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Hump Day Roundup

Gotta say I am not surprised at KD naming PC as the starter for this weekend's game. OC Register on the announcement from yesterday:

Patrick Cowan has started the past six games at quarterback for UCLA and will start again on Saturday at the Rose Bowl against No.2 USC, as the Bruins try to snap a seven-game losing streak to their reviled crosstown rival.

Coach Karl Dorrell announced his decision Wednesday, tabbing Cowan ahead of Ben Olson, who had started the Bruins' first five games before suffering a tear in the medial collateral ligament in his left knee in an Oct. 7 victory over Arizona.

"I talked with both of them about it. They understood. Ben understood that, too," Dorrell said. "Pat has a little more seasoning because of all the experience he's been playing with the past few weeks. Ben is really close and will be ready to go given any circumstances that we happen to come across in the course of the game."

Cowan and Olson were not available to comment - Dorrell shuts down media access to the Bruins' quarterbacks after Tuesday to allow them time to prepare for the game.
Cowan and South Paw Jesus were not available to comment, but Junior Taylor was. From the LA Times:
"I can't really question the decision," senior wide receiver Junior Taylor said. "I know Ben wanted to be out there, he wanted to play. It's a tough call. But Pat has been out there for the last couple of weeks and it's been a while since Ben has been out there.

"We're going to be playing a fast defense and we're going to need the quarterback to be able to run a lot. This could be a decision that is looking for the future."
I know many of us were rooting for SPJ's return but folks I think we have to give Dorrell some deference wrt this decision.  I am pretty stoked to hear that SPJ is almost fully recovered but deep down inside I wasn't very comfortable with bringing back a QB who tore his ligaments just two months ago. But something inside me just feels a little queasy about exposing the kid to long term injury (I just have visions of Jerry Rice in my head when he tried to come back too early from his first serious injury in San Francisco).

Anyways at this point Cowan's mobility and ability to scramble will help us against the Trojan defense full of fast LBs. So I think it is the right decision to go with Cowan to start this game. However, at this point if the Bruins do fall behind by a big score (14+ points) and are showing no signs of life on offense like they did against during first half of Oregon State and most of the ASU game, I do believe Dorrell should pull the trigger and insert SPJ. But for the time being IMHO starting PC is the right call.

Moreover, it's not the QB who is going to win the game for us this weekend. We will have to win this game with a ferocious defense, good special teams, and being opportunistic in offense. In other words whoever brings home the victory this Saturday - PC or SPJ - he will have to do it by managing the game, which is not making any mistakes, and going for the kill when the opportunity presents itself. Here are Dohn's thoughts on what Bruins need to do to win this game:
In order to beat the Trojans, who are two-touchdown favorites, UCLA will need to play a near-flawless game.

It means not blowing assignments against 6-foot-5 junior receiver Dwayne Jarrett, who scored three touchdowns against Notre Dame last week, and getting pressure on quarterback John David Booty.

The Bruins also must tackle well, a bugaboo during a four-game losing streak but a strength in wins against Oregon State and Arizona State that helped them earn a berth in the Emerald Bowl against Florida State.

Offensively, the Bruins cannot afford to turn the ball over and must execute the short passing game, since USC's fast line-backing corps likely will make it difficult for UCLA to control the clock via the running game.

Van said a victory against USC will ensure an improved status for UCLA, but will not signal a complete turnaround.

"Beating them, it may not get us there, but it furthers us in the direction," he said. "If you think it and know it, and you go out and prove it against a team that also feels that way and you beat them, then you're definitely on your way."
I couldn't agree with Van more. Winning this game on Saturday is going to be sweet. However, it will not make up for the deep disappointment of a lost season and four underachieving years in Westwood. BTW before making the points Dohn's article starts with the usual clichés from Dorrell on how this has been "growing" season non-sense.

However, no matter how much beat writers like Dohn are trying to placate Dorrell from pressure, right now everyone can sense the feeling no one is buying Dorrell's tired clichés any more. Except for bunch of cowardly so called Bruin fans who are hoping for a "respectable showing", I strongly believe majority of the Bruin Nation will not accept anything short of ending the streak this weekend.

The growing excuse nonsense will simply not fly. Patrick Cowan has had 6 games to "grow" and "learn" through KD's offense. Time for him and his coach to come up with this win on Saturday. No more excuses.