WATCH: Darius Muasau on Direction of UCLA’s Defense, Tackling Issues

The Hawaii transfer went in-depth on how the Bruins have been missing too many tackles, as well as how they’re trying to fix that shortcoming.

UCLA football linebacker Darius Muasau spoke with reporters following Tuesday morning’s practice session at the Wasserman Football Center. Muasau talked about how the Bruins are working to shore up their tackling, what he expects to see from Colorado’s offense on Saturday, the direction of the defense and how he communicates with defensive coordinator Bill McGovern while he is up in the box.

How are you feeling about how you and the defense are playing?

For the most part, I’d say our defense is doing fairly well. There’s some parts of the game that we have to fix, but that’s the game of football, you’re not gonna be perfect, you’re always gonna have some things to fix. So and one of our biggest things, I’d say, is tackling. We gotta tackle, we gotta make sure we always bring that ball-carrier down and that’s one of the things we’re working on throughout this whole week.

Working on it more than usual?

Not more than usual, I’d say, but more emphasis on the, I would say, like with certain drills. We’re doing more drills, I would say, and during our team periods, we’re just emphasizing getting – just the fundamentals – getting your hips down and just being prepared to tackle.

Missed tackles showing up on film?

Yeah, that’s one thing that I saw. I mean, I know the coaches saw it too, but me personally, I know from my game, I saw there’s a bunch of tackles I know I could make but I obviously didn’t make. And same thing for the whole defense, there’s a bunch of tackles, missed tackles, missed opportunities on the field that I know that we can make.

Started looking at Colorado film yet?

Yes, we have.

Easy to look at their offensive struggles and feel like you’ve got this?

We don’t really look at that. Everyone in the Pac-12 is a strong contender, so we’re taking this like we’re playing Alabama. So we’re preparing, we have coaches that are instilling a great game plan and we’re just looking to execute better than they do.

Any playmakers standing out?

As far as I watched, I saw that they have two quarterbacks, very talented, both quarterbacks. Different play styles for both, No. 5 and No. 12, so we’re really game planning around them, just trying to execute, like I said. Stopping the pass, making them a one-dimensional team.

South Alabama doing anything that was different from your scouting? More screens?

Ah shoot, we were prepared for everything, but it’s just that we were getting out-executed, I would say, in the first half and the beginning of the second. They were just outplaying us at that point and our coaches had to come in, we had to make a change if we wanted to win this game and that’s when the whole defense got together, we bought into each other and we played for each other. And that’s how we ended up just coming out with that win.

More of an approach change than a technical change?

Yeah. Yeah, cause we all saw it on film. We knew what they ran, we knew they was coming with the screens, they used their big personnels, their big bodies and tight ends to use as run blockers, things like that. We know that we were prepared for everything, it’s just that we weren’t executing, and that was the difference that we did, we just started to execute better in that fourth quarter, I would say. That’s when we started to step up.

How does Bill McGovern communicate with you guys while he’s up in the box?

We haven’t needed to get on the phone yet, but I’m pretty sure he told me that whenever he needs to talk to me, he’ll talk to me through the phone. But right now, these past three games, he’s been just communicating through our position coaches and they tell us the information they see from up in the box.

What’s JonJon like to play with?

Man, whoever I’m in there with, whether it be JonJon or Choe or Kain, whoever I’m in there with, I know I have a reliable person to the left and to the right of me. And also with my D-line and with my DBs. So I feel comfortable with whoever I’m in there with because we all go through the same preparation, we all make sure we’re always on the same page in the film room. So yeah, I’m always comfortable.

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