WATCH: Bo Calvert on Leaving Losses Behind, Preparing for Stanford

After losing to Oregon for the fourth time in his career, Calvert is trying to help UCLA improve to 3-2 against Stanford since he arrived.

UCLA football edge rusher Bo Calvert spoke with the media following Tuesday morning’s practice session at Wasserman Football Center. Calvert talked about how defending Tanner McKee differs from defending Bo Nix, the balance of academics and athletics in Westwood, what it means to play an academically-renowned opponent, running backs coach DeShaun Foster’s impact on the team and how the Bruins plan to learn from the Oregon loss ahead of Saturday’s matchup with Stanford.

Easier for the defense to defend Tanner McKee since Stanford’s plays don’t develop as quickly as Box Nix and Oregon’s?

I don’t know (if it’s) necessarily easier, it’s just a different style, it’s a different way you gotta play, different things you gotta do to attack that style of offense. I think you just gotta kinda turn the page and realize we’re not playing Oregon, we’re playing Stanford. And so you’re gonna have to attack each team differently and so we’re looking forward to getting after Stanford and utilizing our strengths against theirs. And obviously, they’re a very well-coached team, they got good players and they got smart guys that go to Stanford, you know what I mean? So they do their job well and we just gotta do our job better.

Out-Stanfording Stanford in a way by being top 12 and having the ‘Books and Ball’ mentality?

As far as, like academics, you’re saying?

Putting everything together

Yeah, obviously books and ball are huge here at UCLA. UCLA, No. 1 public school in the world, so it’s extremely demanding on that academic side, as well as the athletic side. You know, UCLA, champions made here, that’s the thing that they harp on. And so we want to be elite in everything we do, that’s something Martin Jarmond preaches and stands by and I stand by as well. I wanna be elite and the guys out here on this team that we’re surrounded with wanna be elite in the things they do. So we take that into consideration in anything we do. Coach Kel always says ‘How you do the small things is how you do all things,’ so just taking pride in everything that you do, whether that’s, you know, being the best reader in your classroom or if that’s being the best guy in the weight room or being the person to hold the door for somebody at the hotel, just taking pride in all those things, I think that’s what makes somebody great, is not allowing yourself to slack in one part of your life. If you wanna be great, you have to be great in all things.

How valuable is DeShaun Foster to the culture you have here?

Yeah, coach Foster’s awesome. He’s always been a very uplifting guy, a guy who helps you to kinda develop yourself as a player and as a person. He’s there to kinda be a – obviously he played here, he’s a legend here, and so he knows how the games goes and he knows how UCLA is in and out and he’s somebody that we rely on heavily as players here. And obviously he’s developed extreme talent at the running back position, but his influence goes far past just the running backs, I think. He does a great job of getting guys to keep their heads straight and uplifting us when we’re doing things right and making sure we correct things we’ve done wrong.

Feel the difference on the field going against a team that has high academics?

Yeah, I think – I mean, to play at the elite level, you gotta be a smart guy as far as a football player and, I would argue, if you can get somebody who’s academically gifted – and obviously they have to have the talent physically – but if you combine those two things, that makes a formidable opponent and that makes a good football player. So when you go against a team like Stanford, you go against a team like UCLA – a lot of schools, really good schools, SC’s also a good school, to be honest with you – and the guys that go to those schools are just smart players, they understand the fundamentals of the game and they understand how to play the game right, they understand where they’re supposed to be. So you’re not gonna beat a guy because he’s doing the wrong thing, you gotta beat a guy cause youre doing the right thing and you beat him with your understanding of the game, your preparation and your execution.

Coach said all three levels of the defense had issues against Oregon, but that they are correctable – what are the corrections you need to make to overcome that?

I think just playing well as a unit, as a group. We gotta play together, we gotta have what we talked about, better communication, something that we’ve been harping on, hustling and running to the ball and just playing football the right way. I think there was some times, obviously, that you can’t pin it on one player, one person, one group. Guys made great plays and guys had plays that they wish they coulda done better and that’s gonna happen in every game and that’s gonna happen, especially in losses, when you’re gonna look back and think ‘Man, I wish I coulda done that better.’ But I guess that’s the good thing about football is that you’re able to correct those things. One game doesn’t define you, and so allowing yourself to realize the strengths that you have and the things you need to improve and work on that every single day and taking pride in those things and not letting yourself hang your head down and think it’s all over because you can come out and correct those things again. That’s what we’re trying to do out here and I think that’s the mindset we’re carrying into this week.

How hard is it to separate leaving a loss behind from learning from the mistakes in a loss?

Yeah, I think that’s a very tough thing as a football player, that’s the thing that separates guys who kind of have one loss determine their season or have one bad play kind of take them out of a game. You gotta be very – have very short-term memory in football, but you also have to be able to remember those plays. So yeah, that dichotomy of flushing the last play but then remembering ‘Hey, that’s what I did wrong, I gotta correct on this next play, I need to do this technique.’ So working to the point where you can play fast but you can also remember what you’re doing. Early on in my career here, coach Pellum did a great job with that, as far as shaping my mindset, just helping me. I would come off the field, he would make me kinda reiterate every single thing that happened that play and being able to visualize what’s happening. And that helps you, in the moment, to realize ‘Hey, I gotta get in this gap, this thing happened, I’m doing this. When I come out the next play, they might try to do this and so I’m gonna try and correct that.’ But yeah, working with that, that’s the tough thing of football, but that’s what you’re always trying to improve.

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