Catching Up with James Cregg

Sept. 8, 2009


Offensive line coach James Cregg knows a little something about UCLA. And not just what he's seen on film this week.

Before heading off to play at Colorado State, Cregg attended Norco High School, located about 40 miles southeast of the Rose Bowl. And while he grew up cheering for Southern California, he still has an appreciation for UCLA.

Cregg talks about his California connections, UCLA's stout defensive line and more in this Q&A.

You went to high school just outside Los Angeles. Did you have any history with UCLA at all?

"I went to a few UCLA games, but I was more of an SC guy growing up as a kid. I had a couple guys from my high school playing there, so I always followed SC. That was the program I followed. But I did go to some UCLA games when Troy Aikman and some of those guys were playing. They had some tremendous teams back then, and I did follow them quite a bit."

Everybody seems to be talking about the Sullins Brothers. Both Cody and Cory played a lot on Saturday. What do you like most about those guys?

"Their work ethic, how they bring it to the table every day. I say they're like logger-type guys. They show up every day with their ax and get ready to work. They play hard. It's important to them. Everything's important to them. They don't like to fail, and they want to be perfect. Not everybody can perfect, they've got to understand that. But they certainly try hard, and that's why they're where they're at right now."

Did you take you long to realize those two guys would be able to help this team?

"I didn't. In the offseason workouts they were guys that worked hard. They pushed each other, and they really stood out in the group as far as their work ethic goes."

A lot of people have talked about the way the offensive line seemed to execute really well on Saturday. They didn't seem to miss a lot of assignments. Was that the case?



"Assignment-wise, we were pretty good. Technique-wise, we've got a lot of things we can clean up. There's always something to clean up off the film. We can clean up a couple assignment deals and some technique things. But for the most part, the effort was great and we've just got to keep building on that effort. If you bring effort like that, you can play against anybody."

UCLA seems to have a really strong defensive line, and some are projecting defensive tackle Brian Price as a first-round pick if he leaves early. How challenging will that group be Saturday?

"They've got a tremendous D-line, and that's a big challenge for us. We hit our O-line with that earlier on this week. That's the strength of their defense in my opinion. They've got a tremendous defensive line."

Is it a good measuring stick before going into conference play?

"Without a doubt. Going against a defensive line like this you can see where you're at."

Chris Scott was named SEC lineman of the week. What do you like about what he's done to this point?

"Just changed his whole demeanor. Came out here and wanted to be a different person and wanted to be a different guy. And he's worked at it. Good things will come to him if he keeps staying on that course and keeps working at it. It showed this week by him getting that honor. That's a tremendous honor for him."

How close is the competition between Jarrod Shaw and Aaron Douglas at right tackle?

"Pretty close. Those guys battle every week. It's an up-and-down deal. Seems like when one guy does something, the other guy steps in and does something. It's an ongoing battle, and it's good competition for that particular spot."

Vladimir Richard is dealing with an injury this week. What's your take on older players who have played a lot of games but isn't able to practice some during the week? How do you feel about that?

"It's hard on him. He needs to see the reps and do them, especially playing offensive line. It's hard not practicing and going in and playing if you haven't been in the system long enough, which these guys haven't. Things change in this system. They move quickly. But it's hard on him. It's hard on him not going right now, because he really wants to be in there doing it."

Follow the Vols on Twitter @UTAthletics , and read Drew Edwards' blog, The Inside Source.



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