WATCH: Bo Calvert talks UCLA growth and new defensive system
UCLA football defenseman Bo Calvert spoke to the media after the first session of the Bruins’ fall camp on Friday. Calvert reflected on the program’s growth over the past five years, talked about a recent trip to the range with the rest of the defense, broke down the additions of defensive coordinator Bill McGovern and outside linebackers coach Ikaika Malloe and shared how the 2021 Holiday Bowl is getting canceled has set the Bruins up for success this fall.
Thinking about how it’s your last first day, the memories and the meaning of it all?
Yeah, I really thought about it, just this whole offseason leading up to it. All the different guys I’ve played here with, the memories I’ve made, the evolution of the program, where we’ve come from so far, the type of guys we have now, changes in personnel of coaches. You know, college football, there’s so much upheaval – turnover – every year, and just to be able to be here, to have the chance to continue playing on this field, it’s a blessing. There have been a lot of tough times here and there have also been a lot of good times, so it’s just good to be here.
Dorian’s growth since the first day you met him?
I think Dorian has always done a good job in terms of how he approaches coming here and working. He played very early – I mean it was either game one or game two of our freshman year, Wilton Speight got injured and Dorian just had to be thrown in there and he’s been playing ever since. How many guys can do that, especially at quarterback, especially in a big Power Five program? So that just shows the type of guy he is. He was new to the quarterback role coming here, it was only like his third year as a quarterback, and he started his freshman year on the opener. Other than that, it’s obvious he’s just working his cock and coming in, going after him. He’s doing a really good job with the guys on the team now, just sharing the love he’s getting from all those NIL deals he’s getting. The amount of growth he achieves financially, he gives back to the team here, so it’s really cool to have a guy like that. Some guys keep all their money, and then there are guys like Dorian who take them on trips and it’s great to have a guy like that.
Did you miss Dorian’s boat trip for the offense?
I was a little disgusted. I sent a funny little message to all the defenders the other day. I went to the beach just before, just to celebrate the end of summer a bit with some of the defensive guys. I took a video and I was like, “Hey, all the defense guys rented the beach.” But yeah, we just had fun with it. It was funny, Dorian knocked out all the offensive guys. So the defense was a bit salty about it, but it’s all good.
Kirkwood brought donuts?
Yeah, Devin brought donuts. They were pretty good, I ate three of them. Big donut, they were good.
They were just iced then sprinkled. Yeah, they were good.
NIL Leader in defense?
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I don’t know, you should check with the guys. But there’s a decent amount of guys signing with sports agents and whatnot, which is crazy to say. Like I heard my freshman year, that obviously would have been illegal, but there are so many guys now who have different offers and so on. And being in LA and being able to play with that market and being able to have all the opportunities here, obviously with Nike and Jordan as well, being able to represent that. I think it offers a lot of opportunities that few other schools have.
Reaction to Dorian’s return?
Yeah, I was pumped. Me and Dorian are in the same class. We were all trying to figure out, at the end of every season, obviously everyone is trying to figure out what they’re going to do next year, what the team will look like, who will stay, all that. So when we started picking up some parts, and obviously we brought in some new guys to help us fill some roles that were vacated. So to be able to have all of those spots in there, and to be able to have a veteran quarterback like Dorian is a big difference, and to be able to have those key positions that we’ve had, I think we We have a really solid team and it’s going to be a good year.
Best chess player – you or Dorian?
Certainly Dorian. Dorian spends a lot more time playing chess. I’m just having a little fun with it, kind of a mess. But Dorian is very serious about it. Dude, he’s very good. He takes his time. There are a lot of guys playing chess, it’s quite funny. There are a lot of very smart guys in the team, on a serious note, and there are a lot of guys who are very competitive, so there are some pretty serious locker room chess matches.
The biggest change Bill McGovern has made?
I would just say that professional mindset. As soon as he arrived, he really treats us like a professional program. The pre-season camp really went like a professional camp. So just being able to come in and have the guys be responsible for themselves. We have a lot of really good people, as I mentioned, on the team that…in other programs you kind of have to coddle the guys or at least just be on top of them and constantly worry about them. You don’t have to worry about that here. Lots of guys who are on top of their game and will get everything they need to get done and more. So I think it’s very special. And being able to combine that with a seasoned coach like Coach McGovern is going to help us a lot.
Consistency from spring to today?
Yes, I think we built a good foundation in the spring. We brought a lot of parts and Coach Malloe took us out to dinner a lot and brought us closer together as a group. We’ve been hanging out and doing things together, and to be able to have a coach like that and a group of guys who really care about each other is special. Obviously it’s a competitive game and guys are always jostling to climb higher in the leaderboards but being able to have a group of guys who really care about you and selfless guys who are always going to give you points coaching and so on and aren’t there to tear you down but to lift you up, that’s a special bond and that’s something that we’ll take from here and have for the rest of our lives, to be able to have the links we have built. To be able to have that support system, especially as a man, to be able to have other very hard working men around you who are able to be there for you, that’s awesome.
Having trouble canceling a bowling match?
Obviously, it was hard. I mean, it was hard for everyone to come in and have it right before the game, kind of realizing that we weren’t going to be able to participate in this, and everything that came before it. Obviously, we had a great season. And so when I look back I’m able to cherish those memories but I can’t wait to get out for next season and go to another bowling game and get back to it and I’m confident that we we can do it. But yeah, excited for this year and obviously last year was what it was, we had a great season, but I’m excited to continue it this year.
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