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UCLA Football Keys to Success: Ditch Spring Practice

Apparently there’s a tradition with the football program that they ditch a Spring practice every year. Though I was at school there four years and have followed the team for much longer, I hadn’t heard of it til now. Perhaps it’s because the team never had much hype or expectations. Or perhaps it’s because of this very tradition that the team sucks, and the two go hand-in-hand. Though it’s old news by now as it happened on Tuesday, I never really got my chance to take a stab at this. What kind of team has a tradition where they skip practice? What kind of loser rebels came up with this? Worse yet, what kind of losers let the tradition continue under their watch? How hasn’t someone put a stop to this?

I remember seeing and reading recently that some of the new coaches were working the players harder. Like guys were bragging about being up and working out/training around 8am or something. I sat there laughing to myself — if they’re bragging about being at the track or in the weight room at like 8am and that’s early, then WTF were they doing before? No wonder the team stunk. I would have thought it was a given that all D-I football teams — especially those aspiring to win their BCS conferences — would be up everyday bright and early, running, lifting, and training on a daily basis. But no, not at UCLA — their traditions aren’t to have weight lifting contests or 40-yard dash contests. Nope. Their tradition is to skip practice. Yup, that’s the attitude — that’s the ticket. No wonder they’ve been so disappointing all this time. And now I think about guys on the team who were winners recently — the Maurice Drews, the Brandon Chillars — and I wonder how these guys let this tradition continue.

How can a team tradition possibly involve not working hard? Is there any wonder why the program has sucked so much recently? I think we just answered the question.



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  • Erik

    I think that article is a waste of time. The others writing about this are wasting their time as well. As a matter of fact, so am I. But, it is now 136 days before the first game. Let me just mention a coach who made a comment in the LA Times article. The coach and former player for Fresno State said “Let me put it this way, they wouldn’t have done that at Fresno State.” During this coach’s career at FSU, they had I believe a 23 and 24 record. Although they had a winning record in his final year, they lost to a 4 and 7 UCLA team coached by Bob Toledo who suspended the tradition. So in the end, we have a bunch of people who have no right to make comments still making these comments because there is nothing better to write about in sports right now.

  • Gene

    Nice try, Erik. What is missing from your argument is:

    1) Toledo also led the Bruins to some great seasons in the late 1990’s, which included wins over USC and a Cotton Bowl win and Rose Bowl appearance.

    2) There were high school coaches and recruits present. They came to watch a Bruin practice. Maybe they were deterred from attending our fine campus in Westwood by that ridiculous display by the team.

    3) The tradition was for an “over the wall” escape. This year’s team was either too lazy or not athletic enough to scale the wall. They left through an open door.

    4) Maybe a team with the same coaching staff returning intact could afford a day off. This team, unlike most of the previous ditching teams, had a new head coach and offensive coordinator and could ill afford to miss even one day of spring practice. If you know your Bruin history, all of the “over the wall” episodes took place under Terry Donohue and Karl Dorrell. There were no other leadership changes, if you leave Toledo out of the mix.