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Been There, Done That ...

Southpaw Jesus and St. Patrick are off to the races. Quarterback competition is the headline story out of the first day of spring practice. Keep in mind Olson has been through this type of QB competition at least twice in Westwood. He beat out Cowan last season. And also in his first year he was beating the DO head to head until he jammed his finger in the last week of practice heading into the 2005 season. So he has been there, done that. Dohn reports how both of these QBs are handling the situation like seasoned and mature veterans:

Olson and Cowan both said the quarterback duel of last spring, and last training camp, made them realize they cannot focus on when a decision is coming, or periphery issues.

"I'm kind of used to the battling and that kind of thing," said Olson, who is in his third quarterback derby in three years at UCLA. "That's part of the game, part of the position. There's really nothing you can do about it but try to go out there and earn your position."

Olson won the starting job in training camp before last season, but injured his left knee in the fifth game and did not return. He practiced without a brace on his left knee, and reported no limitations.

"I can't even feel that I ever hurt it, really," Olson said. "I'm excited about our first day of practice, and I thought our tempo was really good. I've never moved around on offense like that before, as far as drill to drill. We're trying to play a lot faster this year."

Meanwhile, Cowan is trying to hold the position he was in control of at the end of 2006. He completed 52.5 percent of his passes for 1,782 yards, 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions, and went 3-5 as a starter.

"I think competing with Ben and playing, and going through everything last year, it gave me more experience on and off the field, and that helps," Cowan said. "You learn how to conduct yourself, how things operate. I'm not saying it makes it easy, but you have a better idea of what to expect."
While both QBs are dueling it out in practices once again they are getting used to a new offensive coordinator, who is bringing a new "system" (?) to Westwood:
Both are trying to land the job while still trying to absorb Norvell's system.

"There are a lot of new things," Olson said. "Some of the stuff is the same, but there is a lot to study."

The two have been cramming since Norvell was hired.

"You kind of force-feed them, then go back and clean it up later," Norvell said.
So that is this new "system"? Well it apparently involves a hurry up/"up tempo" offense:
UCLA debuted its version of the hurry-up offense on the first day of spring football Thursday.

The Bruins aren't installing a new-look, no-huddle offense, but they are concentrating on increased tempo on the offensive side of the ball and on defense as well. "I loved how fast we're moving," Coach Karl Dorrell said. "I really liked our attitude. The guys were ready and excited. Even without pads, guys were flying around.

"It was a real productive first day."
Hmm. If we really go with a hurry up offense next season, it could be a welcome change. Perhaps we will see a sense or urgency from the team when they are not kneeling down with 50-90 seconds left at the end of first half, with field positions that give them a chance to put some points on the board.

Call me a skeptic if I am in the camp which is going to wait till the game starts to see if we actually go with a hurry up offense. You know we heard a lot of bullshit last off season how we were going to use the shot gun. It never happened as coaches indirectly blamed Robert Chai (at C) for not being able to use shot gun all last season. So yeah been there done that in department too in terms of hearing rhetoric about how the offense is going to change. But I will do my best to keep an open mind and see how Chris Joseph handles himself at the C position and whether his taking over that position will change our offense in terms of being able to use shot gun formation, and being able to run up effective hurry up/2 minute drill offenses.

Another interesting note from Dohn’s writeup. Coach Walker’s son – Kevan Walker – a receiver from Arcadia High, committed to Minnesota. Now nothing wrong with that considering that is where his father played college ball. But this will probably mean Walker will probably jump ship if the UCLA defense has another great season. This means if Dorrell wins the Pac-10 and gets to stay in Westwood, he will probably be looking to hire his 3rd defensive coordinator going into his sixth year in Westwood. What was I saying … been there, done that.

Hopefully at the end of next season we will have a coaching staff that will be intact for at least three years to bring some semblance of stability in Dorrell’s unstable and mediocre program. We are all getting sick and tired of the same ole routine.