Maiava: "We Have to Pick it Up"

Kai Maiava

Starting (but injured) center Kai Maiava provided his analysis of the issue with the offensive line and the offense, citing cohesion as the primary factor. He also talked about the state of his ankle sprain...

Coach Rick Neuheisel expressed his displeasure with the UCLA offense after practice on Monday, threw out a challenge to compete, to play harder, smarter and with more intensity. The Bruins might think they are playing hard now, but Kai Maiava played a year of college football at Colorado, in the Big 12, and has something to compare to this spring with the Bruins.

He was asked what is fast becoming the question of the spring as it relates to the offensive line – about the focus and the energy of the offense - and a few more more.

"At Colorado, our O-line was a little closer, so it felt like we had that companionship and everything. Everybody was on the same page, made sure we were echoing calls. That's something we lack a little bit, but we're getting better at it," Maiava said.

When we do our individual periods, I'm trying to make calls and make sure the guards echo it to the tackles and so forth. Everybody is picking up on it, because the days we do communicate are the days that we actually do good against our defense. It's like a brotherhood – like coach says, it's like five fingers out there you can easily be broken, but if you put them all together and make a fist, you're much stronger."

So that is still a work in progress? Can it happen here?

"All it is, is time. This is the first year that these boys got to have the same coaches. They've been going through a lot of coaching changes and offensive changes. It's just time. We're developing it real well. I'm happy to see we're progressing, but we have to pick it up. Our defense is strong, but our offense is strong, too, and we have to show the coaches that. We have to keep progressing."

It seems like they need someone out there to challenge them more. Is enough being said?

"Well, I'm trying to say something, but I'm not always that clear about it. I express my anger in a different kind of way – with swear words."

Hey, whatever works...

"I'm going to try my best to be a leader out there for everybody. I know the coaches are expecting big things out of me, so I have to do my best to carry that load for everybody and just get this offense rolling."

It seems like you need that before you can get rolling...

"You do. It's all about teamwork. Until we reach that teamwork, the offense can't go anywhere. We're all getting along well, but I'm sure once we stay together until the fall and into the season, it's just going to be nice."

How far is it from happening?

"Shoot, I can't put a percentage on that, but I feel like, maybe 75 percent we're there."

So it's something you'll have to pick up again in the fall?

"I don't know, it's like everybody is on the same page, but like the O-line is on a page and the receivers are on a page. We're not putting it all together, so sometimes we'll be doing it good but the receivers will be doing it wrong and then it will be the opposite sometimes. Once we get that teamwork down and everybody is on the same page, our offense is going to be nice."

So, how is the ankle?

"It's just a minor ankle sprain, just two weeks. I was trying to get back for the spring game, but they said, ‘No.' There's nothing broken, so it's all good. I was just happy it wasn't my knee."

Do you feel like you got enough out of the spring?

"I think I did. The coaches know where I stand now. I think the offensive line is coming along. We're communicating a lot better. Today was kind of slow on our part, just because we threw in a bunch of new offense today and we didn't really have chance to work together as a group to see what everybody got, so everybody was on different pages and stuff."

Have they given you a recovery time on the ankle?

"I'm out for the rest of the spring, unfortunately. I should be 100 percent in two, three weeks. I can already put pressure on it, and that's a good sign."

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