UCLA Defensive End Rick Wade on Using His Length, Getting Better in Offseason

Apr. 30 -- Defensive end Rick Wade talked after the spring game about what he's working on to improve -- using his height and length -- and his new teammate, Jaelan Phillips...

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On the spring game

I liked it. I liked it a lot better than last year. Last year was cool, but I feel like this was a lot more fan-oriented. I thought it was more of an overall experience. 

On his development

I feel like I’ve done pretty well this spring because I’ve just really been working hard in the weight room. My weight has not gone up a lot, but my strength has gone up a good amount. And so just having that, and just focusing on my technique, I feel like I’ve really started to zone in on how I want to play and I think I’ve been doing a good job. 

On his height and weight right now

Like 275. 6’6”

On whether his ideal weight is 275

Yeah, I’m good right here. Maybe get to 280 by the season, but I feel solid right now. I’m just more focusing on getting my strength up, which is helping me a lot. 

On the benefits of a spring game

We can’t show too much on TV. Fundamentals are really key when you’re playing defense – playing together. Just knowing how the people behind you are going to play, where they’re going to fit. You can never do it enough times. SO repetitions are always good. 

On where his confidence level is this year, compared to last year

I was pretty confident last year, but I would definitely say I’m more confident this year. I’m definitely stronger and faster. I pride myself in working hard in the offseason – I feel like it really pays off for me. So I mean we still have a lot of the offseason left to go. So hopefully I can make another jump like I did in this last offseason. 

On what Angus McClure has told him to focus on

What I’m trying to work on with him is just using my height. To use it as leverage and get underneath people. Use my long arms to shed people and have separation. I’m starting to get a hang of it, and it’s really working out for me.

On Jaelan Phillips’ spring

Oh, I love Jaelan – that’s my boy. He comes in, he works hard. He adapted to our program very well. I’m just excited to play with him. 

On whether he’s surprised at how quickly Jaelan acclimated himself

Well, yeah, I’m surprised that someone is able to do that. But not Jaelan. Jaelan, he just comes to work hard. He’s no extra stuff. So he’s just good to have in the room

On what Jaelan Phillips’ best attribute is

He has a good motor. For how talented he is, he doesn’t take plays off. He runs to the ball, he hustles. He plays well as a teammate, which is pretty big. Just having him next to me, even if it’s just an emotional thing or a physical thing, we’ve got each other’s back. So it’s good to know that. 

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