Competition is at the root of everything UCLA does under new coach DeShaun Foster

Officially, UCLA’s mantra under DeShaun Foster is discipline, respect and enthusiasm.

Unofficially, a new slogan is emerging, one that will sound familiar to those who followed Pete Carroll across town.

Always compete.

“He just wants it all the time,” new Bruins defensive coordinator Ikaika Malloe said of his boss’ get-after-it mind-set. “Like, he never wants to turn it off and that might be what you guys see in terms of — you can call it energy, whatever you want to call it, but it’s the head man himself, you always get what you emphasize and for him, he wants us to always have that competitive spirit.”

Read more: UCLA opens spring football practice with an emphasis on welcoming fans

The competitions sometimes start even before practice, when players go one on one with the rest of the team watching. On Thursday, it was offense versus defense, with each side of the ball scoring a point based on the result of a play. The tally was kept on a scoreboard attached to the Wasserman Football Center.

Quarterback Ethan Garbers completed a pass to Titus Mokiao-Atimalala cutting toward the corner of the end zone. One point for the offense.

Defensive back K.J. Wallace broke up one pass and defensive lineman Keanu Williams tipped another at the line of scrimmage. Two points for the defense.

In a fitting end to a one-sided showing, defensive back Jadyn Marshall intercepted a pass near the sideline and ran into the end zone for a touchdown before being swarmed by teammates.

Final score: Defense 21, Offense 14.

Read more: Help wanted sign goes up at edge rusher for UCLA after Choe Bryant-Strother leaves

Staying in lockstep with his boss, Malloe said he’s always keeping score even if the points aren’t displayed for all to see.

“I want my guys to know that we won the day or we did not, period,” Malloe said. “And if we did not, as coaches, what do we need to correct so we can win the day? … It’s a competition, not, oh, by the way, we would like to compete. So every single day, every single moment, I’m always competing.”

Same as it ever was?

Malloe said he would preserve the defensive scheme run by predecessor D’Anton Lynn that helped the Bruins give up only 301.5 yards per game last season, ranking No. 10 nationally.

The question is how he’ll go about getting similar results with different players.

“We lost five guys on the outside edge,” Malloe said, referring to Laiatu Latu and twins Gabriel and Grayson Murphy, among others, “so in terms of replacing them, I won’t, I can’t. So we’ve just got to manufacture some different ways of getting pressure differently.”

Read more: Collin Schlee's departure could put UCLA on the clock for another quarterback

One solution could be moving linebacker Oluwafemi Oladejo to edge rusher, an enticing possibility given his ability to shed blockers in early spring practices.

“I mean, Femi looks like a dang defensive end,” Malloe said. “ ... Now does that help us or hurt us if we put him on the end? That’s something we’ve really got to evaluate and then, obviously in terms of recruiting, looking to see if we can find someone with similar characteristics as Latu.”

Malloe will also coach the linebackers in his new role, a development that he said could help everyone around them.

“It’s kind of good,” Malloe said, “because for me, I want the defense to run through [the linebackers], I want them to see it through my eyes.”

The big payoff

Freshman cornerback Kanye Clark could have gone to a lesser football program, having been recruited by teams from the Mountain West and Big Sky conferences. He also drew interest from Ivy League schools and Washington State.

All those possibilities were cast aside on the eve of signing day when UCLA offered him a spot as a walk-on.

“I decided to gamble on myself,” Clark said, “come here and just prove myself.”

Read more: Eric Bieniemy taking a loud and collaborative approach to reshaping UCLA's offense

It quickly became a winning wager. During a recent film session, coaches showed a clip of Clark battling receiver Ezavier Staples in practice. Foster then called Clark to the front of the room.

“Based on this play,” Foster said, “we’re going to offer you a scholarship.”

Clark’s first call was to his ecstatic parents. His own emotions revealed themselves later during a private moment.

“Eventually, I was by myself and I realized the hard work had paid off,” Clark said. “So the tears came out.”

After appearing in five games last season as a reserve cornerback and on special teams, making two tackles against Boise State in the L.A. Bowl, Clark said he’s driven to make a bigger contribution.

“What motivates me now is that now that the hard work paid off, just to keep going,” he said. “A scholarship, that's one thing, but I also want to do more. I want to be on the field making plays.”

Get the best, most interesting and strangest stories of the day from the L.A. sports scene and beyond from our newsletter The Sports Report.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.