Bullough on the Defense, Tackling

UCLA Defensive Coordinator Chuck Bullough talked after the game about the lapses in the defense and the poor tackling, and what they need to do to correct the situation. We also talked to Cal's QB, Kevin Riley, about reading UCLA's defensive secondary...

Defensive Coordinator Chuck Bullough answered questions after the Cal game.

What's going on with the tackling?

‘'I don't know, just like you mentioned to me after practice, we talked our tails off all week. So we've just got to go back and make up more tackling drills. We've got to keep going until we get it right.''

Are the tackling drills designed for individual tackling or the kind of group, swarm tackling?

‘'It's actually both. We do 2-on-1s and 1-on-1s.''

What about 11 on 1s?

‘'We do more tacking (in practice) than I've ever been around. All you can do is just keep going back, working on it, working on it, working on it … I want to see if they're stopping the feet. I have to go back and check the video out and see what the technique was, why we're not making the tackle. But we've just got to keep working on it.''

Is there a particular area of the defense that is struggling a little bit more?

‘'Nah, it seemed like … until I study the film to know exactly who had all the missed tackles. Everybody tackles – d-line tackles, linebackers tackle, db's tackle during the week. We've just got to keep going. Like I said, we tackle more than any team I've been around. We've just got to keep going.''

Has this been a year-long problem, or is it just popping up now against Pac-10 opponents?

‘'No, the first three teams we played we were good tacklers and last three games we've played we've been bad tacklers, but there's also been some good backs in the last three games. Whether it's the backs or whatever, eventually you have to be able to tackle those guys to be successful. We just have to go back and keep pounding it as a staff – keep tackling, tackling, tackling.''

The defense seems to overrun a lot of plays …

‘'Nah, we had guys, we just didn't make the tackle in the holes. They've got to keep … I don't know how to stress it any more. There's nothing you can do but just go back and keep working on it. You can't not work on it, and you can't go overboard and get guys injured. We were taking guys to the ground this week (in practice), we were doing all that. We've just got to keep going. We've got to make up new drills. We've got a wealth of experience. We've done every drill possible. We have to think of new ones and just keep tackling. …

‘'We have to figure out a way to get better tackling. We have to study the film and see what the problem is. Last week we were stopping our feet, so we have to see if this is the same thing. We just have to keep stressing it. We've been doing tackling every day since day one, you guys have been out there, we do tackling every day. We just have to get better at it, and it falls on us coaches. We have to find a way to make these guys better.''

Cornerback Alterraun Verner got beat on a few plays in the Cal game, so after the game we asked Cal's quarterback Kevin Riley about it…

You guys got Alterraun Verner into some one-on-one situations and weren't shy about going after him, like he was the true freshman on the other side of the formation. Was there something you saw there?

‘'We weren't really going after Verner. It's just kind of the way the read worked out, on that first touchdown. We were reading that safety and he jumped the flat, so you know you had a one-on-one on the outside with him and I just threw the ball in a good spot and Marvin (Jones) made a good play.

‘'It was the same thing on the other one. It was just one-on-one, they had a single high safety and Marvin (Jones) made a play again. It wasn't designed to go after him, that's just kind of the way it worked out. They did a lot more middle close, one high safety than we expected, and that's the way it worked out.''

So playing the safety on top left him there …

‘'Yeah, it was just a one-on-one matchup and Marv got him deep and made a play. On both of them, they just kind of ended up being one-on-one match ups.''

You guys obviously knew you could take advantage of that …

‘'You know, you kind of look through that stuff all week ... Originally we were trying to go after 22 (Sheldon Price) because we knew Verner was to the field corner and Verner, he's been playing forever … I don't remember when he wasn't playing … and we just ended up making plays. That's just the way the game worked out today.''

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