Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ditch Day in Perspective

So the Over The Wall tradition is likely dead after this season. With all the flap over the ditch day that the players organized, I don't think we'll ever see it again. Which is a good thing because it's a pretty lame tradition. But all that being said, I think people are getting WAY too worked up over it.

I understand that Spring Practice is only 15 days. Obviously, missing a practice with such a small number of days is going to hurt. It hurts bad with this team because of their lack of experience and the fact that the coaches are installing a new offense. It also hurts because there is a scrimmage on Friday and they miss out on a day in pads. The other pain comes from the high school coaches and recruits that came out to watch practice. All of them left disappointed and it doesn't reflect well on the program.

I agree with all of that.

Where I don't agree with some fans is when they say this shows a lack of commitment from our players. Our team and group of players is committed as any. I know they are eager and hungry to lift UCLA out of the mediocre play that has encapsulated our program this decade. You got guys like Chane and Chase Moline and Glen Love and others who are playing with broken bones and bad backs and they're out there every day busting their butts in practice.

I also don't agree that this will hurt us for the season. We have a lot of freshman talent coming in this fall anyways, so there will be a lot of shuffling of the depth chart. You'll have a whole batch t of guys who need to learn the entire offense and defense starting in August. Besides, our team is going to struggle this season no matter what happens this spring. We're not going to compete for a national championship. We're not even going to compete for a conference championship. This is a rebuilding season despite what anyone says. I'm not saying that the season is a lost cause or we shouldn't try our hardest to win. It's just that the depth and talent we have is so thin at this point that no amount of practice is going to make this team really competitive. We're just not on that level yet.

Actually, I think the Over the Wall stunt might actually help this team. Not in the immediate future, but in the long run. I think the flap they are receiving about this shows them that this program is back on a national stage and people are paying attention. Apparently this happened under Dorrell (he even helped organize it) but none of us knew about it. Why? Because nobody cared to make a big deal over it. Now that Neuheisel and Chow have joined the staff, people are sitting up and taking notice of UCLA again. I think the young guys in the program are going to learn from this that people are watching. UCLA football is serious stuff and the fans and media have big expectations for them. That's a good thing.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you on what you don't agree with. I think that makes sense

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