UCLA football quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson spoke to the media after the first session of the Bruins’ fall camp on Friday. Thompson-Robinson talked about his last first day, the boat trip he organized with the rest of the attack, how he built his leadership style and the meaning behind each of his new tattoos.
Last first day?
Uh, really fun. I’m just happy to be here – I’ve been away from football for so long, especially with how we ended last season without the bowling game, so just happy to be back here. Like you said, it’s the first last day, so just try to absorb it all. I thought it was a very good productive day for the first day, so.
Losing voice, having fun?
Exactly, yeah. Screaming and yelling, making calls and everything, so always using my voice.
Where have you evolved the most since your first training camp until today?
Coach Kelly preaches it all the time – habits reflect your mission, so I think my general habits, whether it’s in the facility, off the facility, on the training ground, in the movie theater, just learning to be a pro before I get there. So I think right now it’s my rookie year, so I’m trying to learn all these finite retail habits and trying to take a step forward in that direction.
Boat day yesterday?
Oh, yeah, that was awesome. It was awesome. Yeah, we got a boat in Marina del Rey, we rented one for a few hours to eliminate the offense and grab a bite to eat and everything. It was really cool – we got to see dolphins, we had a little police escort with the dolphins. I didn’t know it was the first time a lot of guys went out on the water like this, so I’m glad I got to share this moment with them.
What advice would you give yourself five years ago?
It’s the same advice I give Justyn every day: you have to learn how to be a quarterback. Everybody thinks you go out and throw a ball and lead [makes quotation marks with his fingers] What leads if you don’t know what you’re doing, so I think that’s really what it is. I’m just coming back and trying to teach Justyn everything I wish I’d known at the time and trying to keep him on track, but in terms of advice I give myself, it’s all about habits and what you do on a day-to-day basis and I think that’s what I’m learning right now. That’s where I got the most growth, I think, this off season.
So what leads?
So for me, to lead is to love the absolute hell out of your teammates and to love what you do every day and show it through your actions. Everything you do through your actions will be projected onto your teammates far more than your words, so I think that’s where I grew and took the most action 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’s a little bit of missed detail here and there but I thought today was a really, really good day especially for guys like Raiqwon and Jalen, guys who just arrived. To be able to fit in, get the calls right away, you can tell they studied over and over and got along with Jon and Sam and made calls and everything so I think Jon was exactly right in that who said that . It was definitely a flawless day in terms of communication from all sides and it 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 from the way I’ve understood it, is to be attacking and that’s certainly what they try to do every day – they try to get the ball, they force us to carry it higher, they force me to put the ball in a better position, so I think that’s where they took the biggest step, it’s just coming together as a group. The senior leaders on that side with Blay—Darius are now transferred, they’ve really taken on that role and I think they’ve moved it light years away from where they were.
Michael Ezeike and the other tight ends?
Really, really took off from where they were in first year, especially Zeke. Zeke was my part-time roommate here for a year like my second year, so just to see his growth as a person and as an athlete has been exceptional, he really, really worked hard. It wasn’t just something that came easy to him, so for him to be where he is now, he’s going to have a really good year this year because of that.
You think of new targets like Jadyn, Braden, Jack, etc. ?
Oh yeah. I let all these guys know, on the boat, as well as before, that you have an opportunity to play but if and only if you do the work it takes to be able to get out there, then I think these guys took that message forward and they show it every day, they show up with the same attitude and they don’t let things happen to them, so that’s probably the most important thing for freshmen, it’s getting in your head and I think they do a pretty 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 yeah.
Similar to the other event you had?
Yeah yeah yeah. Yes ma’am.
Are there any other new tattoos besides Haskins’ one?
This whole round, in fact. I added the butterfly and all that, so yeah.
Something important about the cover that stands out for you?
Well, these are all my favorite tattoos now, so that’s a pretty tough question to answer. But Dwayne’s will always be very close to my heart, will always mean the most to me. Besides my parents, of course, this is my favorite tattoo of all time.
Any new ones after Haskins?
Yeah, just that here. Everything here is brand new. Don’t plan on having more.
Do you tell yourself that or is it your mother?
I’m like, I’m trying to pull myself together to make sure I’m focused on this.
Kobe on your shoulder?
Mm-hm, yeah. I had Kobe, Drake, St. Michael, Dwayne with me and then a butterfly.
What is the quote under the butterfly?
It’s something I told myself every day. “Thank God, every day you are blessed, he is always with you.” Just a reminder that when things go wrong and stuff like that, I can always look back and know that everything is fine, my life is great.
Why Saint Michael, the patriarch?
Mm-hm, yeah. It’s the saint I always gravitate towards, the story of him killing the devil and everything. So I just like the meaning behind it, what it represents and what it symbolizes and everything, so I think that’s why I like it so much.
New sticks for stretching or tai chi?
Oh yes, it can be used for lots of different things. Come here, it’s Star Wars and start hitting yourself with them 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 would say we’ve finally started incorporating them more into workouts and more outside of workouts, with more recovery stuff, try to relax the body and hips in certain ways .
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