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A Sense of Urgency

Spring practices starts today and there is a sense of urgency of around UCLA. I like it. Dorrell is feeling the heat. Dohn was there to check in as he found KD stammering his clichés on the eve of spring practice.

UCLA coach Karl Dorrell is hopeful of a naming a starting quarterback by the end of spring practice, but the fifth-year coach had bigger things on his mind Wednesday.

Dorrell kicked off an informal media gathering on the eve of spring practice by suggesting another trip to the Las Vegas or Emerald bowls is not acceptable.

"We have to make a move this year," Dorrell said. "I just feel we have to make a move. We have a good deal of experience back, a lot of guys that have played a lot of football, and now it's time to make a move. And we understand that. It's about getting it done now, realizing our potential and meeting our potential."

Dorrell is 29-21 since being hired to rebuild the program, and has lost three of four bowl games. UCLA's best finish under Dorrell is third in the Pacific-10 Conference, which led to a spot in the 2005 Sun Bowl.

With 20 starters returning and a favorable conference schedule (UCLA's road games will be against Stanford, Oregon State, Washington State, Arizona and USC), Dorrell is expecting to contend for the school's first Rose Bowl since the 1998 season.

"We've been fighting for the last two years (to be) in contention in the top of the conference," Dorrell said. "This is something, with our experience coming back, we need to be right there. We need to be right there."
Like I have said here before and I will keep repeating over and over and over again until its drilled into everyone’s head going into the Stanford game, nothing short of a Pac-10 title will be acceptable this season.

The big story of this spring practice is going to QB competition between St. Patrick and Southpaw Jesus. KD wants to resolve the issue by the end of spring:
"The way that we're trying to orchestrate this, we would like to get that resolved by the end of spring," the coach said. "I don't want to bring it into the (fall) camp, what we've done the last couple of years. Both of them are very talented, both of them are very skilled at what they do. It would just be a great situation for us to get it resolved as early as possible. Does that mean the end of spring? We'll see."

Olson was the starter a year ago before suffering a left knee injury against Arizona in the fifth game of the season. He completed 63.7 percent of his passes for 822 yards and five touchdowns with five interceptions. Cowan hit only 52.5 percent of his passes for 1,782 yards with 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions, but started the victory over USC at the Rose Bowl that snapped a seven-game losing streak in the series.
Again I have compiled some notes on this issue and will try to share them by the end of next week. But if you all want to beat me to punch and share your own thoughts on this developing story in the comment threads or diaries, please feel free.

Besides the competition at QB positions there are some other notes. LA Times sent in a new beat reporter (?) Chris Foster to cover the media gathering on the eve of spring practice. He filed the following notes on some position shifts around the offensive line and KD challenging some the younger players on D to step up:
Having 80% of your offensive line back would seem to make this a spot devoid of questions. But Dorrell has played musical linemen since the end of last season, moving Chris Joseph from guard to center and Noah Sutherland from tackle to guard. The moves were designed to "put our best five on the field," Dorrell said. But adjustments will have to be made. Tackle Micah Kia, a sophomore, is the newcomer. He might have been pushed more, but Tony Lee has inflammation in his surgically repaired knee and will be limited during spring practice.

The defense is virtually intact, but it lacks depth. Dorrell called out a handful of players to "make a move" this spring, including linebacker Kyle Bosworth and safeties Bret Lockett and Aaron Ware. "They have gone from sophomores to juniors and need to impress the coaches," Dorrell said. "They need to take the next step."
And once again we will make it clear when Dorrell is talking about the "next step," it’s not making an appearance in the Holiday Bowl. Going to Holiday Bowl may work for programs like Cal but UCLA. Holiday Bowl appearances are all right when a team is going through a rebuilding/reloading season. It will not be enough when a coach is in his fifth year and was brought into beat Southern Cal and go to the Rose Bowls. Anyways, it is awesome to see the sense of urgency seeping through all levels of our program. About time they feel the pressure.