UCLA’s defense begins to take shape under Bill McGovern

LOS ANGELES — Linebacker Bo Calvert and defensive back Stephan Blaylock have experienced the highs and lows that have come on the road to helping Coach Chip Kelly turn UCLA back into a formidable team in the Pac-12 Conference.

Both Calvert and Blaylock decided to take advantage of their fifth year of eligibility, provided by the NCAA in 2020 as a result of the pandemic, with the mindset of helping the Bruins reach the postseason.

The super seniors will have to reach that goal while learning from a new defensive coordinator for the first time in their college careers.

Bill McGovern was brought on as the Bruins’ defensive coordinator, following the resignation of Jerry Azzinaro, who spent the last four seasons in the position.

McGovern has worked as a linebackers coach for the Philadephia Eagles, New York Giants, and Chicago Bears during his career.

“He treats us like we are a professional program,” Calvert said. “(We’re) able to come in and have guys be responsible for themselves. … With other, programs you have to coddle guys and worry about them but we don’t have that here.”

Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson has noticed the defense coming into its own under McGovern.

“I think their overall message (from what I’ve interpreted) is to be ‘attacking,’” Thompson-Robinson said. “That’s definitely what they’ve been doing every day. They’re trying to get the ball from us, forcing us to carry it higher and forcing me to put the ball in better positions.”

Thompson-Robinson also mentioned that the defense will benefit from having more senior leadership on the field again from players like Calvert and Blaylock.

“I think when you set expectations for yourself, you raise your level of play physically and mentally,” Blaylock said at Pac-12 media day. “We want to be great and bring this program back to be something greater than it was …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

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