I am still slowly working my way back from a long vacation. Looks like during last few days a number of football related notes (besides Fauria's transfer and E.J.'s desire to be a Trojie) trickled out of Westwood. So let's try to rest and try to put them all together in one place.
On a day former UCLA safety E.J. Woods said he finalized plans to transfer to Santa Monica College, the attrition continued with offensive lineman Sonny Tevaga leaving the program for what sources said were academic issues. Tevaga, who started three games last season, is enrolled in UCLA's summer school, but he will not return to the Bruins even if his academic troubles are resolved, sources added. Instead, Tevaga will explore a transfer to another school. He is the sixth UCLA player to leave the program since spring ball concluded.
On a day former UCLA safety E.J. Woods said he finalized plans to transfer to Santa Monica College, the attrition continued with offensive lineman Sonny Tevaga leaving the program for what sources said were academic issues.
Tevaga, who started three games last season, is enrolled in UCLA's summer school, but he will not return to the Bruins even if his academic troubles are resolved, sources added.
Instead, Tevaga will explore a transfer to another school. He is the sixth UCLA player to leave the program since spring ball concluded.
Well the problem with Tevaga was that there has always been questions regarding his total commitment to play football at UCLA. This is something he has had issues with dating back to last November and he was still struggling to get into the right midset this past spring. So it's not a total surprise that it never worked out for him him. Hopefully wherever he ends up he finds a right fit that will fit his abilities both in the classroom and on the football field.
As Dohn noted Tevaga became the 6th player to leave the progam since spring ball (following Dean, Carter, Forcier, Johnson and Woods). This kind of attrition however is not really something negative for the program. Remember at the end of the spring UCLA was about 5 or 6 players over the allotted 85 scholarship limit. Because of their departures room opened up for a kid like Joseph Fauria and it looks like coaches will also try to hold a spot open for Josh Smith from Colorado.
Note that we still have some ways to go before our personnel issues are all sorted out. From the incoming class three players - Taniela Maka, Nike Abele and Eddie Williams - still have some work to do to become academically eligible for UCLA (remember unlike U$C* those issues don't get magically "resolved" at UCLA). So after all is said and done UCLA could be around the 81/82 mark in terms of total scholarship players, which would give the coaches lot more room to maneuver with regards to the class of 2010.
This past week has been a bit slower than the week before. My Romanian class has gotten a bit harder. We are now getting into conjugations of verbs, definite articles, and masculine/feminine forms of nouns, all of which can be very tricky! I scored another 10 on a quiz so I am starting to get the hang of it. The hours are long, but we are making a lot of progress in the class. However, speaking the language is a totally different challenge. It's hard for me to get that "r" sound just right, but the teacher is working with me.
Football workouts have been stepped up this week. The intensity in the weight room has been pushed way up and the conditioning drills are also at a high level. The defensive backs and every other position have been competing to be the best at each of the drills. A special "shout out" goes to fellow defensive back Courtney Viney, who works out with me at six o'clock each morning. He has been trying to make me better by challenging me in every obstacle, but I do the same to him. We had a couple of people plateau already this summer and that gets me fired up to get there as well.
Learning Romanian sounds just a tad bit more difficult than cruising through Senora Ross's class. No?
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.
You can read rest of Tobi's writeup here.
I always love reading this kind of reports on off season workouts. My issue with them though is its something we read every off season from every team. So you have to take them with a grain of salt. Still though I think for the first time in years, there is certain amount of optimism around our program given the way our coaches have been managing the program. As we had said over and over again, if they can build on the recruiting successes of past two years and put together a bowl season (6 or 7 regular season wins), that will make all all the hard work these kids are putting through this off-season worth it. It will allow the program to continue to move towards the right direction for the first time since December 5, 1998 (Melsby was down).