Notes and Quotes

The Pac-10 leading tackler, linebacker <b>Spencer Havner</b>, talks about the Illinois game and the upcoming matchup against Washington. There are also some interesting Pac-10 rankings...

Here are some interesting Pac-10 Rankings for UCLA:

-- Second in Pac-10 rushing offense at 232 yards per game, and 25th nationally.

-- Last in rushing defense at 317 yards per game. The next closest is Oregon State at 168 yards per game.

-- Fourth in total offense at 462 yards per game. Cal leads, with Oregon second and USC one yard ahead of UCLA. UCLA is 25th nationally.

-- UCLA is last in total defense, allowing 452 yards per game.

-- UCLA is fourth in pass defense, allowing 135 yards per game, 12th nationally.

-- UCLA is last in opponents' first downs, allowing 48.

-- UCLA is first in fewest penalty yards, getting penalized for just 20 yards per game.

-- UCLA is first in fewest sacks, allowing none. USC and Washington have both allowed two, even though Washington's was in just one game.

-- UCLA is last in time of possession, averaging 26:30 per game.

-- Manuel White is second in rushing in the Pac-10, averaging 121 yards per game, behind Cal's J.J. Arrington, who averages 179 yards per game. UCLA's Maurice Drew is fourth, averaging 93 per game. White is 16th in the country.

-- Spencer Havner leads the Pac-10 in tackles with, totaling 33 and 16.5 in two games.

Comments from Spencer Havner...

What will getting back Justin London do for you?

"I just can't wait to get him back 100%. It takes a lot of pressure off myself for him to be out there. He's a great linebacker."

It looked pretty easy getting that blocked field goal. Do you think you'll have a chance to do that often?

"I try to be. I might be a little too sure of it, but I think we have a chance every time. A good chance. A big part of it is Bruce (Davis), Bear (Kevin Brown), Justin Hickman and (Kenneth) Lombard getting a push. A lot of guys want to get a push and get their own hands up, which screws up the leaper. So our coach makes sure they get down and get penetration, which gets me closer to the kicker. It seems like we have a good chance every time."

Did he kick it low?

"It hit my hands, so it must have been decent. I don't think that guy was a great kicker. A great kicker probably would have gotten that ball up higher. But anytime we get an average to low kick we have a chance to block it if we have a leaper on."

How do you like playing Washington?

Personally I love playing Washington. Every since my freshman year it sort of has become a rivalry. I had a couple of good games against them, and we came out on top the last three years. I want to keep that going. I don't want to let up on them.

"Last time we went up there that was probably one of my favorite games my freshman year. Dave Ball had like three sacks. It was so cold. It was ridiculous. And so loud. That stadium is something else. Right there on the water and those tin stands. It's an experience. To come out on top that day, when they had Cody Pickett and Reggie Williams, that was great. I like playing Washington. It's always a good rivalry."

Is it one of toughest places to play in the Pac-10?

"Oh yeah. I haven't played at Oregon yet. As far as I'm concerned, Washington is as tough as it gets. The crowd is so loud, and the stadium makes it so loud. It's all tin."

How do you focus with all that noise?

"I think hand signals are a big thing. Communication, not just verbally, but hand signals. When you're on defense it's not too bad. Their offense is on the field and they want to keep quiet for them. It's a bigger deal for our offense to be able to communicate."

Are you comfortable switching back to your old position? "It's been nice to come back into the middle. Last year I played outside. It's been good. It's a good fit for our team. Justin is a natural middle linebacker. It's nice to have him right next to me on the other inside. I feel I just get to be in the middle of the action all the time. I couldn't ask for anything more."

What's your favorite thing to do on the field?

"I like to see the quarterback when he's trying to throw the ball around me. If you get a confident quarterback who thinks they're going to put the ball in somewhere tight. I think we'll come out on top a lot of times. At least a knock-down. I like when, we brought some heat on Illinois' quarterback. He was getting kind of antsy in the pocket and started to step up or pull the ball down early before he even had to really. That's always great. And then you get someone in third and long and it's hard to convert on third and long. You just sit in a deep zone. Quarterbacks are like gold. We don't get to touch them in practice. So in games it's pretty exciting."

How much do you think you've improved in rush defense?

"I think I've improved a lot. A lot of it is not just confidence but it's part of just getting older and with each season going by you getting the feeling no one can touch you out there. Like my freshman year I would think, ‘Hey, that guy's pretty big.' But now I don't feel like anyone can get in the way."

What's important when defending against the option?

‘It's so important to be disciplined when the team is running the option. The first thing you see is the quarterback with the ball and you want to just go get the quarterback. But someone has to out-flank them. If you string it out down the line of scrimmage it shouldn't be a big play. As long as you have someone on the option guy and someone on the quarterback, which there is an assignment in every single defense we have, it shouldn't be a big deal. I don't think a team should be able to beat you with the option."

Do you think Illinois tried to duplicate Oklahoma State's running scheme a bit?

"Yeah. They would run it to one side and then try to bend it back. They tried to cut it back all day on us. I think Illinois picked it up from Oklahoma State. Anytime you show a weakness, your opponent next week is going to try to exploit it. But I don't know if Washington's running game is as potent as even Illinois'. I don't know. I haven't seen much film on Washington yet. From what I remember, they're more one-back, not so much power run. More zone run and one-back and no lead blockers."

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