On how spring camp is going so far
It’s been good, just getting reps with the 1s and stuff. Getting to look at Jaelan Phillips and Darnay, I’ve been really impressed with them. It’s just been a really good defense in spring ball so far. We’ve won every team competition so far, that’s why you see us running after practice every day. I’m just really pleased with how things are going with our defense.
On whether there’s a sense of pride on defense to keep being the strength of the team
Oh yeah, definitely. We want to keep the same defense, same mentality as last year. But this year, our offense is going to be really good too I think. Our defense should hopefully stay the same.
On how this year’s offense is different
We’re running a lot of outside zones now, and I think it’s just good for our tight ends, too. We just got Devin Asiasi from Michigan, so hopefully the appeal goes through and we also have Caleb and Jimmy and Jordan. So I’m just really excited to see what they do.
On getting to play with Devin Asiasi again
Oh, it’s amazing. Just to have him back. Just to be able to see him across the field now. We’re not on the same side anymore, but it’s just good to have him back on the team. I’m really excited to see what he’s going to do over here. I know he’s going to be great.
On what questions Devin Asiasi asked him when he was considering transferring to UCLA
It was so much about just being closer to home (for him), just in case any family emergency, or just being closer to family, so that family can come to his games and everything.
On whether Asiasi asked him for input on UCLA and what it was like out here
Oh yeah. He just asked me how it is school-wise, I just told him about the school, how the team is. The winning side of it had nothing to do with his decision, I think it was more of just what he felt comfortable with. Just to be closer to family, where his mom and dad and family could just come out and watch him play and practice every day.
On whether he will be rooming with Devin Asiasi
Summertime, we’ll room together and I think after season we’ll probably move off and get our own apartment with Lokeni and Leni.
On what he learned most from last season
I think the main thing I learned last year was just getting in there. A lot of the things I learned was from Eli, just being on time to everything and being the first one out every practice. Just trying to stay organized like him – he’s always in his playbook. And then Eddie, he was just Eddie. Always physical. Everything (Eddie) did, I tried to mirror my game after him. And I think just watching film; I had access to watch film on Kenny Clark, so I was watching film on him and his whole senior year and his whole career over here. So I’m just trying to mirror what he did.
On what he did in the offseason to improve his physical conditioning
The offseason was just really good with Alosi. We had a goal to get down to 21 percent body fat, and I got that. My weight got iup, I’m up to 311 now. So I think the whole lifting group and just having to come out every morning at 5:45 and just running and lifting, I think that helped. The program that he runs, the lifts that we do, all the Olympic lifts, really help.
So you gained weight while losing body fat?
Oh yeah, I gained a lot. I gained probably 16 pounds since I got here and I lost eight percent body fat. So it’s been a really good transition.
What was the key to that physical transition?
I think just eating better. Stop eating fast food. I think it was just working out, making sure that I got extra workouts after our morning lifts and our morning runs and everything.
On how he feels physically on the field compared to last year
It feels way better. I have way more stamina than I did last year, I can last way longer on the field now. I feel better during team, every day I get a lot of reps. The first two, three days of practice, I got every single rep at nose for both team periods. So it was just good, I wasn’t as tired as I thought I would be.
On whether he thinks he could have done every rep in team last season
I feel like it would have been different. I probably would have been more tired last year, but now I feel way better and am in way better shape.
On what has been impressive about Jaelan Phillips
Just his mentality, his veteran mentality. He came in not really nervous about anything, he always has his head in the books. He’s a good student, always goes to class and everything. And he studies his playbook a lot. So I’ve just been really happy with him, the way he is. And it’s no drop-off at all when he comes in for Keisean. So when he comes in, it’s just the same player, just a veteran.
On why the defense still has to run after practice even though they’ve won every team period so far
I think it’s just because coach Mora wants (the offense) to watch us get better while they just stand around and do nothing. So there are jokes going around in the locker room like, ‘defense just lose this one.’ But they were all playing, it’s just all jokes. But I don’t mind though. It’s good, it’s getting me in better shape too.