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WATCH: Zach Charbonnet on Becoming More Vocal, Leading UCLA RBs

The sleeper Heisman Trophy candidate said he has pushed himself to leave his comfort zone this offseason.
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UCLA football running back Zach Charbonnet spoke to reporters after Friday morning’s fall camp session. Charbonnet talked about his attempt to be more vocal, how he reacts to Heisman-level expectations, what he expects his leadership role to be and the importance of bonding with the rest of the offense. 

Trying to be more vocal?

I wouldn’t say it was too hard but you know, just have to take on that leadership role especially this year at least coming up for the offense and trying to lead those running backs. That was one of my main points coming into this offseason was working on my leadership skills and just working on my vocal skills too.

How do you work on leadership?

Stuff like this. Meetings, talk, presentations, just stuff like that ya know.

More comfortable being here for a second year?

Yes definitely. It’s always nice to be back especially with the guys I played with last year so yeah, it’s very nice.

Offensive line?

I think they look great. Just details we gotta clean up, we still gotta detail the playbook, stuff like that, execute, but I think guys like Raiqwon coming in, they’re all looking great, Jon Gaines coming back. I’m very excited to see what they do this year.

Heisman campaign?

Yeah to be honest I haven’t paid too much, not a lot of mind to that. I’m just focused on winning games for my team and putting my team in the best position that we can be in and just trying to help them to the best of my ability.

Under 5% body fat?

Yeah that was also another thing coming into this offseason, just working on my physique, body, stuff like that. One thing I wanted to do was gain muscle mass but also lose body fat so I think last year I was around 217 so this year I’m coming in around 223 so that was a main emphasis coming into this year too.

Difficult to retain speed with that?

No. Everything I do I work speed and agility and stuff like that so all like the mass that I’m gaining I’m still gonna keep all that stuff with me too.

Other running backs?

I think they’ve done a great job stepping up. Keegan Jones has done an amazing job using his speed, quickness, stuff like that. I think that’s really vital for our offense too. Just guys like TJ stepping up too to the plate, taking more of those twos reps now, and just seeing them go to work, they’ve been doing a good job at that.

Advice to them?

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Probably my biggest advice: come in every day as the same person. Especially coming into camp, you don’t want to have days where you’re slacking off and stuff like that. It’s very important that you take advantage of every day so I think that’s one of the biggest points of coming into camp.

Biggest thing you’ve worked on during the offseason?

A lot of pass game and agility stuff like that. Just working on my quickness and being able to catch out the backfield, a lot of jugs and stuff like that. Pass protection too?: Yes, definitely pass protection.

Working with a youth football camp?

Yeah, shoutout to Dorian. That was something that he invited me to. I think that was just a great experience, especially to be able to go out there, look over the children, teach them the game of football. I think that helps a lot especially with leadership, and you know just showing them a different aspect, especially what the game provides so that was a very good experience.

Impression you want to leave on the nation?

A guy who works for his team, doing whatever he can for his teammates.

Dorian helping the team bond?

I think he’s done a great job bringing the team together especially this offseason with bonding events like that. It’s been a lot better being able to get close with the guys, especially under his leadership.

Feeling any extra pressure this season?

No. I don’t think about all that other stuff. All the preseason stuff, I don’t pay it too much time, I just try to come in every day and do what I can (unclear), and play to the best of my ability.

What do you learn from coach Foster?

Just the knowledge part of the game. The film he goes over, the plays, how he breaks it all down. I think he’s done a great job with that, especially leading these younger guys and continuing to help me, especially in the pass game this offseason. That was his biggest emphasis is being able to catch out the backfield.

Foster ever talk about the last UCLA Rose Bowl team?

He said that was everything. That was the UCLA culture that we gotta bring back this year.

When did he say that?

He always emphasizes that.

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