WESTWOOD—If you were offered a job that required you to wake up at six in the morning four days a week, push your body to the limit for two hours, and give up your entire summer, would you take it? Better yet if you were offered that job and had to do it for free would you take it then?
Well if you said no I wouldn’t blame you, but every summer UCLA football players, scholarship and walk-ons alike, give up their time and the many pleasures most kids enjoy during summer to work on getting bigger, faster and stronger for the upcoming season.
This summer is no different. Every morning the players have woken up, lifted weights and conditioned to try to turn things around from last season. They have even taken it a step further by coming back in the afternoon to work on their pass routes and defensive assignments.
Last season the offense took a lot of criticism for most of the problems the Bruins had, but this summer the offense has worked as hard as they can to change that. Recently named starting quarterback Kevin Prince has taken a strong leadership role among the offensive players and seems to be handling his new responsibilities with a lot of poise and capability.
There is nothing easy about getting up early morning to workout and run until your legs just will not carry you anymore, and then have to head off to class right after, but the members of the UCLA football team do not feel that way. They know how much work it will take to change the Bruin football program around and they are not afraid to do it.
“We’ve all been working extremely hard for the fact that reality tells us that we were 4-8 last year, so we have been pushing each other to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” stated senior cornerback Alterraun Verner.
Verner led the nation in passing defended and will be spearheading a defense that will be without former Defensive Coordinator Dwayne Walker for the first time in two years, but they feel like they will continue to be the same scrappy, hard hitting defense that has been one of the best in the Pac-10 over the past couple of seasons.
“Even with Coach Walker gone we still have the same players and Coach Walker already built a nucleus with the older guys already that will continue to expand with Coach Bullough leading the way.”
The offense has started to develop a swagger of their own as well; it was something that was missing last season. During the throwing sessions in the afternoon they have went toe to toe with the defense and have begun to move the ball a lot more consistently against the defense and have gotten a lot more confident, which has been showing in the way they run their routes and their overall approach to their work on the field.
For the Bruins the actual season is still about two months away, but in their minds the preparation for San Diego State starts now. There is no way to say for sure how the upcoming season will turn out for the Bruins, but if they push themselves during the season the same way they are pushing themselves now, their future looks very bright.
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