Let's shift our focus to quarterbacks. By now I am sure every die hard UCLA football fan has heard or read about the promise of South Paw Jesus.
The Southpaw Jesus at Spring Practice, Photo: Courtesy of adakbruin
If you still haven't you can get all caught up by going here, here, and here.
BO will be the center of attention and everyone will be writing about him when camp opens next week. So instead of focusing on him let's take a look at the two guys who are behind Southpaw Jesus:
|7||Ben Olson (6-5, 225, So*)|
|12||Pat Cowan (6-5, 224, So*)|
|11||Osaar Rasshan (6-4, 210, So*)|
Neither Cowan nor Rasshan has thrown a single pass. Regardless, the coaches are pretty high on Patrick Cowan (RS Sr.), who is the younger brother of wide receiver Joe Cowan. If you can recall, the new offensive coordinator Jim Svoboda gave an interview this off-season in which he revealed that he thought so highly of Cowan that he could foresee platooning Cowan with Olson in the first few games. Cowan reportedly looked solid during this year?s spring practice:
Pat Cowan (#12), Photo: Courtesy of adakbruin
And Dorrell, during the Pac-10 media day, also mentioned that Olson was not the unquestioned starter going into training camp and he expected competition between Olson and Cowan. Well, whatever. The coaches are probably making those comments to keep BO motivated and focused. But still this should give us some confidence about having Cowan as the no. 2 guy behind BO. Cowan is a red shirt sophomore (like Olson). He may be just a tad ahead of Olson in terms of his grasp of the WCO offense. From the reports, he sounds like a QB who is fairly athletic and can move around the pocket, spraying passes around to different receivers. After it is all said and done, I think UCLA fans will be shocked if Olson is not the starter. That said, Cowan will be one the better backup QB?s UCLA has had on its roster for a quite a long time.
Now, after Cowan, it get?s a little interesting. We have a red-shirt freshman named Osaar Rasshan (RS Sr.), who was a fairly highly recruited QB/athlete coming out of high school. And Rasshan did show some pretty good moves during the last spring practice:
Osaar Rasshan (#11) Photo: Courtesy of adakbruin
At this point, no one really expects Rasshan to be a factor as a QB (at least for this season). So far he hasn't showed much in practice. But, if this kid is a talented athlete and can throw a good pass once in a while, why not put him in offense as a slash style QB. Hey the Steelers perfected the slash, starting with Kordell and continuing with Randall El (who is now Manny White?s team-mate in DC). Why not use Rasshan in the offense (if he can catch) the way Steelers have used their converted-QBs? There have been some rumors floating around already that he may be headed towards WR while still wanting to play QB. So why not use his talent the way the Steelers Ken Wisenhunt used athletic converted QBs in his offense.
Probably the most wasted talent in recent UCLA football history is none other than Drew Bennett. Drew for last few years has been tearing up the NFL as a receiver with the TN Titans, making clutch catch after clutch catch. Toledo put him in for trick plays (remember that catch against Oregon (Cade?s Puke Game)) here and there but never fully utilized his talent. Perhaps Svoboda can scheme in Rasshan here and there in the offense putting defenses on their heels. That?d be kind of fun. Then again, the word ?fun? is not exactly synonymous with Dorrell?s conservative Donahue football. So who knows?
Anyways, going back to the main point, UCLA?s QB corps may be inexperienced but we have two quality signal callers at the position going into this season (sure Sooners would love have to someone line Cowan right about now). Dorrell should get some credit for shoring up the most important position in our offense. Now let?s hope he can utilize all the talent we have and get us to 9 wins including USC. After all, as I mentioned in the last post, we did get to the Rose Bowl in 1994 with Wayne Cook, who had a grand total of 13 career pass attempts and 3 years in the system before leading the team to the Pac-10 championship and a win over USC. In Olson and Cowan, we have at least two QBs who have that kind of experience with more physical talents going into 2006. So, there should be no excuses.