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UCLA seniors decide to ‘go over the wall’, ditch practice


I’m all for traditions. They’re why I love college athletics far more than professional sports.

But what UCLA seniors voted on Tuesday is downright wrong and unacceptable.

The “tradition” — it’s been an off and on affair for the better part of 30 years, so it’s acceptable to question using the term at all — is known as going “over the wall.” Or, skipping practice after warm-ups.

It doesn’t sound like a tradition, just laziness disguised. Like using Axe Body Spray in lieu of showering. Even Allen Iverson had to think it was messed up.

It was the seniors’ decision,” said junior running back Johnathan Franklin. “We’re going to get together for a team activity.”

Make no mistake, Franklin was against the idea. Quarterback Kevin Prince called the move “disappointing.”

“Hopefully it doesn’t come back to bite us,” Prince said.

They weren’t the only ones. Defensive coordinator Joe Tresey was irate. Safety Dalton Hilliard walked off the practice field in disgust.

New coach Jim Mora? Yeah, he wasn’t pleased either.

“It’s completely unacceptable and it will not be part of the program going forward,” Mora said in a statement. “It’s a privilege not a right to play football for the UCLA Bruins. With the commitment you make when you sign on to play here, comes a commit to do whats asked of you buy your coaches on a daily basis. I can just tell you, in no uncertain terms, that that tradition will no longer be a part of tradition going forward. Dan Guerrero and I have spoken about it, and we both agree that the culture of UCLA football needs to change as part of the interview process. We’re going to do all we can to make sure we change it.”

Remember, this is a program that applied for a bowl waiver from the NCAA because their 6-7 record would normally make them ineligible for the postseason… and they got it.

So, to the Bruins who endorsed going “over the wall”: maybe you didn’t earn your expense checks after all.

Think Willie Taggart and Western Kentucky, or Pete Lembo and Ball State, would allow their kids to miss a practice so they could see a movie? I know “Mission: Impossible 3” looks awesome and all, but it can wait. Where’s the senior pride? If you’re going to lose money playing in a lower-tier bowl (the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl) against another team (Illinois) that probably shouldn’t be bowling either, the least you can do is act like it means something to you.

Those who approved going over the wall haven’t earned the luxury of employing this so-called tradition. Not with their record. Not when they lost their last two games by a combined 68 points. Not when they already quit against Arizona. Not when there are two other teams who want to be in UCLA’s shoes.

It shouldn’t be a tradition at all. All it does is promote another tradition the Bruins have practiced for the better part of 30 years.


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18 Responses to “UCLA seniors decide to ‘go over the wall’, ditch practice”
  1. redsoxaa says: Dec 21, 2011 9:15 PM

    For a second I thought going over the wall meant going to play for USC. Probably would have been a better idea. 6-7 teams usually need practice.

  2. burm61 says: Dec 21, 2011 9:20 PM

    Mora needs to make a statement and suspend all the seniors for the bowl game.

  3. brewcrewfan54 says: Dec 21, 2011 9:24 PM

    Is it really underachieving when nobody really expects them to achieve anything?

  4. goodfieldnohit says: Dec 21, 2011 9:36 PM

    “Mora needs to make a statement and suspend all the seniors for the bowl game.”


  5. irishwavend says: Dec 21, 2011 9:48 PM

    Most importantly, it’s Mission Impossible 4, not 3.

  6. phillyb6 says: Dec 21, 2011 9:52 PM

    Burm I think I agree with you, if he wants that ‘tradition’ gone, suspending them would do it.

  7. acieu says: Dec 21, 2011 10:57 PM

    Another college football joke based on too many bowl games. Allowing a team with a losing record into a bowl is the first failure. College football is a cesspool of greedy universities.

  8. cowhawkfan says: Dec 21, 2011 11:00 PM

    Get over it! They skipped one practice. Its not like they frequently skipped practice, heck, they didn’t even miss several, try missed one. It would be far worse to attend all practices and not give max effort , not to give mass effort at every practice except one. I bet even Mora has missed a practice now and again. Let’s get real!!!

  9. mogogo1 says: Dec 21, 2011 11:30 PM

    @ cowhawkfan:

    It’s very gracious (and naive) of you to assume that these guys haven’t also been dogging it at the practices they actually showed up for. Have you checked out their record over the past four years? There’s been a serious lack of commitment long before now.

  10. 1historian says: Dec 21, 2011 11:44 PM

    In their last game they got whipped 50-0 by USC and they don’ think they need to practice?


  11. quizguy66 says: Dec 21, 2011 11:49 PM

    As an Illini fan and alum I’m concerned that both of these teams might find a way to score negative points.

    Here’s to hoping my Illini show up even if the game seems optional to UCLA.


  12. martyseattle says: Dec 22, 2011 4:09 AM

    Yeah, this is what happens when you stop keeping score and give every kid a trophy for ‘participating.’ They never learn that if you want to succeed you need to WORK at it. No wonder they have a losing record for the year ….

  13. Pac12ute says: Dec 22, 2011 4:54 AM

    @ quizguy66 : Best post that I’ve seen in a long time! Hilarious!

    I’m just confused at how a school can bring in so many highly ranked recruiting classes and end up being mediocre on such a consistent basis. Off of talent alone they should be winning 8 games every year.

  14. pdcooper08 says: Dec 22, 2011 5:25 AM

    Cowhawk fan, are you kidding me? This team is a collective group of underachievers. For the senior class to bail out on even one practice, is totally unacceptable. This is a clear case of just not understanding or getting the big picture. Why not bail on a practice during the regular part of the season like they always did before. Why wait until now. A bunch of losers with losers work ethics. I hope the Illini open up a can on them like the Trojans did.

    Keep your ears open, I’ve been told the Coach Mora will be cleaning house and getting rid of several 5th year and under classmen in the next few months.

  15. uscatjerseyshore says: Dec 22, 2011 9:34 AM

    Any team that has a 6-7 record should not be going to a bowl game. There are rules to this effect. The waiver given to UCLA to allow participation is yet another flawed NCAA decision.

  16. rcali says: Dec 22, 2011 10:29 AM

    Really everybody, is one practice really going to help a bunch of underachievers?

  17. kfrazee says: Dec 22, 2011 10:33 AM

    “with the commitment you make….do what’s asked of you buy your coaches on a daily basis”….Let’s see, USC buys their players and it looks like UCLA buys their coaches. They should join the SEC.

  18. irishwavend says: Dec 22, 2011 9:01 PM

    Second most importantly, you managed to use Picard and Riker in the context of football. That’s awesome!

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