Ask Coach Toledo

Nov. 9, 2000

William Ayala (Arcadia, CA)
I've noticed that on third and long situations defensively, Tony Whiteand Robert Thomas are taken out of the game. Being the two best linebackers in the league aside from Ryan Nece, is there any reason we would do this?

'The reason we do it is because we try to match up personnel with the opponent. When they put in three and four wide receivers and sometimes a fifth, we want to have more speed on the field. Those guys are good run stoppers. Robert Thomas has stayed in during some nickel situations, but we feel in order to matchup we need people with more speed and that's why we play with more DB's than linebackers.'

Alex Aragon (Elk Grove, CA)
What happened to the trick plays you put in every game a few years ago?It was exciting to expect UCLA to run a 'razzle-dazzle' play at the right time. Are you getting conservative in your play calling? You were so successful both offensively and defensively when you kept the opponent guessing.

'I don't know how much you're paying attention because we constantly have some type of trick play in the game. Whether it's a reverse or a pass off the punt formation, we are constantly doing something each game.'

Jason Redrick (Philadelphia, PA)
I know it's very early and I don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves with two more regular season games to play, but what can you tell us about next year? I'm hearing that since we have a lot of players returning, we will be ranked very high. One radio station on the East Coast said UCLA could be ranked No. 1. What do you think?

'Well if you look at our football team right now, we have three seniors starting on offense in Gabe Crecion, Oscar Cabrera and Brian Polak. We feel that we have some capable replacements for them next year. If you look at our defense, we have Tony White, Jason Zdenek and Jason Bell. We also have some people coming back that we feel can play there as well. With Kenyon Coleman appearning to come back for his redshirt year, we feel we have a chance to be an even stronger football team next year because of the experience and the depth. If Cory Paus stays healthy we'll be good and our kicking game is very strong. Those things don't guarantee success, but it provides us with a very good football team.'

Andrea Garrett (Los Angeles)
Heading up to Washington this week, would you say Husky Stadium is the toughest place to play in the Pac-10? I know Oregon is loud too.

'I think both are extremely difficult places to play. What happens is that you can't hear the snap count and not everyone gets off at the same time and you have people jumping offsides. You just become very tentative in those situations. When we played in Oregon, we didn't have the weather problem that we'll have in Seattle. The stadium is right on the bay there and it will be very cold and very damp.'



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