WATCH: Jon Gaines II Talks Hydration, UCLA-Bowling Green Prep

The Bruins’ interior line will be anchored by Gaines and other returning veterans, but 100-degree forecast Saturday could call for extra subs.

UCLA football offensive lineman Jon Gaines II spoke to reporters following Wednesday morning’s practice session. Gaines talked about preparing for the heat at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, supporting the walk-ons who earned scholarships, how right tackle Garrett DiGiorgio has grown over the past year and the importance of bonding during team karaoke. 

Ready for the heat?

Of course, yeah. Hydration’s key. It’s hot right now, so it’s not going to be that different, you know? You’ve just got to hydrate.

Anything else?

Hydrate, take care of your body. The thing is, we talked about the preparation starts now and it started months ago—you know, you take care of your body, you get in the habit that when you get to game day it will be easier because you’ve built up those habits to the point where you’re prepared now to go out on Saturday.

Conditioning staff monitoring your hydration ahead of Saturday?

Yeah, of course. They’ve been checking that for as long as I’ve been here, so it’s a constant thing throughout the season and the off-season too, always try to make sure we’re hydrated and we go hard here in the off-season—I would say sometimes even harder than during the season, so they’re always trying to monitor our hydration to make sure we’re at the peak physical state.

How many gallons do you drink a day?

I’ve got like a 64-ounce hydro flask, get like four or five of those a day.

200 and something ounces?

Keep on track, you know. Gotta stay on track.

Optimistic about the O-line Saturday?

I’m really excited. You know, we’ve been preparing this whole time, have a lot of guys that are ready to contribute and we’re just ready to go out there and show what we’ve been working on. I think at the end of the day, I think it’s the whole thing with the team as well—we’re just really excited to go out there, we’ve been going really hard, camp was really fun and we’re just ready to get out there on Saturday.

DiGiorgio growth since last year and during camp?

Yeah, that was the first thing I was going to say is growth. Garrett has really taken a step into that starting role and just being able to be next to him and watch him grow in time, I see a lot of Alec in him—Alec was one of his best friends while he was here and they still talk all the time and you can see a lot of young Alec in him and being here and having been friends with younger Alec, watching him develop, now like being able to see Garrett grow in the same way I can see he’s growing and getting better every single day.

Celebration for walk-ons getting scholarships?

Yeah, it was crazy. Coach Kelly called them all up and I was sitting like—we all went crazy, of course. Yeah, we’re really excited, those are all our guys so we love to see hard work pay off.

One at a time, brought them up and said they had scholarships?

Yeah, he brought them all up together, we finished the day, it got like right before we left to go home and he said, ‘These guys, through their hard work and dedication, they’ve been on full scholarship.’ It was crazy, yeah.

Surprise unveiling, only said what it was about after calling them up?

Yeah, just like that. We didn’t know—I’ve been here long enough that I’ve seen it happen a couple of times so I had a feeling, like I started standing up and I was real happy, yeah.

Karaoke nights after camp?

Yeah, I think it’s a really big thing in like fostering brotherhood here because you’ve got to be vulnerable around your family and I think it’s such like a, it’s a really masculine, really violent sport, right, and then sometimes you can kind of take your shield down, just be loose and be around your guys and it shows that we’re really friends, we’re like brothers and that brings us closer together and then also be super competitive. Like, they had a vote—the outside backers won, but the O-line for sure won. They know it too.

What did the O-line sing?

Burn by Usher.

Offense’s identity?

I think it’s sustain the offense of the team in general, like dominate. Last year, through interviews last year, it was all about execution, right? We have to take a step up from that. You know, executing gets you to 8-4 and we want a lot more than that and that comes from dominating the line of scrimmage from the start.

Move to Big Ten after you leave?

I’m excited for the young guys. It would have been cool because my family could have come to more games but I won’t be here, but I’m really excited for them. New opportunity, I know they’re gonna do the most with it.

How’s your dad doing?

He’s doing really well. He got his stitches out of his incision and he’s doing really well now.

Will your dad be there Saturday?

Nah, he won’t be there Saturday. I think SC week is probably going to be the first week—it’s hard to coordinate with work but he might be here for more games now. My mom’s coming for the second game, so I’m excited to see her. 

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