Micah Reed on USC, UCLA Career

'It's different for walk-ons," said Micah Reed, the senior offensive lineman at practice this week -- this being the last week of his UCLA football career. Reed talked about his career from walk-on to starter, the meaning of the USC game, the future of the UCLA program, and more...

Micah Reed, the senior offensive lineman and former walk-on, talked to us this week at practice.

Is it hard to filter out all the distractions and the emotions this week and just focus on the game?

"A little bit, but I think it's good for us. It'd be one thing if we went through the season and our last game didn't really mean anything to us. But playing USC, it's kind of like our bowl game. We didn't make a bowl, unfortunately, but this is a good way to end our season against our crosstown rival. That's the way I think of it."

How does it feel to be playing your last game at UCLA?

"Yeah, it's crazy. It's cliche stuff. It seems like yesterday I just got here. But it's my time to go and I'm stoked that I get to play in this game one more time."

Do you feel like you accomplished more because you were originally a walk-on?

"It's different for walk-ons. Guys who come here on athletic scholarship, they've already made it. But I came here with nothing basically, just my tuition paid for by my family. I earned that scholarship last year. It's kind of like last year was my first year on scholarship, and it's a big deal to me. It's pretty cool to have earned that, to be able to say I earned a scholarship."

What do you personally need to do Saturday to have a great game to end your career?

"I have to my play best game ever. We're going against the best defense in the Pac-10, and possibly one of the best in the nation. It's going to take all of our bests, and it's definitely going to take mine, too. They've got a bunch of first-round guys, and we just have to play our best for sure."

How difficult have all these injuries been for you this season?

"It's been tough. Once I got injured the first time against BYU it seemed like I just kept getting hurt and hurt. It's tough, but everything happens for a reason, and I'm healthy for this game so that's all that really matters to me."

Will you miss playing at the Rose Bowl?

"Absolutely, I'm going to miss it a lot. You take it for granted. I remember the first time I walked out onto the field my freshman year and I just...I couldn't believe it. We'll see what happens, but there's a possibility I'll never be able to play in front of that many people ever again. That's a big deal, so I'm going to soak it up and enjoy it Saturday."

USC coach Pete Carroll said he won't use the 13-9 loss in 2006 to motivate his team. Does that surprise you at all?

"Not really. Shoot, they beat us last year so they have the upper hand. It's not on that anymore. But we have it in the back of our head, knowing that we can beat them. We've seen that we can do it. And that motivates us."

Is it different for you now because you're more of a leader and contributor on this team than you were in 2006?

"It definitely is a big difference. I started to feel that last year because I started last year. This year, I'm one of the only seniors on the offensive line, so it's definitely more of a role. But still, I've got to try to treat it like another game and just give my best effort."

Would a good performance redeem the offensive line?

"I think so. Honestly, if we win this game it will pretty much wipe clean anything we've done this year. Everybody will forget about our record and our mishaps. If we get the win, it will send us out on a right note."

Even though you're a senior, do you still get the feeling that this program is heading in the right direction?

"Absolutely. It all starts with those coaches; they're the best in the business. This place is really turning aroundl, just the whole attitude about football. Coach Neuheisel wants us to be the best team in the nation, and he's doing a good job I think... A win Saturday would help a lot. It would help people realize that we are on our way back to the top. Who knows how long it will take, but this program is definitely on the rise because of the coaches and the recruits they're bringing in."

Do you hope to play football professionally?

"You know, I'm thinking about pursuing it. If not, I don't really have any plans yet. I'll probably take a little break from football and enjoy myself. I've been playing football for 15 years, and it's either I'm going to go for it or I'm not. We'll see. I'll probably give it a shot. You only get one chance."




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