Steve Vieira: "I Love Playing Tackle"

Junior offensive lineman <b>Steve Vieira</b> makes the jump from starting right guard to the storied UCLA position of starting left tackle. He talks about the move, his teammates, the new coaches, and the team's prospects...

After starting at right guard the past two seasons, Steve Vieira moves to left tackle, to take the spot vacated by Bryce Bohlander. He talks about moving to the left side, playing tackle and lining up next to Eyoseph Efseaff.

BRO: Is left tackle coming a little easier for you now that you have had all summer and some practices to get ready for it?

Vieira: "I wouldn't say easy. It's coming along. (offensive line) coach Mark Weber and (offensive coordinator and) coach Steve Axman have been working with me on my pass sets. That's where I've had the most trouble. Not the plays, not the run blocking but the pass sets. But it's coming along and I am doing better. It's a slow process, but it's working its way around to being complete."

BRO: Would you rather be at guard, or is tackle fine with you?

Vieira: "I love playing tackle, that's what I came here to play. Things happened where I had to play guard and it got me on the field, but the situation came where I had to play tackle and I jumped right in and I am trying to make the best of it."

BRO: You and Eyoseph (Efseaff) are now starting for the third year, so you have some experience. Will that make you guys that much better on the left side?

Vieira: "Eyo is a student of the game. It's been great to work with him. When we came in, we were working on the right side as tackle and guard with the scout team, but now we switched. I love working with him, we are compatible, we know how to read each other, and we can work well together and that's almost my favorite reason being on the left side is working with him over there."

BRO: UCLA has always had great left tackles, a couple of Outland Trophy winners in Jonathan Ogden and Kris Farris. Does that add my pressure or make it more of an honor since the coaches feel you can make the switch?

Vieira: "I'm a take-it-easy kind of guy, so I look at it as an honor to play there. You know, left tackle is an important spot. It's the quarterbacks blind side. So I took it as an honor when Coach Weber told me he wanted me to play left tackle so I told him, ‘Sweet, I'll do it and I won't let you down."

BRO: Colorado is your first game and they seemed to have an attitude when you guys played them last year. Now UCLA has some of their coaches, coupled with your already nasty streak, how has it been with their attitudes here?

Vieira: "Yeah, we have a lot of attitude in practice, a lot of motivation. We have an attitude on offense. We don't want to start out slowly, we want to get things rolling. The coaches are big time motivators. Coach Bieniemy and Coach Embree are real vocal, so matching them up with Coach Weber and Coach Bernardi has been great. "

BRO: Doc Kreis also has come in, and being an offensive lineman, you guys usually get the most out of the strength & conditioning. How has working with him been?

Vieira: "Doc is awesome. He is a great guy. He is the best man to encounter us. He is such a motivator and you really want to work hard for him. You don't want to let him down. And he is big on motivating us big guys, and we really respond well to him."

BRO: How big is the Colorado game in setting the tone for the season?

Vieira: "It's big, especially since they have one under their belts. But it's what we are playing for, what we've been coming out here and are working hard for. If we can get some carryover, we will be good to go."

BRO: There was some problems in the passing game the last few years, with the quarterback situation, but the running game never seemed to struggle...

Vieira: "Me and Shane (Lehmann) were talking about that Washington game the other day, and just laughing, how DeShaun (Foster) got those 300 yards and we dominated them up front. We have a great running back core, solid fullbacks. Maurice (Drew) has done a solid job coming out as a true freshman, and I didn't expect him to do so much right away. I think we will be reliable in our running game. We have some good guys up front and good backs, and I think we'll be an awesome run/power team."

BRO: The last few years with the previous offense, it could get stagnant and stale, so I am sure that it's been refreshing to get a new offense in there. Have you guys adjusted well to it?

Vieira "My first scare when we got a new coach was ‘Man, it's a new offense'. But we worked hard over spring, and we treated it as a job, and it is. There are still some things we are learning, it's always a process up until the end of the season. Our study sessions are great, we watch film even without the coaches, on our time, and it's been good for us as a line."

BRO: You go up against the Balls every day in practice. Do you ever get to the point where you can't practice because they are having too much fun?

Vieira: "Sometimes when I am so stressed out during practice, Dave makes a joke, that cuts us up, makes us laugh, which is good, because it eases us. Those two are just crazy out there."

BRO: You have a tight end in Marcedes (Lewis) who is taller than you. Ever ask him if he wants to play tackle so you can move back to guard?

Vieira: (laughing), Nah, Marcedes is a little too skinny to play tackle for us."


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