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Saying the Right Things

We will start with some football notes today. There are some interesting tidbits in the paper this AM. The LA Times reports on the quarterback situation at UCLA. Even though Olson was (naturally) disappointed in not being named the starter for the Emerald Bowl, it sounds like both Olson and Dorrell are handling the situation the right way:

"Well, he's disappointed," Coach Karl Dorrell said of Olson, who returned to practice in early November only to watch Patrick Cowan lead the Bruins to three consecutive victories to finish the regular season and earn an invitation to the Emerald Bowl.

"But that's going to be natural with any competitor," Dorrell added. "He wants to help the team. He wants to get back out there and do what he can.... He's going through tough circumstances, given how things have shaken down this year."

For Olson, who was injured in the first half of UCLA's victory over Arizona on Oct. 7, the season may not have played out to expectations, but there is still one game left.

Dorrell has named Cowan the starter for the Emerald Bowl but said Olson needs to remain ready.

The former starter has no quibble with that.

"I'm feeling real good right now," said Olson, who has completed 63.7% of his passes for 822 yards and five touchdowns. "I'm not wearing a brace anymore and I'm able to go out there and do the things I want. All I can do is to try and get better. You have to take what you're given and just build on that."

Said Dorrell, "There is always next year and there is what I always call 'the play away syndrome' when you are a play away from getting in there and doing it just like you did it before. Ben is going to compete and continue to work and get better. He's going to get himself in a position that he once was and that's the kind of attitude that I want."
I think that's the right way to handle the situation for all parties involved. This situation is playing a little differently than the Moore v. DO fiasco, during which Moore (at least in my view) acted like a little petulant child, while Dorrell exacerbated the controversy by communicating his views in a very unclear way. As much grief as I have given KD on number of other issues, I think at least in this specific instance he has gotten it right. And I give him credit for it. I do hope that KD will put in Olson for a series or two during the Emerald Bowl, especially if Cowan is not moving the offense against the Noles defense in first two quarters.

Meanwhile, Olson needs to suck it up. He needs to bring his competitive spirit into practice every day, and do whatever it takes to get himself emotionally and mentally ready for the Emerald Bowl, and then come out with fire to win over his starting spot during spring practice. If Olson "brings it" mentally, I think he will be able to beat out Cowan during spring and fall practices next year.

Elsewhere, Dohn also has practice notes which include comments from Rodney Van. Rodney, who has not picked off a pass this regular season, is chomping at the bit to go up against a horrible FSU passing offensive, in which the QBs have thrown 15 picks (and 18 TDs). As mentioned before, we are expecting Van, Brown, Verner and co. to annihilate the FSU passing game.

Lastly, an amusing note from the OC Register. Norm Chow doesn't think much of the clowns running the Trojan offense. I think the biggest mistake which will probably undo the Humanitarian's tarnished and dirty legacy in Southern Cal, was letting Chow go. Petey's ego got the best of him when he let Chow go a couple of years ago. Last year, the Trojans cruised, riding the surreal talents of Bush and the senior leadership of Leinart. But this year they were exposed. And, it is not going to improve any time soon. Let's hope the UCLA coaches will be taking advantage on the recruiting trail by pointing out the Trojan demise, and then going for the kill next December.

First thing is first though. They need to take care of business against Florida State. As of right now, everyone from the UCLA program is saying the right things. Let's hope they can keep the momentum going by finishing off FSU on 12/27.