Practice starts tomorrow. Obviously Karl Dorrell is going to be under an intense microscope heading into the season opener on September 1. And one of the main subplots in the Dorrell drama is how he is going to be able to develop and take advantage of the best high school talent to come out of Southern California's high schools since the Great John Elway. All eyes are going to be on the Southpaw Jesus (SPJ)
Photo: Keith Birmingham, Daily News
Yes, we are going to start using the term SPJ all over again here on BN. We had a little drama last year. No one was paying attention when we were super excited over the most gifted UCLA QB (in terms of raw physical talent) since Aikman, who blew up in his first game. But then certain folks started whining about the usage of that name and we shied away from using it things got a little murky. SPJ got in a little funk (although most of it can be attributed to Dorrell's bonehead WCO and excruciately painful, horrible, cluelessly pathetic and predictable playcalls that shot his confidence). So this year we are not taking any chances. We are going to stick with SPJ no matter how much whining we read here or elsewhere on the internets.
Now that is all settled, SPJ is once again emerging as one of the centerpiece stories in what will probably be the deciding season in term of Dorrell's tenure at UCLA. And if you read today's profile in the LA Times, it sounds like SPJ is ready to go:
Yes, the wait is over, or so reads the Bruins' powder blueprint.
The Olson legacy has gathered considerable dust in the five years since he was anointed the top recruit in the nation as a senior at Thousand Oaks High. Now 24, he stands closer to his 10-year reunion than his high school graduation day. There is still time to prevent the "whatever-happened-to . . ." conversations when his classmates gather.
Said Olson, "The way I look at it, the time is now."
Also if you didn't know Ben got married this summer. Here is another story on the SPJ via Scripps Howard News Services. Ben is confident having an ultimate partner is only going to have an positive impact on how he performs on the field:
"Being married is the best thing in the world because it's a partnership," said Olson. "We were just talking about this the other day. I'll never go through anything by myself again."
It's not a thinly veiled reference to last December, when Olson, despite being promised a return to his starting position upon his return from injury, was forced to watch Patrick Cowan play in both the Bruins' season-defining victory over USC and Emerald Bowl loss to Florida State.
"I didn't really feel alone in that sense, I had my immediate family," said Olson. "And (Andrea) was there with me through the whole season last year. She was a huge support for me during some of the difficult times that I went through."
Olson started the first five games of the season, before tearing the medial collateral ligament in his left knee in the first quarter against Arizona.
Olson had completed 64 percent of his passes for 822 yards and five touchdowns, all to different receivers.
Instead, Big Ben is excited about entering fall camp as the starter for the first time in his career.
He has the reins of a team that returns 20 starters -- 10 on both sides of the ball.
"We just want to win football games," said Olson. "We have a lot of experience now. We have the players we believe can do some big things, which is why the expectations are big this year. We just have to go out there and turn that potential into results."
His offensive line returns 13 of the 14 players listed on the Emerald Bowl depth chart, that combine for 90 starts, plus tight ends Ryan Moya and Logan Paulsen, who is on the Mackey Award watch list. His potential targets include seniors Marcus Everett, Brandon Breazell and Joe Cowan, plus budding youngsters Gavin Ketchum and Terrence Austin.
"We've got a lot of really talented receivers," said Olson. "We're expecting to make a lot of plays."
We are expecting Dorrell and his 4th OC in last 5 years, to make sure they put SPJ and all of our aformentioned talented athletes in position to make play after plays, and get us at least a Pac-10 championship. And if they don't UCLA should get SPJ and rest of our athletes a coaching staff who will be able to get that done. No excuses.