A different take on the talent issue.
I'm a bit uncomfortable with columnists and commentators who say things like "30 of our players don't belong on a BCS school roster", or that KC is not a "Pac 10" QB.
That may be a realistic assessment of the talent they brought to UCLA, but I do not find it productive to run that mantra, over and over, today.
These players are us. They are Bruins. They are here. It serves no purpose to denigrate their abilities or accomplishments.
To me, the key is: Did they leave it on the field? Did they play to the top of their abilities? Did they make every effort to win?
If they did, they deserve praise -- no matter the outcome.
Said another way, I am one who prefers to grade effort rather than accomplishment.
I came to this view within a year or two of the start of my long, law school teaching career.I had students who came to school with 4.0 averages and perfect LSAT's. And, I had students who came to school with far less (some might say they did not belong in a Big 10 law school, but not me.)I learned that in terms of sheer character, tenacity, and desire, I would take an overachieving, go more than the extra mile, "less qualified student" than a slacker with great ability who never reached that ability for lack of effort. Many of the best lawyers I helped train were the high effort overachievers. Many of those who got lost in the world of the law were the highly qualified slackers.
Obviously, we would prefer to have players who bring both skill and character to the field. People who come, practice hard and play hard.
And, we will.
But, at this point, it serves us no good to continue the discussion about the "bare cupboard". That "cupboard" is a Bruin locker room. The "remnants" on the shelves are OUR players.
In time, we will restock the cupboard.
For now, I think we should stick to the standard that most in BN are applying. Are we playing hard? Are we playing to the best of our abilities? Are we showing character?
Because of Ike, I missed the last two games. All I know, I've read here. There was an undercurrent, after BYU, that we did not put out a full effort.
But, from yesterday's thread, it appears we did in the Az game. From what I've read in both games, and having seen him in the Tennessee game, there is no "quit" in Kevin Craft. If that is so, I don't want any columnist telling me he does not belong in the Pac 10 or in a Bruin uniform.
It is one thing to discuss putting other players into the game, and another to denigrate those who are playing by challenging their right to be Bruins.
BN has been both realistic and positive about the Bruins who represent us on the field. I think it's time for us to circle the wagons around these guys, to protect them from the slings and arrows of the outside world and to encourage them to leave it on the field.
And when they do whether we win or lose, we should praise them.