Interview: Tab Perry

The senior wide receiver, <b>Tab Perry</b>, isn't completely re-instated just yet, waiting on the NCAA for clearance, but he's practicing. He tells us about his journey back to the UCLA practice field and how he's changed...

Tab Perry, the senior wide receiver, has traveled a windy road to get back in a UCLA uniform. He recently was re-admitted to school by UCLA, and has been practicing as he as he awaits clearance by the NCAA to be able to play. Since he started fall practice late, by NCAA rules, he has had to follow the NCAA acclimatization process, practicing in just a helmet and jersey for two practices, then shells for two day before being able to practice in full pads, which will be Sunday. He will sit out today's scrimmage.

So what's the status of your re-admittance by the NCAA (this was as of Friday)?

"That's all going to be taken care of shortly. I just have to get all my transcripts over to the NCAA. Once you're dismissed, so I was ineligible by NCAA requirements, you have to show them that you're up to date, that my degree of progress is up to date."

Have you sent them the paperwork yet?

"I still have to send them all of them. You have to send them altogether, not in parts."

You haven't done that yet?

"I haven't. But it's all done. I just have to give it to them."

How are you sending it to them?

"I'm not really sure. That's our (UCLA's) compliance guy's job. He pretty much handles that. My part was getting my grades right and getting it to him."

But in your opinion it's just a formality?

"It is, yeah. Because before I was re-instated they told me the guidelines I had to do, and I met all of them. I just have to submit it."

So where did you attend classes after you left UCLA?

"I went to San Jose State. I took one at Adams State. I took three at BYU and three here."

What were you doing at BYU?

"The rule was, for me to come back, I'd have to have two terms with Bs or better. When I left, with UCLA being a quarter, all the other schools were semesters. So they had just ended their semester and I couldn't get into another quarter school. So I had to go to San Jose State, and I couldn't be a fulltime student. According to NCAA rules, if I were a fulltime student, taking 12 units, that would have counted as a transfer, so I wouldn't have been able to come back. So I had to take 11 ½ units there, not twelve. I had to take 11 somewhere else, but then I could take 12 in the summer here since this was the institution I was trying to return to."

So how did BYU figure into this?

"Because all the other schools had already started. There weren't any other four-year institutions I could go to that started the same time as San Jose State."

How'd you know all this?

"I had to do my homework. I asked our compliance guy, Rich Herczog, about all the rules before I left. He told me that if I did want to come back that if I took 12 units I'd have to stay at that school. So I knew I had to take 11 ½, as close as I could get to 12."

What kind of workouts did you do this summer to get back into shape?

"I wasn't allowed to do the team workouts with the rest of the team, since it might have been against NCAA rules. The coaches didn't know if I was going to get back in, too. I respected their wishes and did stuff on my own."

How are you physically right now?

"I used to be about 225 and I came into camp about 210. I'm putting some weight back on, all muscle. I now have more time just to worry about football and not as much school as I did, so I can workout as much as I want."

How do you feel physically?

"I feel great, both physically and mentally. I'm hoping people will see that I'm a different person than I was before, a different kind of player."

Do you think you're a step quicker?

"Well, maybe. But I've been kind of cheating. The other guys have been out here doing double days and I'm not even in full pads yet. I feel quick, though. We'll see when I get the full pads on, but I feel great."

You looked like you were out there hitting some guys, throwing some blocks, without any pads?

"Oh, yeah. We all know how to play really safe out here, take care of one another. Those guys aren't going to crack on me. And when I'm blocking I'm just trying to block them up, form them up."

How well do you know this offense?

"I made a couple of errors, but they're all correctable, nothing too serious. I just have to keep the right alignments, keep the right spacing. With this offense there is a lot to do with spacing. If you don't get the ball you're freeing it up for someone else. So I had to get that concept down. I'm picking it up fairly quick."

Has wide receiver coach Dino Babers been an asset in your return?

"Yeah, he's been great. He's a really smart coach. He knows how to interact with players. He knows how to make us retain the information."

In what way?

"He just has different tactics. He might have been a psychology major in college. He's really good. With me, he treats me like a man. He tells me I can't be messing up. He shows me where I am on the depth chart. I came into camp late, so I really don't have many chances to mess up. I've been spending all my time with the playbook to try to get it down. He watches film with me, breaks it down, helps me with technique in practice. He treats me like I'm a freshman. If I mess up I have to go back and do it again until I get it right."

You have patience with that?

"Yeah. You have to let it all roll off your back. He's out here trying to make me get better, and I'm out here trying to get better. We have new coaches and a new offense, so there are new techniques for us to run routes. And I just have to take all that in. I don't get upset at all if he tells me I did something wrong. I'll just try to do it the next time."

So what do you think about the offense?

"So far, from what I see, I like it a lot. It gives a chance for a lot of guys to get the ball. With Drew Olson, they give him a lot of freedom to make his own reads. He's doing a great job. I'm really impressed with him. Our running offense is great. The o-line, the blocking is great. I really like our offense a lot."

So what goals do you have personally for the season?

"My main goal is to get back here for the guys that I came in here with, and for some of the new guys that just came in. I want to be here for my teammates. Anyway I can help out I'm going to do it. And basically, I came in a Bruin, I want to finish a Bruin."

When did you know you were going to be re-instated?

"It was to the wire. I didn't know until everybody else heard it too."

Did you think you'd be re-instated?

"I was confident. I had to be confident. My back was against the wall. When I left, I knew I had one chance. I knew that if I didn't do the work, I wouldn't be playing football this year. So I knew I had to just focus and put all the other distractions out of the way. I had to even cut down on workouts, which was hard since I love working out. And I just had to focus on school."

You had all of last year at UCLA, where you sat out, to fix your academics, but you squandered it. How are you different now?

"Mentally I think I'm a different person, and a different player. I'm more of a complete player. I had that time to mature, work out, watch film, and absorb so much. The time off gave me a lot of time to mature. I thought about the opportunity I was given, and if I was given a chance again I'd take advantage of it. Just do the right thing."

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