After practice yesterday, UCLA Bruins offensive linemen Jake Burton and Jon Gaines II met with the media. Both seemed to discuss the overall mindset of the team. It’s a theme Bruin fans are familiar with: Get a little better each day.
Burton explained how the offensive line is pushing to get better each and every day. He said:
All of us...Boss, Chris, Mike, Sam, Raza...we’re all trying to have the same goal. We all realized what it takes to do that. As being one of the older guys, I one of the main things I’ve been attempting to do is really tell us how good we can be if we keep stacking good days on good days. But that’s not just coming for me. It’s coming from me, Boss, Chris, John, Sam...all of us really working together to get that goal.
He also spoke about some of the bonding that the line did over the summer as well as the chess games that the team played during the offseason. He mentioned that Sam Marrazzo was one of the best chess players on the offensive line. “Sam’s good,” Burton said.
Meanwhile, Jon Gaines was asked about his impression of Sean Rhyan. Interestingly, Gaines didn’t talk about Rhyan’s impression on the field. Instead, he shared this story:
I think it’s really good to meet the person too. So, actually last weekend, I went in hung out with Sean for about an hour and a half. He’s probably one of most chill dudes you’ll ever meet. He’s from the beach. He’s from OC. He likes to sit around on the beach and chill. So, it’s good to be around somebody like that.
The video of yesterday’s post-practice interviews is courtesy of UCLA Athletics.
Overall, a lot has been said and written about the team playing chess during the offseason. They’re doing it so they can, as Ben Bolch of the LA Times puts it, “make smart, snappy decisions that they hope will make them appear a step ahead of their opponent....”
Bolch’s article in the Times goes into more detail about the team’s use of the classic strategic game to help improve their in-game thinking. It’s definitely worth checking out.