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Sunday News & Notes

Since we have done some recruiting related posts this weekend might as well start this roundup on a recruiting related note. Nice article in the San Diego Union Tribune on Nelson Romario, the latest recruit to commit to Karl Dorrell. Nelson sounds like a Bruin:

UCLA has won the recruiting chase for El Camino High's Nelson Rosario, who as a junior was selected the Union-Tribune male Athlete of the Year for 2006-07.

"I like everything about UCLA, and I don't like USC, so it was pretty easy," said the 6-foot-5½, 210-pound Rosario, a three-sport standout who said he will sign a football letter of intent in February. "USC is good, it's just that I'm not one of their fans."

Rosario said it helped that UCLA coach Karl Dorrell went to school in the San Diego area (Helix) and played wide receiver.

That's the position at which the Bruins will play Rosario, who said he was assured he could participate on the track team in the spring, at least as a freshman.

UCLA beat out Oregon, Arizona State and Boise State.
We wish Nelson a healthy and explosive senior season.

As for Nelson's future team, have been meaning to share this post from Washington Husky Sports for a while now. WHS has a pretty solid preview of UCLA. It nailed down the key question wrt to Dorrell's team this coming season: will the Bruin offense step up?:
The consensus on UCLA is they will be in the upper division of the conference and challenge USC, and California for the title. That is based on defense that has the ability to be dominating in 2007. On the offensive side of the ball the Bruin's may not be able to score enough points to win consistently in 2007. To win in the Pac Ten you need to score between 27-30 points per game. Teams will score on you not matter how tough your defense is in the Wild West. So for the Bruin's to go anywhere meaningful over the holidays they need to jell on offense. Reviews this spring were spotty, so they have a lot to prove this Fall.
Cal Poly Bruin over at Bruin Roar echoes the same question re. Bruin offense in his UCLA preview, posted late this week:
I think this is a team that can achieve double digit wins, but it will require the offense to really improve under Norvell. There's plenty of talent and depth on both sides of the ball and a ton of seniors in the lineup. Players tend to see their biggest growth from their junior to senior year (think Drew Olson and Marcedes Lewis) and I think this team has the potential to be very good.

The Bruins have a tough schedule this season, with the PAC-10 looking like one of the toughest conferences from top-to-bottom in the country. The good news is that most of the difficult games are at home (California, Oregon, ASU, and Notre Dame) with just a few brutal road trips (OSU and USC). The offense will still be on the learning curve with Norvell's new system but a relatively easy early schedule (Stanford, BYU, Utah, Washington) should give them enough time to find their sea legs.

The big question marks are still on offense. We can pontificate all day about single back sets and spread packages, but it really all comes down to the confidence and competence of the quarterback. UCLA has a great defense that will keep us in each contest, but games will be decided on how well Ben Olson performs. He had flashes of brilliance last season, but also spent many games looking lost and shaken. I do expect some improvements but I wouldn't bet the house on Ben turning out a Heisman worthy year. Hopefully he can improve his game in time for a brutal November and December schedule.
I think CPB is pretty close to being on the mark here. However, I won't put the onus on Norvel. The only person we are going to held accountable re UCLA offense is none other than Karl Dorrell. Dorrell has gone through enough OCs at this point. This is his offense. Dorrell brought in Norvell to run his "WCO." So if the offense doesn't click next season, Dorrell will not be able to get away with scapgoating Norvell.

And the only way Dorrell can answer the questions circulating around his program right now is winning a Pac-10 championship. Nothing less will suffice.