UCLA Defensive Tackle Eli Ankou Embracing Looming Opportunity

Aug. 31 -- UCLA defensive tackle Eli Ankou spoke about the unit's improvement this fall, the challenge Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight presents and more...


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On if the A&M game will give an indication of the defense's ability to stop the run:

Absolutely. Yes it will. It will be really good for us. Texas A&M is a good team but if we do our job properly, we'll come out on top.

On if he's confident in the improvements:

Absolutely.  In the scheme, I think we play more for each other.  As a defensive lineman, my job is to be able to make plays but also make plays for the linebackers and DB's.  If I don't pressure the quarterback, the linebackers can't make plays and if they don't hold up their receivers, then the D-Line can't make their plays. It's a crossover in responsibility.

On if they have the depth on the defensive line:

Absolutely. Almost every single person in the defensive line room.

On if a game of this magnitude ups the excitement level:

It's always exciting to play football to me.  It will be a big stadium, and that's exciting, but I don't think the outside factors should affect us that much.  It's a football game, that's what we'll keep it.

On if it can erase the end of last season:

Honestly, I take every day as a new one. A clean slate, a clean season, I'm just ready to play football against these guys.

On going against a Mazzone offense:

It will be really weird, to say the least, but I'm excited, it's something I've seen for a while. I'd expect him to try something new, but I'm excited to see what will happen.

On what they focus on when watching Trevor Knight:

We focus on both. He's a good runner, he's an athletic quarterback and knows what he's doing.  We have to make sure to keep him in the pocket.

On if the crowd noise will affect them:

It's nice, but again, its like a bubble.  The football game is the bubble, the crowd noise is outside.  You tune it out.  It's a mental game.

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