Ebell: "I'm More Confident"

Starting tailback <b>Tyler Ebell</b> talks about the difference a year makes, new running backs coach Eric Bieniemy, playing with Maurice Drew, and having to always make up for being the little guy...

From fifth on the depth chart when the season started a year ago, to the freshman rushing record at UCLA, a Freshman All-American season and plenty of other honors, Tyler Ebell now has a hold on the starting tailback position UCLA. He talks about moving up the depth chart, playing with Maurice Drew, and his connection to another great Bruin who also played at Ventura High.

BRO: Obviously, a different mindset for you from last year. Last year you were trying to have them see you, this year you're a starter, so the attitude is I am sure different. But what has the biggest difference been for you?

Ebell: "I'm just more confident and I am always going to work hard. Coach Bieniemy, he always instills a lot of drive and hard work, and I think he is going to be good, and I think he is going to help this program for a long time."

BRO: What's been the biggest difference between Coach Toledo and Coach Dorrell?

Ebell: "Coach Dorrell's a perfectionist, to put it in one word. Little things, he really expresses that. I think there is a lot more discipline around here."

BRO: Last year, you're not really utilized for teh first three games. In the San Diego State game, you get a couple chances in the fourth quarter, then in the Oregon State game you go off,and you end up six yards short of 1,000 yards, a second team Freshman All-American and Pac-10 pick. What does that do for you going into this season?

Ebell: "I know what's going on, and what to look forward too and I am not going to be surprised by anything now. Just more focused than last year."

BRO: What was the one thing you felt you needed to work on, and improve on going into this season?

Ebell: "My speed and strength."

BRO: You spend two years learning one system, now you have to learn another one. Has it been tough to learn it?

Ebell: "Naw, I think I have picked up on it. It's pretty simple, yet complex. I am doing good at it, but I am studying a lot."

BRO: You're on the covers of magazine, you're getting attention. At one point, you thought about transferring. That's a big change...

Ebell: "Yeah, you know it helps the confidence level, at the same time, you have to be on your toes at all time, and be a leader of the team, and in public, you know, act right all the time."

BRO: You're a smaller back, but you showed what a little guy could do last year.

Ebell: "Yeah, I think I always have something to prove. Every day, every practice. You know, every day you always have to prove something to somebody."

BRO: When you played at Ventura, you were the focal point of your offense. In college, can you take the 25-30 carries again?

Ebell: "Yeah, I'd like to carry the load. I'd like the defense to focus on me, because that allows the rest of the offense to make big plays."

BRO: Coach Bieniemy is loud and in your face. What's it been like for the running backs to have Coach Bieniemy here, for those who were with the former coaching staff?

Ebell: "He's had a big impact on me on my focus and outlook. He's a little guy like me, and he stresses the little thing and to be a perfectionist. He knows what he's talking about because he's done it."

BRO: And he obviously was able to do a good job at Colorado.

Ebell: "Yeah, I could see why they did well. They had the talent, and Coach Bieniemy gets the work out of you. You need someone to push you."

BRO: Maurice Drew comes in as the next running back. What's your relationship been like?

Ebell: "Oh, we're real cool. We're friends, we're teammates. We're both in the same backfield, and I help him out. But we're still in competition, you know, we compete with everyone else, besides Maurice. There's Akil (Harris), Manuel (White), Jason Harrison, Derrick Williams, we have a talented backfield."

BRO: How bummed were you that you came up six yards short last season of 1,000?

Ebell: "It didn't bother me. It would have been nice, but it's okay. We have a new season coming up and another chance."

BRO: The last great player to come from Ventura High, was also a Bruin, Eric Turner, and you used to train with him on occasion, and looked up to him. What's that mean for you, for that Cougar-Bruin connection?

Ebell: "It's kind of unique that myself, I came from Ventura, and so did he. You know, he had a great career here, and in the NFL, and that's where I am trying to get. He was a great player, so it's cool we both played at Ventura and UCLA."

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