LOS ANGELES -- The fate of this year's UCLA Bruins team rests in how the team responds this week to the blowout loss at California over the weekend, running back Johnathan Franklin said during a radio interview with Mark Willard and Brian Kamenetzky today on ESPN 710.
"I think we can be a great team," Franklin said. "We haven’t come close to maximizing our potential. In a season, you’ll lose some games. You’ll have adversity. But this week you are going to see what kind of team we are. We have a big team, Utah, coming in and we’ve got to bounce back."
The Bruins (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12) lost, 43-17, against Cal in their most lopsided defeat of the season. The Bruins had six turnovers and 12 penalties and Franklin said those kinds of mistakes must be cleaned up on the practice field or more of the same ugliness will transpire.
"The reality is we sit here now 4-2 and our future is in our hands right now," Franklin said. "We can either lay an egg or we can let things fall where they need to fall. All we can do is work hard. If we want to change things, if we want to create things, if we want to be great, we’ve got to work hard."
The team has the potential to be great, Franklin said, but at the midway point of the season the Bruins have yet to show that. With a second-half schedule that includes the Utah Utes, Arizona State Sun Devils, Arizona Wildcats, USC Trojans and Stanford Cardinal, the Bruins have the opportunity for success. The second half of this season, Franklin said, will say a lot about the direction of the program and that begins with Tuesday’s first practice of the second half.
"We’re going to set the tone for the second half of the season in practice," Franklin said. "How we finish off the season is going to be decided in practice."
During the interview, Franklin also talked about encouraging quarterback Brett Hundley after his four-interception game against Cal, the importance, or lack thereof, of winning the Heisman Trophy, and his post-football political aspirations.
To listen to the podcast, click here .