Ask Coach Toledo

Nov. 2, 2000

Jon Rodriguez (Redondo Beach, CA)
My question is with regards to recruiting. I have noticed that schools such as Oregon and Oregon State Recruit heavily in California and particularly in regards to Junior College Transfers. I attended El Camino College, which has one of the best football teams in the nation on the junior college level. I personally knew and still know some of the players who played for El Camino College, such as Delvon Flowers who now plays for ASU. I also know that UC Berkeley, and Oregon State have former El Camino Football players on their rosters. My question is, will UCLA start recruiting more Junior College players, who tend to have more experience than recent high school graduates, even though they are usually only good for two years at a major university like UCLA. This is just a question I had. I want to thank you for your time and I think that you are an awesome Coach. Go Bruins!

'Well, there are a couple of junior college players that we've looked at, but my priority is really to recruit high school players. I think when you recruit high school players, they create a good morale for the team. When you bring junior college players in they feel that they have to start and then the players that you have left over almost become threatened by them so it's not good for morale. And the other thing is that there is a reason junior college players are there, and often times it has to with the fact that academically they can't qualify for UCLA. It's very hard for us to get players that can get accepted to UCLA out of junior college.'

Donna (Torrance, CA)
Coach Toledo,Keep up the good work! I think that you are doing a great job this season. How do you keep the players motivated and focused? What motivational talks or quotes, movie clips, do you give them before a big game? And what do you say if they lose a big game (hopefully not very many of those talks I hope)? Just curious to know!

'Well there are all types of motivational tools that I use. I think a lot of it depends on the team that we're playing and it depends on what is happening to us at that time. As far as after a game, I just try and find out what happened during the course of the game and then I try to re-emphasize what was good and what was bad and what we have to do in the future. But getting back to the first part of your question, it just depends. There are certain teams I do things for and certain teams that I don't.'

Ray Lopez (Fountain Valley, CA)
Congratulations to you and the team on the great road win at Arizona.Do you think that the PAC 10 should increase the number of players that can travel to away games? If so, could any increase have helped this year's team in light of the number of injuries sustained, especially by the defense? Best of luck against Stanford. Go Bruins!

'I tell you what, a couple of times in the past we've had a hard time actually getting 60 players to travel. One game that comes to mind is Oregon State up in Corvallis a couple of years ago. We could only really find 58 healthy players. And I think the problem with that is because we try to redshirt a lot of the freshmen, therefore once you have injuries at certain positions there's only so many guys you can take. I'd like to be able to bring more players, but I really don't know who I would take to be honest with you.'

Michelle Cook (Tucson, AZ)
I was wondering about your thoughts on Jim Dubose's departure at Alabama. How is it that the 1999 SEC Coach of the Year gets released just one year later? It leads me to believe that the game of college football is more of a business then anything. Would you agree?

'There is no question that the game of college football is a business. There is a lot of money involved. You have to win and unfortunately it's not just a game anymore. The alumni, the season ticket holders, the media and the internet - all these people have gotten involved and college football has become a big business. When you look at it, half the teams on the weekend are sad and half the teams are happy. And when the season is over, very few of them are happy. And if you look at undefeated teams, there are very few. But to answer the question about Dubose, I think it went beyond the coaching field. He's had some off-the-field problems and I think that might have caught up with him at the end.'

Shana Casey (San Francisco, CA)
How do you control a player like Freddie Mitchell? When I say control, I mean it in reference to his very exciting life outside of football. He has a very likeable and energetic personality and that has given him the opportunity to do a lot of things that most college football players don't get to do. How do you make sure that it doesn't interfere with football? Or do you have to say anything to him at all?

'I'm constantly talking to Freddie and the rest of our football team about their personal life. I try to educate them about what's right and what's wrong. I can control them on the field. I can bench them and I can talk to them about doing things they shouldn't do. But when their off the campus and in their personal life, all I can hope for is that I've educated them well enough to do what's right. To answer the question, you can't watch 100 guys 24 hours a day and you just hope that they don't embarrass themselves or our university.'



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