UCLA RB Brandon Stephens Happy To Contribute As True Freshman

Nov. 23 -- UCLA true freshman Brandon Stephens spoke about his role in the running back rotation and assessed how he has fared in his first season in the program...

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On how they’re approaching this week:

We approach this week as any other week and still have another game on our schedule., The approach is the same. Nothing else has changed as far as preparation goes.

On if the energy is comparable to other games:

We practiced today and the energy level was pretty high. I didn’t see any guys with their heads down or guys already checked out. The energy is the same it has been throughout the season.

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On Cal’s run defense:

They’re some plays we’ll exploit with them with but as a running backs group, we have to hit the holes and get those dirty three or four yards.

On how he’s integrated himself in the running back rotation:

With Bolu, Soso and Nate, they’ve done a good job of leading on and off the field to Jalen and I. We’ve competed in games and showed we belong on the field. It’s fun to get in there and be productive for the team.

On if there was a plan for them to get more playing time:

I’m not quite sure what the plan was, playing time is never for sure, you have to compete for that.

On his nickname “Bunny”:

Bunny Stephens. Bolu is the one who made that up. I’m the skipper so that’s why they call me bunny. It’s pretty cool. I’m not saying it’s my favorite nickname but it’s alright.

On the stretch where he didn’t play much:

There was a stretch and it’s difficult to see your team losing and you can’t help, but I’d rather see us win than be selfish about playing time.

On what he learned:

Learning as a running backs group on what they did good as a group and it’s all about mental reps. It’s a learning process for sure.

On the biggest thing he’s learned from high school:

In high school, it was never watching the safety rotation so picking up the blocking scheme is where I’ve really excelled since training camp

On the pass from Jordan Lasley:

I was open for a while. When he threw it, I was looking at the ball in my periphery and was like ‘hurry up’.  He said he couldn’t see me. I saw him but I don’t know why he couldn’t see me.

On the running back rotation:

I’m not really worried about playing time, it’s all up to Coach P as the running backs coach. We’re just competing. Trying to do what’s best for the team. If it means all five us play, than all five us play. If it’s limited reps, than it’s limited reps. At the end of the day, we just want to win.

On their growth as a unit:

We’re for sure growing and have grown so much since camp. Our chemistry has increased over the weeks. We just have to prepare this week as any other week and focus on beating Cal.

On if he’d like to go to a bowl game:

I’m not worry about the bowl game, if we have one, we have one, but it’s all about Cal right now.


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