UCLA football quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson spoke to the media after the Bruins’ first session of fall camp Friday. Thompson-Robinson spoke about how it was his last first day, the boat ride he arranged with the rest of the offensive line, how he built his leadership style, and the meaning of each of his new tattoos.
Last first day?
Uh, definitely fun. I’m just glad to be out here — I’ve been away from football for so long, especially since we finished last season without the bowl game, so I’m just glad to be back out here. Like you said it’s the first last day so just try to soak it all up. I thought it was a really good, productive day for day one, so.
lose voice, have fun?
Yes, exactly. Yelling and screaming, on the phone and everything, so always use my voice.
Where have you grown the most since your first training camp?
Coach Kelly preaches it all the time — Habits reflect your mission, so I think all of my habits, whether on the facility, off the facility, on the practice field, in the movie room, are just learning how to become a pro ahead of me come there. I think now is my rookie year so I’m trying to learn all these finite detail habits and trying to take a step in that direction.
boat day yesterday?
Oh yes it was great. It was fantastic. Yeah, we got a boat down in Marina del Rey, rented one for a couple of hours to kickstart and break bread and all. It was really cool – we saw dolphins, we got a little police escort with the dolphins. I didn’t know a lot of guys were first time on the water like this so I’m glad I can definitely share this moment with them.
What advice would you give yourself five years ago?
That’s the same advice I give Justyn every day – you need to learn how to be a quarterback. Everyone thinks you just go out there and throw a ball and you lead [makes quotation marks with his fingers] Which leads to when you don’t know what you’re doing, so I guess it really is. I’m just going back and trying to teach Justyn everything I wish I knew at the time and trying to keep him on the right track, but in terms of the advice I give myself it’s all about the habits and that what you do on a day-to-day basis, and I think that’s what I’m learning right now. That’s where I think I’ve seen the most growth this offseason.
So what leads?
So to me, leading means absolutely loving your teammates and loving what you do every day and showing it through your actions. Anything you do through your actions is projected onto your teammates far more than your words, so I think that’s where I grew and made the most strides in terms of leadership.
Jon Gaines said the offensive line will have a seamless transition?
Yeah I mean it’s the first day so there are a few details missing here and there but I thought today would be a really, really good day for guys like Raiqwon and Jalen who just got here. To fit in properly, to get the calls right away, you can tell they’ve been learning over and over, meeting up with Jon and Sam and going through the calls and everything, so I think Jon went with what he said has, was just right. It was definitely a smooth day in terms of communication from all sides and that showed on the field today so I think we had a really good day for the offensive line.
Impressions of Bill McGovern’s defense?
I think their general message, at least as I understand it, is to attack, and that’s definitely what they’re trying to do every day – they’re trying to get the ball, they’re forcing us to carry it higher, they’re forcing me to carry the ball in a better position, so I think that’s where they made the biggest step just by coming together as a group. The senior executives on this side with Blay – Darius is a transfer now, they really took on that role and I think they’re light years from where they were.
Michael Ezeike and the other tight ends?
Really, really different from where they were as freshmen, especially Zeke. Zeke was my part-time roommate here for a year, like my sophomore year, so he worked really, really hard at it just to see him thrive as a person and as an athlete. It wasn’t just something that came easily to him, so he’s going to have a really good year this year if he’s where he is.
Thinking of new targets like Jadyn, Braden, Jack etc.?
Oh yeah. I’ve let all these guys on the boat and before know that you have the opportunity to play but only if you do the work that it takes to get on the field so I think these guys have that message all the way through brought up front and show them every day, they come up with the same attitude and don’t let things get to them I think they do a really good job of not doing that.
Who organized the boat day?
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i did i did Well, me, my mom and my agent, so yes.
Similar to the other event you had?
Yes Yes Yes. Yes Madam.
Any other new tattoos besides Haskins?
Actually this whole sleeve. I added the butterfly and all that stuff so yeah.
Anything important on the sleeve that catches your eye?
Well, these are all my favorite tattoos right now, so that’s a pretty tough question to answer. But that Dwayne will always be close to my heart, always mean the most to me. Aside from my parents, this is of course my favorite tattoo of all time.
Any new ones after Haskins?
Yes, right here. Everything is new here. Don’t plan on getting more of this.
Is that what you’re telling yourself or is it your mother?
I think I’m trying to pull myself together to make sure I’m focused on that.
Kobe on your shoulder?
Mm-hm, yes. I have Kobe, Drake, St. Michael, Dwayne and then a butterfly.
What is the quote under the butterfly?
I said that to myself every day. “Thank God you are blessed every day, he is always with you.” Just a reminder that I can always look back when things are going bad and such and know that all is well, my life is excellent.
Why St. Michael the Patriarch?
Mm-hm, yes. He’s the saint I’m always drawn to, the story of how he kills the devil and all. So I just like the meaning behind what it represents and what it symbolizes and stuff, so I guess that’s why I like it so much.
New sticks for stretching or tai chi?
Oh yes, it can be used for many different things. Get outta here, it’s Star Wars and start hitting each other with it or something. But yeah, they’re made for a whole bunch of different things like stretching and all that.
I wouldn’t say it’s new, I’d say we’ve finally started incorporating them more into training and more off-training, with more recovery gear, trying to loosen up the body and hips in certain ways.
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