UCLA Football: My Interview with Tight End Joseph Fauria

Colan LamontAnalyst IIJune 26, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 31:  Ian Thomas #38 of the Illinois Fighting Illini tackles Joseph Fauria #8 of the UCLA Bruins during the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park on December 31, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

At 6'8" and over 250 lbs., Joseph Fauria sounds more like a small forward in the NBA than a college football player.

Fauria just happens to be the next big, athletic tight end who should make an impact at the NFL level.

Ranked as the No. 1 tight end prospect for the 2013 NFL Draft by nfldraftscout.com, the Notre Dame transfer is just starting to realise his potential.

After an average 2010 season, he established himself as a starter in 2011; hauling in six touchdown passes and 445 receiving yards.

He torched Houston for over 100 yards, his 110 being the most for a Bruins tight end since Marcedes Lewis seven years ago.

Fauria played in a system the last few years that didn't get him the ball enough.

He also suffered from quarterback issues, whether it be poor play or injury.

Jim Mora headlines a new UCLA coaching staff that should find many ways to get Fauria even more involved in the offence.

Fauria was happy to do a small interview with me and here are the results. Enjoy.


Colan Lamont: How do you look back on your time with Notre Dame?

Joseph Fauria: I look back on my time at ND as a positive one. Yes, it was an untimely departure, but I made many friends that I still have to this day. it was a great experience to be away from home. It made me appreciate UCLA that much more.

CL: Are you excited about the new coaching staff at UCLA?



JF: I am extremely excited. It's going to be a great end to my career at UCLA playing under these coaches and in this new offense.

CL: What do you think about the quarterback competition going on? Do you have a preferred starter?

JF: I have no preference, and luckily the decision is not up to me! It's going to be up to the coaches and I trust that they will put the best guy at the position for us to win. All I care about is wins and getting the ball in my hands!

CL: What have you been working on during the offseason?

JF: Flexibility. I've been doing a lot of yoga. but I've also dabbled in some MMA workouts just to keep my body guessing and to become a complete athlete. My strength is always getting better and my football skills will improve once fall camp starts up again.

CL: You made a pretty big impact last season. How much more effective do you expect to be?

JF: I was effective in an offense that wasn't made for me to be effective! So now being in an offense that is made for me to get the ball a whole lot, I expect plenty more production.

CL: What do you feel was your best performance last season?

JF: My favorite game was the season opener against Houston. That game just showed everyone what I was capable of and how I needed to be utilized more! I hope to have more games like that.

CL: You led the team in touchdown receptions with six. Do you see yourself as the biggest red-zone threat on the team?


JF: Well, I am the biggest receiver/tight end....so ya.

CL: Have you ever been frustrated with the previous pistol offence? Would you have liked to run more routes and see more passes thrown your way?


JF: Yes and yes.

CL: You are ranked as the No. 1 tight end for the 2013 NFL Draft by a number of analysts. Do you agree?

JF: I am not going to come out and say that they are wrong! But I will say that I am never satisfied; I can always get better and I plan to do that. I do want my name to be the first of the TEs in the 2013 draft, because that'll mean I worked and I deserved it!

CL: Did you think about entering the draft last year? Why did you stay?

JF: It crossed my mind, but after talking to some pretty knowledgeable people, it got shot down REAL FAST. I mean, I only have one year on my resume, really. So it was wise to stay.

CL: Do you feel more pressure now that people are noticing your talents even more?

JF: Yes! But pressure is good! I am going to embrace that I am no longer a surprise and that teams will game-plan against me. It will only make me better!

CL: At 6'8", do you look at guys like Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski in the NFL and think you can have a similar impact?

JF: Of course! This is THE BEST TIME to be a tight end going to the NFL and especially at my size. I know I am capable of producing like those guys one day in the next level if I am given the chance.


CL: What do you see as your biggest strengths as a player?

JF: My pass-catching is the strong suit. My mean streak is what makes me a great competitor on the field—I refuse to lose. And I would like to think I am a good blocker. I proved that last year blocking in a run-first offense.

CL: Favourite NFL team?

JF: Whoever wants to draft me!

CL: What are both your individual and team expectations for the upcoming season?

JF: Pac-12 championship! Rose Bowl! And breaking some UCLA TE records would be nice!


Thanks to Joe Fauria for his responses and to Stephanie Sampson for setting it up.

Colan Lamont is a contributor for Bleacher Report. All quotes for this interview were obtained first-hand unless otherwise noted.