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Football Previews

SI has a preview of UCLA. Nothing earth shattering as it takes a quick look at new coaches who are supposed to be keys to our success this season:

[I]t is the remade coaching staff that has Bruins fans excited. UCLA had one of the worst defenses in the nation the last two years, and Dorrell acted accordingly in firing defensive coordinator Larry Kerr.

UCLA ranked 113th in the nation in total defense (468.1 ypg) in 2005, 116th in rushing defense (232.8 ypg), and 108th in scoring defense (34.2 ppg). Blown assignments and poor tackling were carryovers from '04's similarly poor performance.

Dorrell replaced Kerr with NFL veteran assistant DeWayne Walker, who learned under Pete Carroll, Bill Belichick and Gregg Williams. Walker is cut from the no-nonsense mold of Dorrell. He will run a 4-3 defense and ask his cornerbacks to cover man-to-man often. Changes in the defense's approach and attitude were evident during spring practice.

"I'm full of challenges, so we're always going to try and create challenges for them," Walker says. "If you challenge a guy, and he's not really apt to accept that challenge, you've probably got the wrong guy."

Linebackers coach Chuck Bullough spent last season at Western Michigan after five seasons with the Chicago Bears, and defensive line coach Todd Howard worked with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season.

Quarterbacks coach Jim Svoboda added the title of offensive coordinator and will call the plays. But the Bruins will run the same offensive system, which Dorrell brought to Westwood, that averaged 39.1 points last season.

"We'd like to expand on our play-action stuff a little bit more," Svoboda says. "[The shotgun] is a thought that we've had. It's something Karl's done, and something I've done, but you really have to consider what you're going to do with it because it's different."
And who is going to run that shot gun offense? Southpaw Jesus of course, who Fox Sports pegs as one of the breakout quarterbacks for the 2006 season:
At USC, the wait to see QB John David Booty take the reins is finally over, but across town, college football fans are getting to see another highly touted prep signalcaller finally get a starting job he's waited nearly five seasons for. Ben Olson is taking over at UCLA.

When you factor in all of the recruiting hype surrounding Olson when he signed with BYU in February 2002, it's not unimaginable to wonder if he could've completed a stellar four-year college career by now.

However, after a redshirt year in Provo, some LDS missions, switching schools, then holding a clipboard while Drew Olson tore it up last season, the 6-foot-5, 235-pound lefty is only a redshirt sophomore (at age 23).

What could hurt Olson's breakout campaign is the fact that UCLA's offense returns fewer starters (four) than I had Starter jackets in junior high (five). But, while Olson isn't as spoiled with offensive riches as I was with hooded Georgetown parkas, the big southpaw should be fine with the talent still at the skill positions.

Olson can hit running backs Chris Markey and Michael Pitre out of the backfield, or go deep, or over the middle to talented receivers Joe Cowan, Junior Taylor, Brandon Breazell and Marcus Everett. If Maurice Drew would've stuck around, that would've been an immense help, and the Bruin offense would've been guaranteed to stay just as sick as it was last year.

Though Olson hasn't played a real game since 2001, one can only assume that his age and life experience can only help out in the intangibles department. Plus, he's not as old as Chris Weinke, Josh Booty, or Scott Bakula in Necessary Roughness, and it's well documented that a slightly older college quarterback can shake off the rust after a layoff. I've watched videos of Olson at UCLA practice over at Scout.com from 2005; he looks sharp, and throws a crisp ball.
Sounds good to me. No excuses. 9 wins and Beat SC.

GO BRUINS.