Interview: Spencer Havner

Junior <b>Spencer Havner</b> has had two very good seasons starting at linebacker, and is poised to take it to another level as a junior this season...

After two seasons where he has registered 178 tackles and 6 interceptions, and with an incredible knack for the ball, junior linebacker Spencer Havner enters the 2004 season as the defensive captain for UCLA and a legitimate Butkus Award Candidate.

On facing the same guys in practice every day:
Havner: I want to see some orange.

On his increased responsibility with guys out:
Havner: I've taken it upon myself in practice to make sure everyone knows what they are doing. Its not that I know everything, I just want to make sure, checking, saying "hey, you know who you've got?" Also, during the game I have to step up, like in camp with Justin gone, its just going to be I have to step up. So are some other players like Jarrad Page and Ben Emanuel.

On Oklahoma State:
Havner: They're pretty physical, I remember when we played them. They are probably one of the more physical teams I've seen. I think their o-line takes a lot of pride in the running game. Their tight ends are good blockers. Our d-line is going to have to play tough and fill in their gaps. I'm going to have to fill in behind them and make up for anything that goes wrong.

On the difference in quarterback from the first time UCLA played Oklahoma State:
Havner: We're prepared for it. Assigning someone to him in certain situations, things like that. We've got to make sure our contain guys keep contained. Sometimes, with other quarterbacks, that's not a big deal, but with this quarterback, we are going to have to contain him the whole time, no matter what the defense is.

On coming to UCLA without the notoriety of other linebackers in his class:
Havner: I'm from a small town, and guys from L.A. and the Bay Area seemed to have a lot more pub around them. I think I kind of flew under the map. Fortunately, got to come here and play my freshman year, and did real well. Its something I'm proud of. I feel like I came from the bottom a little bit. Those guys, I wish them the best. I knew in high school, I would look on the internet and I was like ‘I know I can play with these guys.' They got all the hype. But its been a good opportunity for me. I got to start my freshman year and its been good and I'll hopefully have a huge year this year.

On the history of great Bruin linebackers:
Havner: There's been so many good linebackers coming from here. It goes way past those guys (Brandon Chillar, Marcus Reese and Robert Thomas). I just want to be a part of that, and that's one of my goals. I have a lot of personal goals and a lot of team goals. I want to carry the torch.

On the importance of the opener:
Havner: I think its huge. If we can come out and get a victory, its going to set us off on a great foot. We got Illinois after that. So its huge, we gotta win it.

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