UCLA LB Coach Scott White Talks Linebacker Play, Mique Juarez

Sept. 27 -- UCLA linebackers coach Scott White commented on the play of starters Jayon Brown and Kenny Young, the defensive effort and the latest with freshman Mique Juarez...

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On the defensive improvements:

You always want to stop the run first. Seeing what they're doing, how they'll attack you and formulating a game plan and centering it around that, that's been a big emphasis for us.

On where they've improved:

Overall execution. It hasn't been a schematic thing, it hasn't been a personnel thing, it's execution overall. We can't play for you, it's all about execution and that's where they've done a really nice job.


On Jayon Brown's jump this year:

It's night and day with him.  He's a leader, a captain. Last year at this time, he was just breaking into the lineup.  Myles went down in game three or four and Jayon was still transitioning from a backup role to a frontline role. It's a 180 this year.  He has complete control, complete command of the defense.  Quarterbacking from the linebacker standpoint. He's been fantastic and elevated his game. For him, it's taking the next step, reaching higher. He's never satisfied and we're expecting another big game from him this week.

On Kenny Young:

He's been doing a great job. Kenny has made a huge improvement from the offseason. Trevor Moewad has made a huge difference with him. It's never been physical with Kenny. He owns the defense more than ever. He knows what's going on around him. That's the uniqueness of the linebacker position and he knows that now at an all-time high, that's why you're seeing him play faster and be more decisive and more of a playmaker. He's playing his ass off right now.

On rotating Young with Isaako Savaiinaea:

I think that's always going to help guys. Anytime you have that competition, you have somebody breathing down your neck, it's going to force you to be assertive and be on your job. Isaac is like another starter for us.  He's played a lot of football for us and a guy we count on.  Isaac is a guy you can put him in and he'll be in there ready to play. 

On how Trevor Moewad has helped Kenny Young:

Just with the mental approach more so than anything and being focused on what the task at hand is. There were times where he had stuff going on in his personal life and it would carryover. And I think that's why he wasn't able to grasp the concepts. He hasn't owned the defense like he has this year. And that's the biggest difference, the mental approach.

On Lokeni Toailoa:

He's been a monster on special teams for us. He was the special teams player of the game for us in Week Three. He's been lights out on special teams. He's getting a lot of valuable reps for us and we could put him in at mike linebacker and we wouldn't have a dropoff.

On special teams play:

I think it's been good. I think our coverage phases have been good. We're a little inconsistent in the return phases, we've got to get that up. We have to get our punt return game really going. We haven't had a ton of success. We have to shore that up.  Our coverage phase has been strong, we have to get more consistency in the return phase. 

On if there could be a change at returner:

We're always mixing the guys up at practice. Always looking for who will be the most trustworthy. We talk about ball security and making great decisions back there. Not always looking for a huge returns, but controlling our yards and protecting the football.

On Kenny Young's comfort level:

He's more comfortable and more confident. And he's playing one position. Last year, with the injuries, it was musical chairs for those guys. So we've taken some of that off of him and he's playing his best football since he got here, no question.

On Mique Juarez's potential return:

There is a plan in place. He's in class. He'll meet with Coach Mora later this week. The contents of that meeting, thats a better question for Coach Mora, but there is a plan in place. The plan hasn't changed at all. The plan was for him to always be back with us. He was never going to walk away. He's always been with us, been in contact with us throughout the process of the last seven weeks. At the end of the day, this thing is bigger than football. We're talking about a young man here, we want to make sure he's ok as a person more than Mique the football player. I told him I'd take care of the football part for him, that he made sure he was ok.


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