UCLA offensive lineman Tyler Manoa spoke to reporters after the fall camp session Sunday morning. 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 Antonio Maffei and how he adjusts when he realizes he’s not in the right space.
How is everything going with the tackle?
Oh man, it’s going really well. Definitely some good days and some bad days, but at the end of the day just try to learn from the mistakes you make and just try to move on and just try to execute and just be better the next day.
Comfort level with 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 were helping me a lot. Coach Drev was helping me a lot, just watching those extra reps and really honing those techniques and stuff because, as you know, offensive line is a really technical position. So just every day, you’re just trying to perfect those little key techniques and you’re just trying to go out there and perform 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 come into the meets with the right attitude, whether it’s before practice and then just during practice, just trying to have a good attitude the whole time just to encourage and go.
You and Maffi back each other up, both going from DL to OL?
You know, me and Maffy have been together since the first day we got here, so I mean, yeah, I definitely talk to him a lot and he definitely tells me what’s on his mind. But at the end of the day, we’re here, we’re brothers, and we’re here to keep each other level, so we’re doing a good job at it.
Are you impressed with Mafi’s body transformation?
You know, it’s just dedication that he has 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 strides in his game, and that’s exactly what he did. He took it into his own hands and really lost that weight and you can say, man, be ready for September 3rd.
Encouraging Maffi along the way?
Um, I mean, he’s his own man, and whatever he sets his mind to, he goes and does it. And that’s just with school and with football, so that’s definitely something 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, the other day, I don’t think I really realized it until after practice and I watched the film and I really noticed that I was in a funk. But really, you know, just the last few days I’ve just been trying to rely on the other guys and, you know, just going into practice with good energy and just trying to be a motivation for somebody else, whether it’s the younger guys guys or the older guys and I definitely look at that during practice just to get some motivation and keep fighting and finish strong.
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Raiqwon giving you advice?
Man, you know, I definitely — you know, he’s got a lot of experience coming out of Rutgers and I definitely ask him a lot of questions. Just like I said, it’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 can come up with and then just work and see what works best. And I think everyone helps each other so we can figure out what the best technique is for someone.
Offensive line schemes a little complicated?
Yeah, coming from the defense, it was definitely a big change, but, you know, we really have to study things at home after everything is done and we leave the building and it’s really up to you if you want to take that next step and learn on your own. So that’s something I’m trying to do, just take it in my hands and study so I can take those steps.
Like a light that turns on when you get it?
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’s getting complicated. But, you know, then I have to refine these things and ask questions so that I can figure these things out for myself.
Where did you make the biggest jump from spring to now?
Um, you know, just getting comfortable. I mean, yeah, I go out there and sometimes there might be some mistakes, but I mean at the end of the day, I’m just trying to learn from that mistake and move on to the next game.
Ancient emphasizes the same things as Coach Fry?
Look, I wasn’t in that room when Coach Frye was here, but I mean, Drev — I can’t even answer that, I can’t even answer that, I wasn’t even in the room with Coach Frye.
How did you like working with him?
You know, Coach Fry – I mean, Coach Drev, you know, he was really welcoming. I don’t know, he’s been helping me a lot, that’s all I can really say, he’s definitely helped make this transition smooth, just like I said with all the other guys. But yes, coach Drev was helping me a lot.
What do you think about what the O-line can do?
You know, we’re still putting things together, we still have two weeks until the game and, you know, we’re going to continue to work every day for the next two weeks and we’re going to be ready on September 3.
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