Post-Spring Interview: Bruce Davis

Redshirt freshman defensive end <b>Bruce Davis</b> finds himself at the top of the depth chart coming out of spring practice, with some big shoes to fill, while also following in his father's footsteps...

After an encouraging season on the defensive scout team, redshirt freshman Bruce Davis has moved to the top of the depth chart at right defensive end, and has a chance to start come fall. He talks to BRO about his progress in spring, replacing All-American Dave Ball, and following in the footstep of his father (former Bruin great Bruce Davis).

BRO: People have been looking forward to you making in impact since you had a pretty good fall scrimmage last August. You redshirted last year, but now it's your chance to go. How do you feel your progress has been?

Davis:: "Its been a lot of learning. After Kevin (Harbour) went down (with an ACL injury), I've had to really step it up. Not really pressure, but the coaches really needed me to step up and I have to take my game to the next level. Everybody else on the defense brought me along. They were pushing me, and I really think I've grown a lot since I first got here."

BRO: The entire defensive line and a couple of backups graduate, and the biggest question on defense this year is whether they can be replaced. There is a lot of youth too upfront. How have you guys responded to the questions?

Davis:: "We've just come together. It was four guys who didn't really know each other. We really weren't that close. But this spring has really brought us together and we've been able to mesh and gel together as a team. That's the most important thing. We've come a long way."

BRO: Personally, what's been the biggest difference from high school to college?

Davis:: "It's just a whole lot more. We went from having a handful of plays in high school, to having a full playbook. Just remembering all the plays. You've got to be disciplined to remember all those plays."

BRO: The guy you replace, Dave Ball, is the schools all-time leading sacker and was a tough guy on tackles these last couple years. How do you replace a guy like Dave Ball?

Davis:: "There is a lot of pressure to replace him. He led the nation in sacks, National Defensive Player of the Year, Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year, so I obviously have huge, huge shoes to fill. But I think having Coach Johnson can help me accomplish a lot of things that I want to accomplish this season."

BRO: You had about three schools you committed to in high school, and a bunch that you were thought to be going to, and you could have gone to any of those: Texas, Arkansas, Colorado and UCLA. Are you happy with your decision to come to UCLA?

Davis:: "I'm actually really, really pleased with how it's come along. UCLA was always in the running for me. After Arkansas got in trouble, and Colorado just wasn't my place, I called Coach Johnson and asked if they still had a spot for me. He said they did, but they had a lot of seniors and I would most likely be sitting out this first year and adjusting, and I was willing to do that. I was able to sit back and learn and watch the other experienced players."

BRO: Was it tough sitting out last season?

Davis:: "Yeah, just coming from my high school, being a small town, and being one of the stars of the team, it was really hard to just sit back and watch everybody else play. A lot of the time, I just wanted to get in there and play, but redshirting was the best thing for me."

BRO: You still have the frame to put on another 15-20 pounds. Do you have an ideal weight you want to get up to?

Davis:: "Before the fall, I'd like to be about 245-250. I'm 238 right now. I've run a 4.5, so put on a little more weight and I'd be pretty tough to block."

BRO: Your dad (Bruce Davis Sr.) had a great career both at UCLA and then in the NFL. What's that mean to you to play at the same place where your namesake carved out the beginning of his career?

Davis:: "When I stepped out here (for the Spring Scrimmage) and all my family was out here, the first thing I saw was my dad, and it's just a great feeling to know I'm following in the footsteps of my father, wearing the same uniform and its just an unexplainable feeling."

BRO: Oklahoma State is another school who recruited you, it's close to home, and now you guys open with them. How much are you looking forward to that game?

Davis:: "I'm really excited about that game. One of the all-star games I played in, about three or four of the guys I played with went to Oklahoma State and we are all really close, so I'm looking forward to playing against them. There a good team, and it's going to be a challenge but I am looking forward to it."

BRO: What's your plan for summer?

Davis:: "I'll go home for a little bit, just to spend some time with my family. I'm so far from home, I want to spend some time with them. I'm concentrating on gaining weight and keeping speed at the same time. My biggest thing is hitting the weight room. We have a great weight coach and I'm going to work really hard and just stay with it.

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