He Does it For the Team -- Again

Sophomore Nate Chandler has been switched back to tight end -- making it the fourth time he's gone between tight end and tackle so far in his UCLA career. He talked about what he thinks about the latest "permanent" switch...

On Saturday, Nate Chandler lined up in the UCLA Bruins' first extended scrimmage of the spring as the No. 1 right tackle. On Monday, the redshirt sophomore was lined up back at tight end, a move that comes following an injury to tight end Logan Paulsen.

  The move, Coach Rick Neuheisel said, will be permanent.

  Chandler has heard that before, and while he said that moving back and forth between tight end and tackle again is frustrating, he is more than willing to do it to help the team.

  It does come with some challenges, but in his first practice back at his former position he moved pretty well for a 280-pound offensive tackle in his pass routes.

  Is it a different type of conditioning you need to have?

"Not so much because I've always been able to move around and stuff. I've always been able to run. Not running routes and stuff like that, it kind of threw me off. But getting back into the grove with things, back into tight end, I could just tell by the beginning of the practice to the end of practice how it changed, how the techniques have changed and the speed of blocking, how fast you have to go and stuff like that."

  Are you going to have to lose some weight?

"Probably a couple of pounds. I'm 282 right now, so probably five pounds or so. I probably lost five pounds in this practice. I can still move right now. I might try to shed a couple of pounds."

  Where do you think you're better?

"In high school I played all types of sports. I can play any position, as far as tackle to tight end. I can't really say if I'm better at tackle, because I've played only one game at tackle, and that was the USC game, and I played two games at tight end, Washington and Washington State, or Fresno. I wouldn't pick a position to say I was better at, because if I put my mind to it I can do whatever I want, you know what I mean?"

  You've been through this a few times now and it seemed like the recent move to tackle was permanent. What's hard about having to change directions at this point, again?

"The hardest part was the off-season and how I was trying to gain weight and stuff. I've got a lot stronger and that's not a disadvantage in moving back to tight end because I can use that. As far as being the fourth time I've been switched or something, what I've done at tackle the beginning of this spring has helped me learn more of the offense as far as tight end goes. Like, I know what everybody else is doing. It's easier for blocking and routes. I'm still rusty on the routes, but I can fix that by just going in the office and getting coached up."

  Are you going to keep the No. 68 jersey, just in case?

"Nah, I'm getting rid of that."

  Is it frustrating to go back and forth?

"It's frustrating as a player, but I play on a team. I'm trying to help this team out as best I can. I know I can play here, so I'm going to take it as it goes, take what life gives me."

  So you're cool with this?

"I'm cool with it. It's for a team, as I've been saying, and I've played tight end so it's not like I don't know what I'm doing at tight end."

  So what weight do you have to get to?

"A couple of pounds less. I'm not really trying to make any drastic drops, because I've still got my speed. I'm up there. I'm just a bigger tight end."

  They said it this was permanent, but do you think we'll be talking to you in the fall about your switch back to tackle?

"No. I don't know, they told me it's a permanent switch so..."

  How many times have they told you it's a permanent switch?

"A couple times. I'm just doing it for the team. I'm not a selfish person. But I do want what's best for me and at tackle or at tight end I can see a future."

Bruin Report Online Top Stories