Good Sports: The Last Campaign
Published Jul 1, 2007 8:00 AM
One good season and one great game.
That's all UCLA's returning football seniors have to show for their careers so far.
In 2005, they were sophomores during the Bruins' 10-2 campaign.
Copyright ©Courtesy of UCLA Athletics
In 2006, they helped shock the world, as the team upset USC, 13-9, for the first time in eight years.
But one nice season and a monumental upset was not what they came to Westwood to accomplish.
The 2007 campaign unofficially began in April with spring practice. A key question surrounding the team was answered by Coach Karl Dorrell '87 when he announced that junior Ben Olson would be the starting quarterback in the fall. But for the seniors, another query was paramount: What has to happen this season for their careers to be considered a success?
Offensive lineman Shannon Tevaga says it's simple: "We have to go to a big bowl game. With 20 seniors coming back [and] 18 starters, the expectations are high for this team." Others, like defensive end Bruce Davis, receiver Marcus Everett and safety Dennis Keyes, talk of winning the Pac-10 title and playing for the national championship, but couch them more as goals than as the bottom-line results that would define their tenures.
Defensive tackle Kevin Brown, in fact, waxes philosophical, acknowledging that success is often found on the journey, not just the destination.
"You can't win every game," he says. "Our biggest focus is to live up to our potential and play that UCLA style of football [like] those teams that were going to Rose Bowls. Everyone has dreams of winning the national championship and Pac-10 title, and with good work those things are going to come, [but] you have to have short-term goals. You focus on square one, you go game-by-game. When the games come, everything falls into place from practice."
Sounds like a senior's maturity to us.