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Spaulding Report: Brett Hundley's UCLA Football Legacy and Making Diamonds With Pressure

Jordan Payton, Brett Hundley, and Eric Kendricks spoke with the media today after practice about meeting their next "opponent". Yes, it's rivalry week for us. But the Bruin football team continues to focus on "controlling their own destiny".

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Today some new reporters were in the crowd asking questions and really pushing our players on the ASU loss and the possibilities it created for UCLA.  The players refused to take any of the bait.  Instead our Bruins talked about the next opponent and how they are focused on playing their best football to date.

Brett Hundley was asked to speak about the legacy he might leave at UCLA should the Bruins win this week.   With a victory over Southern Cal, Hundley will have led UCLA to three straight victories over u$c.  This is something that neither Gary Beban nor Troy Aikman were able to do.  The only UCLA quarterback to accomplish this was Cade McNown.  "It would mean a lot to be able to look back and say I've been undefeated against Southern Cal".  But what really matters to Brett right now is "us" getting the victory.  Brett, like me, woke up to the news that ASU lost the game to OSU.  When asked, he said it feels great to have it the team's destiny "back in our hands",  not having to rely on what others do.  He says that the Bruins are the same team that lost to the Ducks and the Utes, but that they have learned and grown, especially when it comes to making mistakes, like penalties.  With regards to Southern Cal, Brett praises Kessler and talks a bit about being prepared for their pressure.  "We just have to do our jobs."

Here is the complete interview:

A huge thank you to Ryan Kartje of the OC Register for these videos.

Eric Kendricks is clearly excited to play Southern Cal this week and when pressed as to whether he is more excited about this game than "controlling their own destiny" after ASU's loss, Eric replied "we always control our destiny" (snap), impressing the reporter and me.   Eric talks about Southern Cal's up tempo offense and that he remembers the two tackles he missed last year against Southern Cal.  I don't think he will let that happen again.   When asked, Kendricks acknowledges that the stakes have risen but UCLA just needs to focus and come out and "play our game", controlling their own game by doing things like they did in the last game, reducing penalties. Kendricks talks about Kessler and working on applying pressure and then switches back to UCLA: "We're resilient... we play with our hearts and a lot of emotion".

Here is the full interview:

"The diplomat" Jordan Payton speaks about the UCLA mindset as they get ready for "this opponent".  The mindset is to continue to play football, to do what they have been doing the last four weeks, to develop, and to correct their mistakes.  When pushed about this game he moves away from talking about "this opponent", instead saying:  "we know we have to win each week." Jordan knows that ASU losing does not matter unless UCLA wins.  He says that the bye week has helped  get everyone back and that it has allowed team to continue developing the offense and the young guys.  When asked about this week's game Jordan says, "our opponent is really athletic".  Again, he brings it back to what UCLA needs to do and what they have been able to do these last few weeks.  Jordan is really happy that the team finally matured to the point where penalties were not an issue in the last game, especially after talking about it week after week.  He is not assuming penalties will be an issue this week either, and with a grin says: "we're going to have no penalties".  Payton says that:

Every single week has been the biggest game of my life, of our lives...  We're looking forward to "this opponent"...  It's about coming out and playing the best game we've ever played and I think that's the mentality we've had every single week, after our losses.

There is a lot of pressure needing to win every week, especially in college football when one loss is not okay.

Pressure makes diamonds or it can burst pipes. For us it's been making some diamonds for us these past couple of weeks, so we're trying to make another one this week.

About last year's victory of "this opponent":  "I remember a win and I remember being happy."  I think we all remember it that way too!

Here is the complete interview with Jordan:

Again, thank you Ryan Kartje for the use of these videos.

In other news, The Bruin is finally being cared for the way it ought to be:

Ryan Kartje discusses the key match-up, UCLA's defensive backs against Southern Cal's Nelson Agholor who some say has been the best receiver in the nation the last two weeks:

Few quarterbacks lean on their lead receiver like Kessler has leaned on Agholor. The Trojan wideout has caught 34 percent of Kessler's passes and accounted for 37 percent of his passing yards.

If the Bruins can find a way to slow him down, Southern Cal's offense will have to find some new ways of moving the ball down field.

Brett Hundley left his Arizona home at 3 a.m. Sunday morning to join in the annual Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles' 5K walk/run. As you know Brett has been using his platform to help fight to end epilepsy, a condition that has affected his sister, Paris, throughout her life.  From The Daily Bruin:

The Hundley family name, and #TeamHundley, have come to represent more than football. They have become synonymous with a team of people throughout the world fighting to find a cure for epilepsy. And as Brett Hundley’s name continues to rise in the college football ranks and possibly to the NFL, the rise in awareness for epilepsy will carry on with him.

Lastly, it is still not too late to join the Count on Me Foundation Tuesday night at the L.A. Kings game.  You can enjoy the "suite" life with Rafer Johnson and others for food, drink, fun, while watching the Championship Kings take on the Florida Panthers. If you are interested you can purchase your ticket(s) here.

Have a great evening, and as always...

Go Bruins!  Beat $c!