Neuheisel/Jones on Wednesday

True freshman defensive end Datone Jones talked about starting this weekend against Cal, how he can't use the excuse of being a freshman and how his preparation has changed, and a familiar face drives for hours to come to practice to deliver his annual Ducky Drake speech for the Cal game...

Ed Kezirian, the former UCLA football administrator and coach,  drove from the Fresno area to give his annual Ducky Drake speech.

Comments by Rick Neuheisel:

"Good practice, not as good as I had hoped, or as good as yesterday's. We've got to figure out exactly why. We've got to make sur ethat we are a lot more urgent tomorrow. But I think we got a lot done today and I think or guest speaker here at the end made it clear to our guys that this isn't just an ordinary game when you play Cal. Hopefully they'll understand that and come back and be on a roll tomorrow, on a day that we have to be razor sharp."

Can you talk a little about Coach Kezirian?

Ed Kezirian has been with UCLA since he played in the early 70's, and he's very, very popular here in the athletic department. He was a coach, a player, he worked in the administration for several years, and there isn't a player out here who doesn't love Ed Kezirian. And it's fun for him to come back and reminisce about Ducky Drake- the great former coach and trainer, who used to make this game his game. As a player, I remember Ducky talking to us about the importance of playing Cal and what that game meant to the university and so forth. It's a tribute to Ducky, and now a tribute to Ed, to come back and have him reminisce and make sure the players understand how important the game against Cal is. "

What's the situation with Jeff Baca?

Baca is probably out this week with a hamstring pull, but we hope to have him back by the Oregon State game. It's just a hamstring strain, but it's probably going to keep him from playing this weekend. Micah Kia will be the left tackle, and we'll wait and see what we do on the right side. Glicksberg is ready to go. We'll probably roll in some guys, but we'll get the position played."

Comments from freshman Datone Jones.

Is this a big week for you?

Oh yeah, most definitely. It's just another chance to show what I can do as a true freshman."

Are you feeling like you'll get more playing time this week than you have previously?

Yes, this probably will be the most playing time I've seen so far, but I gotta fill in some big shoes and play hard, too. That's what it takes."

Did you expect to play so much right away?

Yeah. I knew eventually if everyone got hurt, I would have to step into some big shoes and be expected to play. The whole season I was just like, "If they go down I'm ready to come in.' I've just been waiting and working hard."

Do you feel like you're a stronger pass rusher or run stopper?

I'm versatile. I can pass rush and I can run-stop. Pretty much it's just defeating the man in front of me. If I can defeat the man in front of me, it's gonna come."

Have you always played defensive end?

In high school I played like four different positions. I moved around a lot. But the first time I played defensive end, they just threw me in with like 30 seconds to go and I wound up with two sacks. That's how my career started as a defensive end."

Were you recruited by Ca.l?

As a matter of fact, I was. I was offered by Cal. I didn't even visit. I committed to UCLA and I decided to come here."

Do you know anyone on the Cal team?

I know Trevor Guyton, the defensive tackle, but that's pretty much it." 

Will you be prepared for any trick plays this week, especially a reverse?

I play BCR. That's book-counter-reverse, before I chase up field. So if it comes, it's BCR, that's the first thing I think of. I know he's going to come back to me. You can't get beat on that. If I do, man, that's just not fun."

Is the preparation any different this week because Cal throws a lot more than Stanford and Oregon?

Well, preparation for me, I have to step my game up a lot more. I can't just lolly-gag at practice, like sometimes I took a few plays off back then, but now I can't. I have to go hard every play, and I'm happy I get to fill in these shoes, I just want to show the coaches what I can do."

Do you expect more people to scrutinize you this week?

Probably so, but it's not like I'm a rookie. I mean I am a rookie, but with my athleticism, I'm expected to do more. If I mess up on a certain kind of block, my coaches will be like, 'You know how to defeat that block, you should have known how to play that.' So, you can't just say 'I'm a freshman.' That's not going to help any."

Do you feel more experienced since the start of camp?

I'm way more experienced. I've gotten way faster and stronger. My hand placement is way better. I got a lot more developing to do, but it will come. It's your work ethic. If you practice so hard against better players, you're going to become better, everything's going to become way better."

What about that speech from Coach Kezirian, did that pump up the team?

Yeah. We got the big speech going on. It's UC versus UC, that's all you have to say."

Did you know Coach K before tonight?

Oh yeah. I've been committed here since my junior year, so I met him. He's real cool. He was asking me how I'm doing in school and telling me to keep my head up and keep working hard. Everything comes, you just have to work for it."

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