UCLA football offensive lineman Duke Clemens spoke to reporters following Tuesday morning’s fall camp session. Clemens talked about working with a familiar group of veterans, what it’s like playing alongside another center in Sam Marrazzo, the balance between cutting and gaining weight and how he works as the line’s main communicator.
Offensive line coming together?
It’s coming together very well, a lot of mature guys, a lot of guys that have played ballgames, so it’s just like, this is my fourth camp, a lot of guys’ fifth, maybe third camp, so we just kind of know what to expect already. It’s more now trying to get the mental part of the game down, working situations and things like that.
New guys, Raiqwon?
He’s doing good, he’s picking it up pretty fast. It’s always going to be hard like coming to a new program and trying to learn a whole new playbook, but we’re all helping him, coaches are helping him, he’s communicating with us and stuff, so it’s been good, he’s been picking it up pretty well.
Playing more guard with Marrazzo back? Switching off?
Yeah, it’s just like we’re all getting reps where we need to be for practice whether it’s at center, guard, wherever—mostly center, though.
Any reps at tackle?
Not yet, we’ll see. We’ll see. Not yet.
Working with the nutritionist Mafi was talking about?
Yeah. So for me, I’m a little different from Mafi, I’m more like the gains part of it so I need to keep eating what they have upstairs for us and just keep staying hydrated. It’s pretty simple stuff, you just, staying consistent with it is the biggest part.
What are they feeding you?
Um, it’s all good food, I can’t even name out one, it’s all really good, straight from the hotel, so.
Guys riding you that you get to gain instead of cut?
We all choose who we are, I guess. They have a process they have to go through and I have a process I have to go through. It’s honestly, they’re both hard, you know? If you have to lose or you have to gain weight, it’s not a very easy process.
How many calories a day?
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Maybe 4,000, 3,000, it’s around there.
What did you need to work since last season?
I think I’ve improved more my mental game, I’d say like knowing where I need to go for plays and being able to get there and like block them, like going to the second level and things like that, I feel like that was the biggest thing I learned to grow and I’m still working on is like being able to stay on blocks and always knowing where I’m going.
How different is center from guard?
So like the center, you have to know what everyone is doing and everyone goes off your calls, if that makes sense, so if you mess up then everyone else messes up, I guess, so just like always getting in film and knowing what the play is and where the blocking scheme is and where to block and things like that.
How is it working with Marrazzo going over plays?
It’s been good, we rely on each other a lot. Like, if I don’t know something I’ll ask him, if he doesn’t know something or needs refreshing he’ll ask me, so it’s been good working with him. If I see something that the coach doesn’t quite see, then I can tell him. If he sees something that the coach doesn’t see, then he can tell me so it’s just great just getting each other better.
How much are your calls what you want to do versus what you see from the defense?
So like, most of our calls, uh, how do I describe this? I feel that the call that’s in, it works for whatever defense, it’s just on us to be able to make those adjustments. The coaches provide us with the information to get the job done against anything, it’s just up to us if we can use the knowledge we gained and apply it to the field.
On the center to communicate the blocking calls with QB and RB?
Oh, yes. It’s important to communicate that and make sure the whole line gets it and everyone, the quarterback, running back, everyone has to be bit in to our blocking scheme and where we’re going so we’re all on the same page.
How much film work does it take to recognize those keys?
I mean, it’s been going on for four years, four years of film, I guess and then like now you just look at different things as you grow and get better, I guess so like me, I try to look at more of like defensive structure, things like that, to see where the blitzes are coming from so that’s where I’m at, so I do need to watch a lot of film, of course, but I just can focus mostly on that part of the film aspect.
Giving advice to young guys who weren’t here in the spring like Sam Yoon?
Guys like Sam Yoon, he’s doing really well. If I had advice for him, it’s like, keep working hard. That’s the only thing you can do, like mess up fast. That’s the biggest thing for young guys coming in here not really knowing what to expect, things like that, just go 100%, give all your effort and the coaches will correct you from there.
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