it, honestly, but my biggest thing was my parents weren't there, so a young kid going to Texas for the first time, understanding the gimmicks of recruiting, you're gonna be the star of the team, it was sketchy for me because I'm not naive, but it was a good experience and one of my best officials and I loved the Aggie ring. But it doesn't matter, I'm happy here at UCLA.  The recruiting process is over with.  Any team I told I was coming, it doesn't matter.

On having three weeks to prepare for A&M without school:

It's awesome.  It gets us to focus on football and get our minds away from school. It helps in the long run, when school starts, its an easy process. It's not a hard adjustment. The previous years, its always worked for me. 

On what he does with the extra time until school starts:

I do recovery, spend a lot of time with the coaches, study my playbook and spend time with the guys and eat.

On if being on the quarter system helps at UCLA:

By far. I was talking to some of my friends at LSU and other schools on the semester, and they like it, but how they explained it to me, I wouldn't like it.  Guys can focus on football and A&M and for the next 2-3 games, it will be like that. It helps us that school starts later in the year.

On who got to simulate Myles Garrett in practice:

I don't know man.  I don't pay attention. I come out here, focus on the game plan, win reps. We don't worry about Myles Garrett, that isn't our (the defense's) concern. We worry about us. Do your job and everything takes care of itself.

On what makes Conor McDermott so good:

Conor is a guy that is Josh Rosen couldn't speak, if he was just a quarterback who just had a brain and could throw the ball, Conor is that guy you want at your blindside. Reason why, he has great fit, lift and arms, smart and disciplined.  Has very good height and you can trust him. He's not about him first.  He does his assignment, protects his quarterback and is a team player. That's one thing I've learned about the older guys.  Some of the guys in the past, they worry about the big picture and do what they have to, to take care of the team. I try to beat him after the edge, but we shake hands and love after practice. He's who you want at left tackle for your team.

On if he and Isaako Savaainaea have gotten indicators of who will start inside:

No, but me and Isaako don't worry about that. We really don't.  My biggest thing is to go out and give 100% and if we do our jobs right, we let the coaches decide. But we know us two can get the job done. Its a team game, not tennis. Whoever the starter is, we can play ball, from start to finish, overtime, four quarters, and get this team a W, that is the ultimate goal.  Competition is competition. He does his part, I do my part and we make it hard for the coaches to decide.

On a reunion with Noel Mazzone:

A reunion? Like I said, it's not about coaches or players, its about UCLA football.  

On if it helps to know what Mazzone has run:

Definitely. I'll be watching film and say 'he's running this play right here' and sure enough, he runs that play I picked.  That's part of the game. But he's not dumb. He's a smart guy, he's not 'I've been there a bunch of years, lets run this play they've seen 1,000 times'.  We have to be feasible and understand it.  Just play ball.

On the run defense improvement:

They physicality, the mindset as a team. We've all grown in that area tremendously.  The previous offensive coordinator was a lot of sideline to sideline, but now its tackle to tackle, hardmouth football and emphasizing fits. Its helped against the big time teams or against spread teams like this week. That helps us in winning the ball game.

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