Interview: Jarrad Page

The returning starter at strong safety, junior <b>Jarrad Page</b>, talks about balancing baseball and football and how the team is different this fall practice than it was a year ago...

Junior Jarrad Page is the returning starter at strong safety. He also played extensively for UCLA's baseball team last spring and missed spring football practice. He's expected to be one of the blossoming stars on this defense.

You were injured in the spring playing baseball, correct?

"Yeah, that was my back. I actually only missed a week and a half. I thought it was pretty bad when I got hurt, but it turned out it wasn't. I started for the team after I came back from the injury."

How do you make that transition from baseball back to football this summer?

"Summer was tough everybody in general. Everyone worked really hard. But I've been playing three sports my whole life, since I was four years old, so I'm used to it. My body was in pretty good shape when I came back out for football. I did have to lift, and that was hard. But that was hard for all of us. So it wasn't too big of a transition to get back out here from baseball. It would seem it could be a big transtion, but for me, I'm used to it."

How has fall practice felt compared to your two other fall practices?

"I feel personally a lot stronger. I feel like my body is a lot stronger. And as a team, we're all a lot stronger. We're holding up a lot better. People are sore, but it doesn't feel like last fall. It feels better. I think everyone's in better shape this fall. All of the workouts we did this summer, and the lifting we did this summer, everyone was in much better shape when we got here."

Going into your third year as a starter, are you pretty familiar with your position? You did go through two defensive coordinators...

"It's pretty much coming on instinct now. With this scheme, it's been two years now. As you get more experience, you know what to do quicker by just looking at the offense. You can tell when a receiver starts to run his route what he's going to do. I'm so much familiar with this defense because I had all of last year to get familiar with it. So the checks and everything are coming pretty easy."

How much better is it coming to the rest of the defense and the defensive backfield?

"This is the first time, since I've been here, that we've had the same coaching staff and defensive scheme from one year to the next. Coming into this year we've come in knowing the defense really well and are really comfortable with it."

Since you're defending against UCLA's offense, do you see a difference from last fall?

"It seems like the schemes are much better. What they're doing is better. And Drew Olson's decision are better. He's not throwing as many bad balls, or as many interceptions. It seems like they're getting people open and he's finding the open man."

What's the goal for this team for the season?

"We want to win the Pac-10. That's what we're thinking. But we have to put in the work here, though."

If you had to make a decision between playing football or baseball professionally, which would it be?

"I don't know. I'll let the professional sports choose that for me. I just want to play football now and in the future what happens, happens. Baseball you do have a longer career. So you have to take that into consideration. I do love football. It's really whatever gives me the better opportunity."

What indications are you getting as to where you'd be taken in the baseball draft?

"They tell me I'm a high prospect for next year. But that's secondary now. When baseball season comes around, that will then be a priority."

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