April 11, 2007

Injuries mount up, recruits line field

Tuesday afternoon spring football practice at UCLA used to be a sort of tawdry, mundane affair. Usually around 5 people were present, half of them parents, and perhaps two, maybe four or so recruits might drive up from local schools. Not anymore. Just like the old cigarette ad jingled, "You've come a long way, Baby!", so too has UCLA football, and today's practice was indeed a good indication of that type of transformation.

If 13 players being on the DL isn't a flashing red light of what a smash-mouth practice session is like in the UCLA Bruin football program these days, then perhaps one just has to be there in attendance to hear the grunts, yelps and crackling of pads and helmets colliding in 1/2 time warped speed to comprehend that this isn't your mama's-or your daddy's-Bruin football team.

What further jumps out at even the casual observer is the sight and sound of a new tough-minded attitude. The defense doesn't just tackle a receiver, they dispose of them and sprinkle some trash-talk on the side.

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