Interview: Coach Brian Schneider

After 13 years at Colorado State, outside linebacker and nickel backs coach <b>Brian Schneider</b> made the move to UCLA. He talks about the transition, the talent at UCLA, and draws comparisons between CSU head coach Sonny Lubick and his new head coach...

After spending the past 13 years at Colorado State as a player and a coach, Brian Schneider returns to Southern California, where he played in high school, to coach the linebackers at UCLA. He talks about leaving Colorado State, coaching under Sonny Lubick and the linebackers for the Bruins.

BRO: You leave Colorado State, where you played and coached. What's been the difference between being involved with the CSU program and now here at UCLA?

Schneider: "The athletes and the skills positions here are the biggest difference. The receivers, and the DBs and the linebackers. Across the board, here they are inches taller, they can run. The linemen at Colorado State were pretty good, but it's not as big a difference between the Pac-10."

BRO: You played under Coach (Larry) Kerr at Colorado State, and now come out here to UCLA and coach with him. How has his influence been and how has he eased the transition coming with you?

Schneider: "It's been very good. I was a defensive player, then a defensive graduate assistant, so I am very close with Coach Kerr. When I was a fulltime coach, I was a tight end coach, but I always wanted to come back to the defense, and to come work with Larry, and Karl (Dorrell) is exciting. Really, having worked on offense helps me, bringing some of that knowledge to the linebackers, on how they want to attack defenses. It really broadened my horizons."

BRO: You probably had an idea of what these defensive guys could do, seeing them on film last year, and you walk into a great situation where guys like Brandon Chillar and Spencer Havner are back and a guy like Justin London is ready to play.

Schneider: "They all three want to be very good, and they have that inner drive, and they all have the ability. It's what they are going to do everyday to make themselves better. That's something else about UCLA is that they all expect to be really good here. And that's what Coach Dorrell is trying to do, trying to get them to that place."

BRO: Being a CSU alum, you probably aren't a big CU fan, but your first game is in Colorado, so that's got to be cool for the staff, who seemed like they all have ties there.

Schneider: "It's really exciting. All my family and friends are back there. EB and I bet that we'd have to sing the fight song of the losing team in the CSU-CU game. But the best part is going back there."

BRO: The special teams here have had some struggles in crunch time the last few years, and now you are heading them up. And now you have some younger, inexperienced guys. How has that been?

Schneider: "All the guys will step up. They're really talented. (Chris) Kluwe and (Justin) Medlock haven't kicked in a game, but they have the ability to get out there and kick well. As far as the other teams, there are some great athletes on the field, and we are trying to show them that you can win 2-3 games on special teams alone, when you put the emphasis on it."

BRO: How hard was it to leave CSU?

Schneider: "I was there 14 years, and the hardest thing to leave was Coach Lubick, just because of the type of man he was. He really gave me my shot in coaching, gave me a break, and I respect him so much. You know in this profession a move is coming, and I was telling my wife, I was worried about who I was going to work for, and me being a young coach, they say you won't work for anyone better than Sonny. But from my time with Karl, it's been extremely nice. He's a lot like Sonny in a lot of ways. The hardest thing was leaving Sonny but it was a no-brainer coming here. It's a great place for my family. It will be weird with no snow at Christmas though."

BRO: You were a part of the building of the CSU program. Now you get to be a part of what could be another building process here at UCLA. How's that for a challenge?

Schneider: "It's exciting. I was a witness to the foundation and the building of that program at CSU. That's why it's been such a neat experience here, to see how you start a program. That has been truly an experience in itself. I've been in the Colorado State program, and now I'm here, and I tell the players, to be in the Rose Bowl last year, to have Colorado State going for two in the final minutes to tie that game, that's a tribute to what Sonny has done in building those guys up. And that is what Karl is doing here. A lot of those same principles Sonny used, Karl is doing here, and when you apply those, you're going to win a lot of games."

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