UCLA football quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson spoke to the media after the Bruins’ first session of fall camp on Friday. Thompson-Robinson talked about it being his last first day, the boat trip he arranged with the rest of the offense, how he has constructed his leadership style and the meaning of each of his new tattoos.
Last first day?
Uh, definitely fun. Just glad to be out here—been away from football so long, especially with how we ended last season without the bowl game, so just happy to be back out here. Like you said, it’s the first last day, so just trying to soak it all in. I thought it was a real overall good, productive day for the first day, so.
Losing voice, having fun?
Exactly, yeah. Screaming and yelling, doing calls and everything, so always using my voice.
Where have you grown the most from your first training camp to now?
Coach Kelly preaches it all the time—habits reflect your mission, so I think my overall habits, whether that’s in the facility, outside the facility, on the practice field, in the film room, just learning overall how to be a pro before I get there. So I think right now is my rookie year, so trying to learn all those finite detail habits and trying to take a step that way.
Boat day yesterday?
Oh yeah, it was awesome. It was awesome. Yeah, we got a boat down in Marina del Rey, rented one out for a couple of hours to take the offense out and break bread and everything. It was really cool—we got to see dolphins, we got a little police escort with the dolphins. I didn’t know that it was a lot of guys’ first time being out on the water like that, so I’m glad I got to share that moment with them for sure.
What advice would you give yourself five years ago?
It’s the same advice I’m giving to Justyn every day—you’ve got to learn how to be a quarterback. Everybody thinks you just go out there and throw a ball and you lead [makes quotation marks with his fingers] What’s leading if you don’t know what you’re doing, so I think that’s really what it is. I’m just going back and trying to teach Justyn everything I wish I knew back then and trying to keep him on the right path but in terms of advice I give myself, it’s all about the 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 took the most growth I think this off-season.
So what is leading?
So for me, leading is loving the absolute hell out of your teammates and loving what you do every day and showing that through your actions. Anything you do through your actions will be projected far more across to your teammates than your words, so I think that’s where I’ve grown and taken the most steps in terms of leading.
Jon Gaines said the offensive line will have a seamless transition?
Yeah, I mean it’s first day, so there’s a little bit of missed details here and there, but I thought today was a really, really good day for especially guys like Raiqwon and Jalen, guys who just got here. To be able to fit right in, get the calls right away, you can tell they’ve been studying over and over again, getting with Jon and Sam and going over calls and everything, so I think Jon was exactly right in what he said . It was definitely a seamless day in terms of communication from all across the board and it showed out 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 overall message, at least from how I’ve taken it, is to be attacking 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 put the ball in a better position, so I think that’s where they’ve taken the biggest step is just coming together as a group. The senior leaders on that side with Blay—Darius now is a transfer in, they’ve really taken on that role and I think they’ve taken it light years away from where they were.
Michael Ezeike and the other tight ends?
Really, really taken off from where they were as freshmen, especially Zeke. Zeke was a my roommate for part time here for a year like my sophomore year, so just to see his growth from him as a person and as an athlete has been outstanding, he’s really, really worked hard at it. It wasn’t just something that came easy to him, so for him to be where he’s at now, he’s going to have a really good year this year because of it.
Thoughts on new targets like Jadyn, Braden, Jack, etc.?
Oh yeah. I let all those guys know, at the boat, as well as before that, that you have an opportunity to play but if and only if you do the work that it takes to be able to get on the field, so I think those guys have taken that message full front and they’re showing it every day, they’re showing up with the same attitude and they’re not letting things get to them, so that’s probably the biggest thing for freshmen is getting in your own head and I think they’re doing a really good job of not doing that.
Who arranged the boat day?
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I did, I did. Well me, my mother and my agent, so yeah.
Similar to the other event you had?
yeah, yeah, yeah Yes ma’am.
Any other new tattoos besides the Haskins one?
This whole sleeve, actually. I added on the butterfly and all this stuff, so yeah.
Anything significant on the sleeve that stands out to you?
Well these are all now my favorite tattoo, so that’s a pretty tough question to answer. But this Dwayne one is always gonna be really close to my heart, always mean the most to me. Besides my parents, obviously, this is my favorite tattoo of all time.
Any new ones after Haskins one?
Yeah, just this right here. Everything right here is all new. Don’t plan on getting anymore of these.
Telling yourself that or is it your mom?
I’m like, I’m trying to get myself together to make sure I’m focused on this.
Kobe on your shoulder?
Mm-hm, yep. I got Kobe, Drake, St. Michael, Dwayne with me and then a butterfly.
What’s the quote under the butterfly?
This is something I used to tell myself every day. “Thank god every day you are blessed, he is always with you.” Just a reminder that when things go bad and stuff like that, I can always look back and know everything’s good, my life is excellent.
Why St. Michael, the patriarch?
Mm-hm, yeah. He’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 he represents and what he symbolizes and stuff, so I think that’s why I like it so much.
New poles for stretching or tai-chi?
Oh yeah, it can be used for many different things. Come out here, it’s Star Wars and start hitting each other 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’d say we finally started to integrate them more into the workouts and more so outside of the workouts, with more so recovery stuff, try to loosen up the body and hips in certain ways.
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