Seniors Fumble At Spaulding

dokein has already diaried on this topic. Apparently the "seniors" organized a "ditch day" at practice yesterday by going "over the wall" bolting through the gate (lame).

Apparently this has been a "tradition" for last 30 years (including Rose Bowl winning teams which CRN was a part of) and last year Karl Dorrell organized it himself. From the LA Times:

The "over the wall" day has been going on at UCLA for more than 30 years, including Bruins teams that Neuheisel played on, though players on those teams actually went over a wall instead of stampeding through an open gate. A year ago, then-head coach Karl Dorrell organized the day himself so it would not disrupt practice.
BTW not only Dorrell "organized" ditch day he brought it back after Toledo had scrapped it:
The tradition started decades ago, but was halted during Bob Toledo's tenure. However, Dorrell brought it back, although the message was a bit skewed. The Bruins pulled the ditch day once during bowl preparations.
That was from Dohn, who predictably wasted no time to pounce all over this story and sound off his alarm bells:
UCLA is coming off back-to-back disappointing seasons which led to the firing of coach Karl Dorrell, and much of the spring chatter at UCLA was about using the 15 practices to ready for the season opener on national television against Tennessee.

It was also supposed to be the last high impact practice before Friday's scrimmage, and was another day for the Bruins to work its depleted and inexperienced offensive line while trying to get a better grasp on offensive coordinator Norm Chow's new system.

Neuheisel also apologized to several referees, who showed up to work the practice.
Apparently number of high school coaches and recruits showed up for practice too:
Also, a number of high school coaches and recruits showed up for the practice, not to mention some referees. The assistant coaches were mostly stunned after Neuheisel visited with the players, then came back on the field to say practice was done.
As for CRN, he didn’t sound very pleased about it. However, recognizing that this is also a part of a culture that he will have to adjust to for now and then fix in the coming years, he reflected on the positive perspective:
"Our guys showed good solidarity. It's not what I would have liked to happen today. I remember being a part of teams that did this and still had successful seasons. Hopefully we can benefit in some way from this," Neuheisel said.
Unlike Dorrell CRN didn’t "organize" this ditch day. He is also checking with the NCAA to find out whether he can get that day back:
Neuheisel, who said he had no heads up this would happen, was checking to see if the ditch day counts against the 15 spring practices allowed by the NCAA, and it is believed it will. He added programs were allowed 20 practices when the tradition began, and acknowledged the offseason was much different than it is now.
It will be interesting to see if this "tradition" continues next year. Paulsen and Carter were the two upperclassmen who went on record on this:
UCLA senior tight end Logan Paulsen later came outside the locker room and said that Neuheisel was "upset" when he met with the seniors, but he "understood what we were doing."

Neuheisel said he wanted to make sure "they were all doing it together. I didn't want there to been fighting because some kids wanted to be out here and some didn't. So I said, 'Go make up your mind and have some solidarity.' " […]

"We discussed it, and we said we weren't going to do it, but it is one for all and all for one," junior linebacker Reggie Carter said. "A lot of seniors, it's their last go-around, and it's a tradition that we do every spring. So they wanted to get one in. If everyone is going to do it, we're going to do it as a team.

"One day isn't going kill us. Whatever we didn't get done today, I'm sure Coach Neuheisel will make sure we get it made up somehow, someday."
I am pretty confident that CRN and his coaches will more than make up for it.

However, I am disappointed at the seniors (especially considering how they could become a key part of CRN's efforts to revitalize our program). Given the terribly mediocre record they have compiled under the previous regime, it would have been nice if we had seen leadership from players like Cowan, Olson or Harwell, and send a strong signal to their commitment to reestablishing our program by trying to persuade their team-mates to scrap this "tradition" at least for the time being. This was a great opportunity for those players to exercise symbolic leadership and send a strong signal to rest of the program about how serious they are in terms of their commitment to bring our program back to where it belongs.

Over the grand scheme of things this story will not matter much. As I said above CRN, Chow and Walker will find a way to make sure these guys are as prepared as they can get heading into the season opener. And I am sure CRN will chip away in his attempt to establish a culture of accountability (for performance on the field) in his program (we can already see some of the results from the stories we have been hearing from spring practice in terms of which players are making their moves on the depth chart). Yet this was an opportunity for number of aforementioned seniors to show leadership and they kind of fumbled it away. I have no doubt that message will be communicated to them.

GO BRUINS.
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