Having beaten Stanford for the first time in 12 tries, the UCLA Bruins football team began preparations for their next opponent, the Arizona State Sun Devils, yesterday. As usual on a Monday, Chip Kelly met with the media before practice while Odua Isibor and Stephan Blaylock were the players who were interviewed after practice.
Kelly offered his general observations on the Stanford game, which included comments about the team’s maturing being the reason behind the win. On the defense, Kelly noted that “as a group, I think we tackled better.” He was quick to mention that the team only missed 12 tackles for the entire game and that six of those missed tackles came on the last nine defensive plays of the game.
Kelly also commented on the resurgence of Josh Woods.
Josh is just everything you want in a student-athlete here. He’s [got] a three four...three five grade point average. He’s done everything in the classroom and, then, on the field, he’s just had some unfortunate luck. First, it was the shoulder and then the knee and missing the huge chunks of time and the fact that we could get him back. He’s another guy that is developing as the season’s going along because he’s missed such a significant amount of time. Last year, he didn’t play at all for us in my first year because he got hurt in preseason camp. So, the opportunity for him to get out there and continue to put together good days after good days after good days and to see that payoff on the field is awesome. There’s not a harder working kid here.
Here’s Kelly’s full video, courtesy of UCLA Athletics.
Then, after practice, two of the guys who stood out on defense on Thursday spoke to the media. First, it was Odua Isibor and, then, Stephan Blaylock.
Isibor spoke about the difference between the Stanford game and the other games this season. “I think last week we kind of tapped into our true potential,” he said. “I think it just solidified what we know we’re capable of doing. We’ve been confident every game. It’s just we need to act on it.”
When Blaylock was asked if the Stanford game might be a turnaround game for the defense, he replied, “Yes, but I don’t want to rely on the past.”
Let’s hope he’s right.
Thanks to UCLA Athletics for both of yesterday’s interview videos.