Ask Coach Toledo
Oct. 2, 2001
Matthew Bartos (Goleta, CA)
Describe what it is like in the UCLA locker room prior to a game. Are you a real rah-rah coach or do you let your team motivate themselves?
I don't think you should ever let a team motivate themselves. I think that somehow you have to find motivation within the game. I try to set the tone for the game during the week and on Friday night. On Saturday, prior to the game, I pretty much recap the things that I talked about. It's important that some games you have to get emotional about and some games you just shouldn't do it. You can't do the same every week. You have to figure out some games where you have to get real fired up about and others you just don't do it as much.
Jason Jennings (Stillwater, OK)
How much of an emphasis to you put on billboard material? If an opposing coach or player says something negative about UCLA, do you make it a point to let your players know this in hopes of motivating them for the game ahead?
Basically what we do is subscribe to every paper that we play against and we obtain relevant internet material. We let our player be aware of everything that is said in a derogatory tone.
Rick Dansley (El Segundo, CA)
If the NCAA decided next year to impose a playoff situation for the top-8 teams in the country, would you welcome that or do you like how it is set out now with the BCS?
I have always been in favor of a playoff system. Every major sport in Division-IA has a tournament so to speak, and in Division I-AA, every sport, including football, has a playoff tournament. We are the only sport in major intercollegiate athletics that doesn't have a tournament in the end, and I think it needs to happen.
Jessica McDonald (Austin, TX)
Having coached in both California and Texas, how would you rate the talent pool coming out of both of those states? Secondly, where would Florida fit into the mix? I'm sure you would agree that most of the top players in the country come out of those three states.
California and Texas are two of the best states in the country for recruits. Florida has since risen quite well. It used to be California, Texas, and Pennsylvania. Now, it's Florida, but I think all three states have some excellent players. We're obviously going to Florida, where we got Freddie Mitchell. We got a lot of players from Texas, and we have in the past. The basis of our recruitment has to be in California, where a lot of other teams also come to get their players as well.
Steve Keever (Grand Rapids, MI)
I know you cannot talk specifically about any certain players, but how do you feel recruiting is going so far? Do you feel that UCLA had a good chance at landing most of the recruits you are looking at and filling the necessary holes in the lineup?
From the recruiting standpoint, we feel that we're really on top of things. We have 12 verbal commitments at this point, and we'll have a full complement of scholarships available because of the numbers we have in our senior class. You never get everyone you want, but for the most part, we'll fulfill our needs. That's the most important part, to make sure to keep replenishing the positions that you need.