UCLA football offensive lineman Tyler Manoa spoke to reporters after Sunday morning’s fall camp session. Manoa talked about how comfortable he is in his new position after switching from the defensive side of the ball in the spring, his relationship with Atonio Mafi and how he adjusts when he realizes he’s not in the right space.
How is everything going?
Oh man, everything went really well. Definitely some up days and some down days, but just at the end of the day, just try to learn from those mistakes that are made and just try to move forward and just try to execute and just be better the next day.
Comfort level in OT?
Man, I don’t know if I can answer that, but I feel good right now. Just the group of guys in the room, they’ve helped me a lot. Coach Drev has helped me a lot, just seeing those extra reps and really improving those techniques and stuff because, as you know, offensive line is really a technical position. So just every day, just trying to hone in on those little key techniques and just trying to go out there and execute and be better.
Is the mental part of it as difficult as the physical part of the transition?
I mean, yes. You definitely need to go out with the right mindset every day. I can honestly say I had a rough day the other day and my space was not in the right zone. And every day after that, I’ve just been trying to go into the meets with the right mindset, whether it’s before practice, and then just throughout practice, just try to have a good mindset throughout the whole thing, just to encourage and go.
You and Mafi support each other, both move from DL to OL?
You know, Mafi and I have been together since the first day we got here, so I mean, yeah, I definitely talk to him a lot and he definitely lets me know what’s on his mind. But at the end of the day, we’re here, we’re brothers, and we’re here to hold each other up, so we do a good job of doing that.
Impressed by Mafi’s body transformation?
You know, that’s just dedication on his part. I mean, that was all him. I mean, there were a lot of people telling him that if he lost weight, he would make some big strides in his game, and that’s exactly what he did. He took it into his own hands and lost that weight and you can say, man, get ready on September 3rd.
Encouraging the mob along the way?
Well, I mean, he’s his own person and whatever he sets his mind to, he goes and does it. And that’s just with school and football, so that’s definitely something that I admire and care about.
How do you try to fix things when you’re not in the right space? Someone you go to or talk to?
I mean, that day, I don’t think I really realized it until after practice and I watched film and I really noticed, like I was in a funk. But really, you know, just these last couple of days, I was just trying to lean on the other guys and, you know, just start practice with good energy and just try to be a motivation for somebody else, whether it’s the younger guys or the older guys and I definitely watch this throughout practice just to get some motivation, keep going and finish strong.
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Raiqwon giving you advice?
The man, you know, I definitely – you know, he’s got a lot of experience, coming from Rutgers and I definitely ask him a lot of questions. Like I said, he’s very technical, so I ask him a lot of questions, just to see where his mind is at and then see what coach Drev has to offer and then just a little bit of work and just see what it works better. And I think they all help each other so we can figure out what the best technique is for someone.
Offensive line schemes a bit complex?
Yeah, coming from the defense, it was definitely a big change, but, you know, we just have to study things at home after it’s all done and we leave the building and it’s really up to you if you want to take that next step and study in yourself. So that’s something I’ve been trying to do, just taking it into my own hands and I study so I can take those steps.
Like a light that turns on when you pick it up?
Um, I mean, maybe for the other guys since they’ve been in the system for a while, but for me, it’s all coming, but it gets complicated. But, you know, then I have to process those things and ask questions so I can figure those things out for myself.
Where have you made the biggest jump from spring so far?
You know, just being comfortable. I mean, yeah, I go out there and sometimes there might be some mistakes, but I mean, at the end of the day, just trying to learn from that mistake and move on to the next game.
Is Drevno stressing the same things as Coach Frye?
Look, I wasn’t in that room when Coach Frye was here, but I mean, Drev – I can’t answer that, I can’t answer that, I wasn’t in the room with Coach Frye.
How did you like working with him?
You know, Coach Frye – I mean, Coach Drev, you know, he was just really welcoming. Uh, I don’t know, he’s helped me a lot, that’s all I can say really, he’s definitely helped make this transition smooth, like I said with all the other guys. But yes, coach Drev has helped me a lot.
What are your thoughts on what the O-line can do?
You know, we’re still putting things together, we still have two weeks until game day and, you know, we’re going to continue to work every day these next two weeks and we’re going to be ready for September 3rd.
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