Robert Thomas Responses

Oct. 19, 2001

Ron Prady (Fredericksburg, VA)
What's up Rob? This is Coach Prady. Just wanted to let you know that I got that job we discussed last year. We are 4-1 and doing ok. I've been watching you all year. Having a great year man, keep it up. We have gotten 4 of your games back here on the East Coast. Good luck and reply only if you get time. Later on Rob.

'Hey coach! What's up? It's good to hear from you. I'm glad to hear that you got that job because I know how hard you worked for it. It was something I knew you always wanted to do. I remember the fun we enjoyed in high school when you used to coach me. I'm very glad to hear you are doing well. I'm staying focused on football and just trying to have a good year. I want to wish you the best of luck and I'm sure we'll talk later.'

Karen Shum (Hacienda Heights, CA)
Hi Robert! It's been exciting watching you excel at your position. Great games so far and keep up the good work! It seems like the defense is having a lot of fun playing each game. What is the difference between this year's defense and the past years? Why has there been such a remarkable turn around? And should I be prepared to buy tickets on January 3? Go Bruins!

'The difference between this year's team and the teams in previous years is pretty much just the attitude. It's basically the same personnel, but with the attitude we've taken this year, the senior leadership and the experience, guys are willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. We set the standard every week in practice to get better and we just want to be one of the best defenses in the country. In regards to your second question, we still have a long way to go, but I would say you definitely should buy tickets for Jan. 3 because we are planning on being there. But we need to take it one game at a time.'

Junior Saldivar (Anaheim, CA)
How important is it to you to finish your career with a win against USC in your last game against them?

'Just being a senior and finishing off my career against USC is something I'm definitely looking forward to. They have beaten us the last two years and that is something we are going to prevent this year. Especially since all of the seniors are determined to go out on top.'

April Gonzales (Los Angeles, CA)
How do you feel about the general positive response from the media and Bruin fans about UCLA's defense this season?

'It's outstanding! It's something that we have really worked hard for and it's something I feel that we really deserve as well. We've been working hard week in and week out trying to make big plays to make it exciting for the fans. It's something that we take pride in and feel good about.'

Gary Duncan (Valencia, CA)
Congratulations on another great season so far. I've enjoyed watching you play the last few years, I look forward to following you in the pros. It seems like Phil Snow has brought the whole coaching package this year for you guys. From what I've read, he's been able to teach fundamentals on tackling and teach concepts and schemes all in one off-season. No disrespect to past coordinators, but has there been a big coaching difference between him and past coordinators that you've played for? Or is the injury bug (or lack thereof) a bigger factor in the defense this year?

'First off, I would like to say that all of our past defensive coordinators were all great. Aliotti and coach Field were great, and I didn't have the opportunity to play for coach Long but I heard he was great too. It wasn't really as much them as it was the injuries and youth of our defenses. The players are the one who ultimately have to go out there and execute the plays. The coordinators just design the defense to run. This year, we just have a different attitude. We feel like we can't give up any points because that's what great defenses do. Coach Snow has done a great job. He has an attacking defense and that is something that I really like.'

With the numerous great defensive players who played at UCLA, is there a UCLA defensive player or players who you pattern your play after?
P.S. Keep up the great work. I enjoy watching you and the entire defense in action.

'I really don't pattern myself after anybody. I try to have my own style of play and make myself exciting to watch. I've watched a lot of great linebackers in the NFL and we've had a lot of great UCLA linebackers here that are playing in the NFL. But I set my standard a little bit higher and I want to be better to make myself standout. However, I have a lot of respect for the past linebackers here because they were great.'

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