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A Familiar Road

The most important question for the Bruins Nation today is Ben Olson's health. From the Daily News:

Olson stayed on the ground for several minutes. When he was helped off the field, he couldn't put any weight on his left leg. He had the knee wrapped on the sidelines and went into the locker room for the remainder of the half. He returned to the sidelines in the second half in street clothes and walking with crutches.

Olson is expected to have an MRI exam Monday. After initial reports from team doctors, Olson said he didn't think it was a season-ending injury to the anterior cruciate ligament.

Offensive coordinator Jim Svoboda said his understanding was that the injury was to the medial collateral ligament. Depending on the degree, that type of injury can keep an athlete out anywhere from one to two weeks to three to four months.

"It's going to be a setback for the kid," Svoboda said. "He was coming along. It's disappointing, but those things happen. ... Just like that, it's a whole different deal for him."
Let's keep our fingers crossed that it is noting more than sprain and that he will back in action in 4-5 weeks:

Richard Hartog / LAT

Get well soon Ben. Our prayers are with you.

Let's get over any delusionary thoughts that Pat Cowan is the answer to our offensive woes of last four weeks. He is not.  He looked great against one of the worst teams in the  Pac-10 yesterday. As Cowan said in the Daily News he was having "fun." That is nice and all. But right now it is kind of nothing short of silly daydream to think Pat Cowan is going to lead us to promise land by the end of the year. Pat Cowan is a very capable quarterback. A very good one who may start for some lower tier Pac-10 teams. But right now when BO gets completely healthy, it will be no. 7, who should be our unquestionable starter, not some guy who had a decent game against one of the worst team in the country.

Again there is nothing much to take from last night's game. The Bruin defense again had a banner night against a joke of an offense. From the OC Register:
UCLA held the Wildcats (2-4, 0-3) to only 222 yards of total offense, minus-13 on the ground. The Bruins have yet to allow an opponent 300 yards of total offense this season, going five consecutive games for the first time since 1992.

Defensive end Bruce Davis knocked Willie Tuitama out of the game in the first quarter with a crushing hit that left the Arizona quarterback with a concussion.

The defense also put points on the board for the second week in a row, with freshman Alterraun Verner stepping in front of an Adam Austin pass and taking it 89 yards for a touchdown.

"They nickel-and-dimed us a little bit, but stuff like that isn't going to win football games," Davis said. "They earned what they got, but I think we handled our business tonight
We will see how they hold up against the combination of Dennis Dixon and Jonathan Stewart next weekend.  Again great job so far till this point of the season. However those performances from a UCLA defense against mediocre to down right shitty high school level offenses should be expected, not celebrated as some kind of spectacular accomplishment.

Meanwhile the offense slept walk through against a defensive unit, which it could have probably beaten with Osaar Rashan taking snaps.  The offensive play calling was somewhat encouraging, as apparently it wasn't changed with the new QB:
With Arizona determined to shut down UCLA's ground attack, the Bruins called more play-action passes on first down Saturday than they had in any game this year. Before Olson was injured, he attempted passes on two of three first downs. Cowan had pass plays called on 12 of 18 first downs.

Definitely a more aggressive approach compared to UCLA's play calling against Washington two weeks before. In the Bruins' 29-19 loss to the Huskies, they ran the ball 19 of their first 24 first-down plays.

"Our game plan did not change when he got in there," offensive coordinator Jim Svoboda said. "That's what we had planned on doing coming into the game. Pat's a good player. We had solid competition in the fall and ... once the injury happened, we told him that we did not plan on changing anything."
Well the offensive play calling was a little better, but the production was lukewarm. The Bruins failed to average 4 yards a carry. The rushing offense was down right pathetic. And when Bruins had  chance to go for the kill with 4 and short  deep in the Zona territory, the coaches once again failed to show any kind of killer instinct by settling for another field goal. These coaches are playing as if they are trying not to lose their jobs ... er ... I mean the game, instead of playing to win. Totally uninspiring.

Right now we have 7 games left. We are going to be underdogs against Oregon, ND, Cal, and Southern Cal.  Southern Cal is a must win game. There will no excuse for losing to an over-rated Pom Pom unit, which is looking pretty shaky and over-rated without a reliable offense, and a vulnerable secondary at this  point of the season.  So the Bruins will have to win 2 out 3 against Oregon, ND, and Cal, and hold serve against Wazzu, Oregon St. at home, while getting a road win over pathetic ASU on the road. This is more than reasonable expectations this team should be able to meet even with Pat Cowan at the helm for next 4-5 weeks.

Again I am sorry if I am not jumping up and down at this point of the season. We have been down this road before. We are 4-1. We should have been 5-0, as we expected before the season started.  Sure it is all right to feel good about a 4-1 record at this point of this season. But those who haven't lost perspective would remember we have been down this road before. We were after all 8-0 just last season and started out the season 6-2 in his first year. Both times the Bruin  seasons crashed and burned when they took on better teams later in the year.  And right now have seen nothing that gives us the confidence that Bruins will meet the minimum expectations for this season. Hopefully we are wrong.


PS: Again Big Ben ... get well soon.  Bruins Nation is with you. You are our quarterback.