Jerzy Siewierski: "I'm Still Here"

The sophomore defensive tackle, Jerzy Siewierski, talks about the progress he's made filling in this year for an injured starter, while having to overcome a number of nagging injuries himself....

We spoke with sophomore defensive tackle Jerzy Sierwierski this week at practice.

How do you think you've progressed so far this year?

"Well, I think my technique has gotten better, power a little better. Of course, my season's been plagued by injuries with my shoulder and my plantar fascitis in my foot, so I wouldn't be able to tell if I was healthy all season, but I think I would have played through pretty well. I think I did a pretty all right job."

How's all that stuff feeling now?

"It's just a grind, you know. It's better, but never 100%. (The plantar) was bad at the beginning of the season. It went away, and then it was back last week. It was like 'Hey, I'm still here.'"

You looked like you had a few pretty good plays last week. Do you feel you've progressed pretty well from last year?

"Yeah, I mean, I think as experience from being on the field as a freshman, I think I can see things and feel things better and I'm not as nervous as I was as a young buck, I'm a year older. Yeah, I mean, I'm getting better."

Were you expecting to play this significant a role this year?

"I mean, yeah, coming through spring ball coach was telling me, ‘We really need you to step up this year." And like, I tried my hardest and I had a really good spring ball and summer ball, but injuries came and I was one of the injuries. So, I mean, injuries come and go so I guess you just play through them. Thankfully I was able to play through."

 So now you're one of the last men standing...

"Yeah, I'm still here."

With the losses mounting up, what do you guys play for at this point?

"You know, everybody knows we've lost a couple of games, but in the locker room I wouldn't say spirits are down. We've still got two really big games coming up. Last year we beat SC at home and they were going to the BCS, so we just want to show teams that they can't just play us and we'll roll over. We want to show we still have some fight."

Are you happy to have this bye week or would you rather just play again this week?

"I'm personally happy to have the bye week just because I want to rest my injuries. But I think it's going to be good for us because it'll give us a chance to get some players back. I'm happy to have a bye week."

In the Arizona State game, were you surprised at how close you guys came to winning that game?

"No,  not at all, actually. We have players that can fill in. Like everybody saw, we have depth. It's not like we didn't have depth coming into the season. We have players that stepped up. We didn't win the game but I'm really happy with the effort we had and we definitely could have won the game."

You guys seemed to have success against Rudy Carpenter and that ASU offense. Does that build your confidence heading into the Oregon game next week?

"I mean, yeah, they came in a really good offense. Any time you can do good against a really good offense, it's going to boost your confidence a little bit and let you know that you can play. Hopefully we can get out to Dennis Dixon and Jonathan Stewart and all those Oregon Ducks."

You're in your second year in the program. You've got a couple more ahead of you. What's it like from your perspective, hearing all the talk about coach Dorrell's job security?

"It really doesn't mean anything. I'm here as a UCLA Bruin. I came here under coach Dorrell. I obviously have heard the things, but that doesn't really factor into my mind right now. I just want to play football. I just want to win games. That's all."

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