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Good News/Bad News Day

First let's get the bad news out of the way. Joe Cowan was injured yesterday and it doesn't sound like a minor one:

Senior Joe Cowan, UCLA's leading returning receiver, could miss the season after an MRI revealed a torn ligament in his right knee.

Cowan was diagnosed with a torn posterior cruciate ligament, and will rest the knee for the next few weeks in an attempt to be ready for the season. If he cannot play with the injury, season-ending surgery would be performed.

"I know he's down for at least a couple of weeks," Bruins coach Karl Dorrell said after Wednesday's practice. "Then, we'll re-evaluate and see where it is."

The injury occurred on a non-contact play during Tuesday's practice. Cowan said he fell forward, and landed squarely on his knee.

Cowan's 35 receptions were second among the Bruins in 2005, and led the wide receiver corps. The St. John Bosco High graduate does have a redshirt year remaining, so he could return in 2007 if he missed the season.

Cowan watched practice with his knee heavily bandaged and in a brace.
Well this is a bummer news for Cowan. He was primed to have a great season this year. But if there is a position we can manage to take some hits to our depth chart it's the receivers. Lets wish Cowan a speedy recovery and given our depth at receiver position we are going to be fine. We will have more on our depth at recievers/TEs next next week.

Meanwhile let's get the good news. The Southpaw Jesus is picking things up and starting to get in rhythm:
Through three days on the practice field, UCLA quarterback Ben Olson has looked quicker and smoother than he did in voluntary workouts and 7-on-7 skirmishes over the summer.

The pieces, he said, have come together. He is seeing more, reading defenses more quickly and getting the ball out of his hand and to the right receivers.

While Coach Karl Dorrell said he is not close to designating a starting quarterback, a decision would seem to be best made sooner rather than later to get the No.1 quarterback more repetitions in practice heading into UCLA's Sept.2 opener against Utah at the Rose Bowl.
And while Olson is getting in rhythm is backfield team-mate Chris Markey is looking sharp in practice getting ready to assume the role of starting tailback. From the LA Times today:
For two seasons, UCLA running back Chris Markey played a backup role to Maurice Drew and did it well enough to rush for more than 900 yards and average 5.2 yards a carry.

But with Drew now an NFL rookie with the Jacksonville Jaguars, it's Markey's turn to step into the lead role for the Bruins and to get ready for this season, he looked to his past when he dominated at Jesuit High in New Orleans.

"We've changed how we take handoffs and it's more like I used to do in high school when I got the ball with my shoulders squared to the line of scrimmage," said Markey, New Orleans high school player of the year in 2003. "So, I looked at all of my old high school tapes to see how I used to do it back then." [...]

At 5 feet 11 and 208 pounds, Markey has more size than Drew, but he'll never be mistaken for a big back, which is why he has worked hard to improve his footwork for pass protection assignments. For the Bruins, making the right block on a blitz is just as important as a first-down carry. [...]

In practice this week, he has looked sharp as a runner and catching the ball out of the backfield. It's this versatility that makes him such a strong candidate to replace Drew, who led the nation in punt returns last year.
Well it's good to hear our offense getting in gear early in the training camp. Usually its the defense which dominates early in team training camps.  Oh and speaking of the defense looks like the coaches are tinkering with Bruce Davis again:
Another training camp and another plan for UCLA's utilization of defensive end Bruce Davis.

The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder has played as a rush-end specialist, was tried as a hybrid linebacker, and even suggested playing tight end to Dorrell last fall.

"I'll be playing the open-side end," Davis said. "That means I'm not playing over a tight end, and I'll be able to make some plays."
Davis is an incredibly talented athlete who was heavily recruited by Mack Brown. Let's hope these coaches have finally figured out the best way to unleash this kid's natural talent.

Hopefully the reports of our offense looking sharp in practice doesn't mean our defense is out of sync. We are going to find out in just about 3 weeks. No excuses.