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Togetherness, Chemistry

COLUMN ARCHIVE

July 20, 2000

Wow, can you believe how fast the weeks are flying by. It's not that long before the "Tide rolls in". I hope that everyone had as an exciting week as the Bruin football team.

As I look back on this week and ask myself what was so special about it, immediately the thought of togetherness and chemistry come to mind. There were several instances this week in which the team really rallied around each other. This was another week where the team took steps in the direction of success. In JELLO terminology, we are just passing the liquid stage and are beginning to solidify as a mold.

This week, we have had more than 25 guys coming out to the workouts that begin at 6 a.m. You may think that it shouldn't be a problem to get up that early and work out. Yet, my friends, I tell you that it is very challenging. Many players not only work out, but they are taking summer school courses and are working jobs so they can earn some extra spending money for the summer. The combination of these three full-time priorities can be very demanding day in and day out. Many times in the past, when guys would work out early, they didn't do it to get better, but just to get the workout over. This year, I feel that everyone is working out to get better and to come together as a team.

I'll tell you -- things have sure changed. If you were to walk into the weight room or onto the field when we run, you would be amazed at the energy and enthusiasm that the players display as they are training. You would honestly think it was the middle of the afternoon. The players are working so hard and everyone is pushing each other to do their best that it seems unnatural for the players to be acting this way so early in the morning. IT'S GREAT!

The players had a team dinner last week. On Wednesday, the players went to a Marina del Rey restaurant and had a great time. It's hard to find place that will accommodate such a large group and has prices that are affordable for a college student. The restaurant does a great job, it has a fun atmosphere and the food is great -- you get a lot and that's a good thing when football players are eating.

The reason we try to set up team dinners is to get the players together outside of football. You are with these guys more than you are with your own family and yet you really don't have too many opportunities to hang out with all guys off campus. This really allows the players to be themselves and not feel like a coach or an adult is watching their every move.

Philosophy of the week:

This comes from the bible and it deals with subject of why it is so important to have friends on the team:

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help them up!"

Player of the week is Brian Polak

Q. How do you feel when people say the offensive line is the weakest link on the team?
A. Most of the time, I just ignore it. But there are times when we get together and use it as motivation, because we want to be the most dominant line in the Pac-10.

Q. What do you like to do outside of football?
A. I am a big pro wrestling fan, so I follow that all the time. I am also a pretty good athlete so I like to play golf or tennis when my body isn't that sore.

Q. What is your most memorable moment in football at UCLA?
A. There are so many, but if I have to choose one, it would be last year's victory over Washington. The players played with so much emotion and I feel that is what a true team victory is. I think after that game was the happiest I have ever been on the football field.

Q. What are your goals for the future?

A. I want to re-establish myself as dominant linemen and become one of the leaders on this dominant line. My goal is to become an All-Pac-10 selection and, hopefully, earn All-America honors.


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