Marcedes Lewis: "This is Fun"

Coming to UCLA as the #-ranked tight end prospect in the country a year ago, <b>Marcedes Lewis</b> is having a break-out fall camp. He talks about the new offense, the new coaching staff, basketball, and how the quarterbacks seem to look for him on every play...

Spending time behind All-Pac 10 pick Mike Seidman as a true freshman last season, sophomore Marcedes Lewis is poised for a breakout year, and has had an excellent fall camp. He talks about his role in the offense, his chemistry with a certain quarterback, the guidance of Seidman, and giving up basketball -- for now.

BRO: The last few years, the tight end has been a glorified linemen, and rarely a receiver. This year, they seem to have incorporated more passes to the tight end. You ready to see the ball more?

Lewis: "It's funny, last year, I thought the same thing, but I really wanted to wait and see. But then the coaches didn't really use us. This year, Coach Dorrell is really making it a point to get the ball to the tight end, and it's great to know that on every play, you could get the ball.."

BRO: And it looks like the quarterbacks are looking for you on every play...

Lewis: "Yeah. This is fun. It's really fun. I'm very excited about the season, and just have to keep doing what I'm doing in practice."

BRO: What's been the biggest difference in attitude from the Toledo years, to now with Coach Dorrell's staff?

Lewis: "Attitude. Everyone is pretty optimistic. Coach Dorrell is a leader, and we knew that when he stepped on the field for the first time. Everybody here wants to win and Coach Dorrell has the characteristics to win, and everything he says, we believe in him."

BRO: Basketball takes you into late March, and your football teammates are already working out, and you come in a few months late. Was it a rude awakening for you?

Lewis: "You know, it wasn't really a rude awakening for me. I'm not a stranger to hard work, but I knew it was going to take me a couple of weeks. Eventually I got in football shape. I'm good right now. I'm working out and we're working hard as a team, and I'm going to be ready on September 6th."

BRO: You played with Matt Moore in the (2002) Shrine Game, and in that week in practice and then in that game, you could tell you guys had some chemistry. And you and Drew have been able to work well together. What's it like working with a quarterback who can get it to the tight end?

Lewis: "Both of them are real good. I like working with both of them. Both of them smile when they call the play in the huddle and it's going my way. I've worked with Matt a lot more and he knows to get it to me."

BRO: Being 6-7, you're used to towering over the tackles, but now you're next to Ed Blanton, and he's towering over you. A little weird to be looking up to a tackle now?

Lewis: (laughing) "It's funny, but it's good to have those big guys there to help me out. If I need help, Ed and Steve are there to help me. We help each other. There is a lot of pressure coming to the outsides, so we have to be able to pick up that pressure."

BRO: Coming in last year, you were the #1 tight end in the country out ofhigh school, and you played behind Mike Seidman. How much influence did Mike have on you?

Lewis: "Oh man, a tremendous influence. When I came in, Mike was wanting to be the man at tight end, but he took me under his wing, showed me how to play, how to block. He helped me adjust, since I came in as the so-called top tight end, he was there too, so he knew the pressure. I learned from him the intangibles as a tight end. What I didn't know then, I know now and learned it from Mike."

BRO: When you came in, you were the only guy from your class at Poly that ended up at UCLA. Now you have Junior Lemau'u and Kevin Brown, plus Dennis Link, a couple more Poly guys. You taking Junior and Kevin under your wing?

Lewis: "Those guys who went to SC are still my boys. They know not to talk a lot to me about the game, because we are all homies. But yeah, it's cool to have a couple more Poly boys here."

BRO: You were let in to the Maurice Drew secret in a loud way a couple of years ago. Now he is in your backfield. Did he try and tease you about that game between De La Salle and Poly? Lewis: "Naw, Maurice is real good and real cool about that. He knows we are teammates now. He is doing a great job this year, and he is catching on real quick."

BRO: Recently, you decided to give up basketball and focus on football. Was it tough to give that up and seeing what you could do for Coach (Ben) Howland?

Lewis: Yeah, it was. Basketball is one of my loves. I have been playing for a long time. But I needed to focus on football. When Coach Howland came, I was set to not play, but then he told me he wanted to use me a lot, that I was a player who would do well in his system, being big and physical. But I had to do what was best for me, and focus on my studies and on football. But the door isn't closed. Maybe next year, I'll go back. Coach Howland left the door open for me."

BRO: It's been bandied about for a while now. Any chance we see you on defense?

Lewis: No, none (laughing). I am a tight end. Maybe next year, when I have a year of the offense under my belt, I'll play over there, but they got some good guys on defense and don't need me. I'll do my job on offense. I have enough to learn about being a tight end."

BRO: How big is the Colorado game, not just for the season, but for the coaching staff?

Lewis: Oh, Colorado is real big. Basically, we all have something to prove. The players because what they did to us last year, the coaches because some coached there. Plus, we want to help Coach Dorrell get off to a good start. That game sets the tone for the season."

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