UCLA DC Tom Bradley Looking to Fill Defensive Voids

Apr. 12 -- After losing several playmakers from last season, UCLA defensive coordinator Tom Bradley spoke about the unit's progress this spring, the midyear enrollees and more...

On building on solid defensive season last year

I think we’re going through the right thing. One of the things we have to do is do all the little things better than we’ve done. I’m really concerned about that because last year in certain situations … it all starts off with the communications and getting better. We don’t look at all the positive stuff, we try to just get the negative stuff and try to work on that. And we’ve addressed that in the offseason, I think our guys on the staff did a great job with the players in the offseason addressing where we are, and so today and for the rest of spring we’re just working on the things we have to get better at.

On the early enrollee freshmen on defense

I think they’re playing well. The thing that’s hard right now is … because we’ve kind of overloaded them early, they haven’t had a chance. Every day we’re installing, installing, installing. I think once we get to the second part of spring and we can go back and start over again and do it a second time, they’ll play faster, which is our goal – to play faster. 

On Josh Woods’ spring camp performance so far

Well, he’s got the number 2 on now, so. You know, he gets better because he work at it, he’s gonna get better. I think coach White does a good job getting those guys prepared, getting those guys ready to go. We’ve put Josh in some tough situations early in the spring to see how he would react. He’s done a great job, he’s done everything in the offseason program with coach Alosi that we want him to do, academically he’s solid. So I think we’ve got something really good to work with, and now we’ve got to get the best out of him. 

On Dechaun Holiday

Getting better all the time. I think he understands now that’s a little different world. You know, the coverage part of things is pretty easy, because he does stuff for us coverage-wise, because he’s been with coach Martin in the secondary. That helps us because he’s coming from back to front. So that part of it is pretty easy for him; it’s going to be the run stuff that he’s got to get, get the physical part of it. Once again, the guy did a great job in the offseason in the weight room, got bigger, can still get bigger – he’s got tremendous athletic skills. There’s things that he enables us to do because when we get in certain situations, we don’t have to substitute – he’s kind of a half-guy: half DB, half linebacker right now. 

On losing Takk McKinley 

Darn, Takk. If he would have stuck around another year that would have been great. I’m getting all the calls from back east about Takk, and I’m glad everybody is else has started to figure out what a wonderful young man he is and what a great competitor (he is). He is certainly a playmaker and someone we’re gonna miss. 

On who will replace Takk McKinley’s playmaking ability on defense

I don’t know if we’re there yet with that type of guy right now. I think it’s going to be more of a team defense, I think we’re all going to all have to give a little bit here and get a little bit from that side, get a little bit from the other side. I think we’ll be a little bit more multi-dimensional in our scheme this year than last, because we had a guy like Takk who could do so many different things, we were able to set him up. I’m not sure where we are right now with that.

On Jaelan Phillips and Darnay Holmes

I like them both. Impressive. The way to gauge them right from the gitgo is how they did academically for the quarter – it was awesome. They did a great job in school, came to the workouts. You don’t know that they’re getting ready to go to the prom. I don’t know if either one of them can get dates, but they should be getting ready to go to the prom, and they’re out here with us. When you can go through what they went through in the wintertime with coach Alosi, and then be out here in the spring, it’s an added bonus for us. And as I said, they’ve done a great job with their schoolwork. They haven’t been overwhelmed with anything that they’re doing. 

On replacing Fabian Moreau, Jayon Brown and the other starters who departed

You know, we have an idea (of who will replace them). But there’s some great competition. We want competition. Obviously there’s a couple spots that are wide open. As we go through spring, we’ll be able to evaluate. Once we get everything in and we can quit confusing them every day, it will help us and it will slow down a little bit for them. 

On whether the right cornerback position is now one of those ‘wide open’ spots now that Johnny Johnson is gone

Yeah, I’m gonna miss Johnny a lot. But I understand why he did what he had to do. A great young man. And I think that’s a situation where now we’ve brought Mossi (Johnson) over a little bit, and we’re gonna have to get some depth added there in our secondary. We’re bringing in some really fine young guys who, if coach Martin will be able to get them ready early enough, we can get some depth out of them.

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