UPDATED (11:56 AM EST) Post edited/corrected thanks to pointers from McCloskey in comments- Nestor
Lonnie White of LA Times decides to do some work and writes a report on the upcoming season. He zeroes in on the 14 seniors (11 of them are Toledo recruits) who have not seen any success under either Toledo or Dorrell at UCLA. They are saying the obvious. For them and (implictly for their 12-13 headcoach), this is the make or break season:
"Although this class was not recruited by Coach Dorrell, we've been able to play two seasons under him and establish his offense and ... get a system going the way he wants it. As a team, this is pretty much a make-or-break season. This is a chance for us to change the way the program is viewed in the future."
The open-forum format, which encouraged players to talk freely about any subject, such as punishment policies or the lack of upperclassmen living on campus, has helped make the team closer, according to Bruin seniors.
"We've come a long way in terms of unity," fifth-year senior center Mike McCloskey said. "We have guys talking to each other on both sides of the ball. That didn't always happen before. Cliques are always going to exist on a team, but they are not the concrete type now."
Said Taylor: "We've been able to bond. We've been able to get to know each other outside the lines of football. The older guys have really made an effort to reach down to the younger guys. That's going to help us focus together as a team."
McCloskey said "not always being on the same page" should not be an issue this season.
Anyways, we will cut them some slack, after all they have been playing for a new coach for just 2 years, and taking over a new program stocked with top-20 recruiting talents and having to win more than 6 games per season is hard work! So it really comes down to this season. The third season, the money season, the make or break season, and once again White just like all other off season reports on the Bruins confirms we have all the talent to win 9 games:
"There's no doubt that we have the talent to win," said Lewis, who decided to return for his senior season rather than enter the NFL draft. "We just haven't always played together like we should have. We're ready to do that this season."
Said Havner: "I was talking with [fifth-year senior offensive tackle] Bob Cleary and we agreed that the key to this season is going out with respect. ... Nationally, Pac-10, whatever, so be it. We know that it comes down to winning games. That's all there is to it."