Spaulding Roundup: A Time To Chill

Allow me to start this Sunday with a story I heard from a good buddy of mine during last football season. Apparently last year after Utah humiliated UCLA in a game in which Olson was bruised and battered (a game in which he was kept in even though as it was later revealed that he had suffered concussion from the repeated battering behind Dorrell's maginot offensive line), two UCLA football fans were busy chatting among themselves on a plane back to LA. They were coming back from attending that nightmarish game and were busy chatting up Ben Olson, discussing how he was a total bust and a huge disappointment at UCLA. They kept at it the whole time until they were finally interrupted by one of two ladies directly sitting infront of them. According to my friends’ account tears were streaming down the eyes of that one lady who reminded those two jerks that the kid who they were so busy tearing down happened to be their son (and brother).  Those two UCLA "fans" kept quiet rest of the trip.

Let me add the caveat that I can’t confirm this story myself because I wasn’t there.  For what it’s worth I have heard the same story from couple of other folks.  But if there is anything inaccurate in this account please let me know in the comment threads I will make sure to point it out in this post with an update or in my next. However, the point we can take from this story is the point 66 made so eloquently (as he always does) re Olson’s latest setback:

He is a Bruin Warrior and, perhaps, the biggest victim of the CTS era. Suffering behind an offensive line that could not protect him and a total lack of any indication that the coaches knew how to use his talents, he’s stayed positive and has given us his best.

So for anyone who wants to come on here after yesterday’s news and post some kind of "I told you so" post with any hints of a celebratory tone, should think twice.  We don’t have any room for that kind of behavior towards a kid, who has given up his body for this program (despite being subjected to horrible coaching during majority of his career at UCLA).

Now that we have out of the way let’s get to news of latest setback for Ben Olson from yesterday:

UCLA quarterback Ben Olson was carted off the field during Saturday's practice with a right foot injury suffered in a non-contact drill, a foreboding sign the Bruins' quarterback situation could be in flux.

Bruins coach Rick Neuheisel said Olson felt pain in the same place he suffered a broken bone in his foot during spring practice, an injury that kept him from doing football- related activity for nearly three months.

Olson broke the fifth metatarsal in his right foot during a non-contract drill in the spring, and had a screw surgically inserted to assist the healing.

"He said he felt discomfort in the foot, so we told him to go in (to the locker room) and they're taking an X-ray," Neuheisel said.

"It's too bad. He was getting better and all that type of stuff. But, hopefully, it will be one of those things where we just have to rest him again."

A fluoroscope on Olson's foot was inconclusive. Olson is scheduled to have X-rays today at UCLA Medical Center. It is possible he will undergo an MRI as well, Neuheisel said.

According to Chris Foster from the LA Times Olson was hurt in a similar "fake" play last Spring. This is not the first time Olson has gotten hurt during Fall practice. He got hurt in his first fall practice at UCLA when he banged his fingers against a team-mate’s helmet, losing out the starting job to Drew Olson. Foster has a brief recount of other Olson nightmares in Westwood:

Olson has played with pain in the foot through the first five days of camp and sat out Friday's practice to rest. The injured foot was the latest setback in his career, despite the fact he has won the UCLA starting job the past two seasons.

As a sophomore in 2006, he tore a knee ligament in the fifth game against Arizona and was lost for the season. Last season, he missed one game with concussion-like symptoms and five others because of an injured right knee.

So what happens now? Instead of panicking, Neuheisel will sit down with Chow and rest of his staff to develop a plan when they receive more information re. the extent of Olson’s injury.  From the OC Register:

"We've just got to keep chugging along, but as the sand drifts through the hourglass, we've got to make some decisions," Neuheisel said. "We'll just have to wait and see what the decisions are when we have some information."

The data points that will factor into those decisions will be the performances of Kevin Craft, Chris Forcier, Kevin Prince and even Osaar Rasshan. Foster has the details on how Chow distributed the repos following Olson’s injury:

Quarterback Kevin Craft was moved in with the first team. Craft has struggled during training camp and was inconsistent again Saturday. Olson's injury resulted in increased time for redshirt freshman Chris Forcier, who received the bulk of the time with the second team.

Forcier, who attended San Diego St. Augustine High, ran the scout team last season. He can bring speed to the position.

"Norm has a method to his madness," Neuheisel said. "I usually don't get too involved. He must have thought Chris was doing well and let him stay in there and gain some confidence."

This is a situation in which we all need to relax and "chill" (as 66 said last night) and let the coaches make their decisions as they gather information from the practice field and injury reports. This is where the experiences of Chow and Neuheisel in working with quarterbacks come in handy and they deserve the benefit of the doubt in terms of getting all the space and time necessary in making decisions that is best for the team.

For now let’s hope Olson will be all right and that this is nothing short of a temporary setback. Meanwhile, let’s hope kids like Craft, Forcier and Prince will take advantage of the opportunities of extra rep to get them to the point where they can help the team.

I will end this Sunday with a note from Coach:

"Things turn out best for people who make the best out of the way things turn out."

Someone should clip that and send it to the entire team.

GO BRUINS.

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