UCLA Defensive End Takkarist McKinley Talks Defense Against Arizona

Oct. 2 -- UCLA defensive end Takkarist McKinley spoke about the team's performance against Arizona, his own personal contributions, playing through injury and more...


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On what has changed with the defense:

It's just a mindset. Last year we couldn't stop the run. Each play we go up there and stop the run, we send our passrushers out there to get sacks. It's pretty much game planning. If we can contain quarterbacks and force them to pass the ball, we can be successful. 

On how close to 100% he is:

I don't really know, I'm in treatment every day, twice a day, and then playing my heart out on Saturday.


On just being out there:

Its a great feeling. A lot I can improve on. You just have to play through the pain.

On if he's playing through pain because of his impact:

I'm doing it for me, for the team, for my future. At the end of the day, its great to win games, but I also want to play at the next level. So a groin is not going to stop me. I give my all and just take it from there.

On how much last years struggles in stopping the run drives them:

Last year was last year. We knew we had problems stopping the run but this year is a new year. Going to next year, a new year.

On if he feels the pain during the play or after

Its pretty much pain every play, but nothing I can do about it. When I'm on the field, I'm not about excuses, I just play through it, walk it out and try and get sacks.  Adrenaline works as well.

On if they've met the challenges of opposing offenses the past few weeks:

We didn't get a W last week. Our game plan was to stop McCaffrey and see if they had someone else. We did a pretty good job but we didn't get the W, that's why it was important to get the W today, it's Pac-12 play, our goal is to win the Pac-12, so each game from here on out matter.

On his positional versatility:

I love it. This year I'm more outside and can use my speed and athletic ability. Coach Bradley finds ways to move me all over the place, get free and make plays.

On losing a dread before the game:

Oh my. RIP to the dread. It just fell out. I can't explain it. I went to the bathroom, came back, looked on the ground, and the dread was on the ground. Pray for me. 

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