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Tuesday News & Notes

Lookout. Maybe, just maybe Dorrell is sowing the seeds of an ugly quarterback controversy:

Dorrell said backup quarterback Patrick Cowan was cleared to practice this week, but that does not mean Cowan will be ready to be the backup to Ben Olson on Saturday at Utah.

"I haven't even seen (Cowan) do anything," Dorrell said. "It's hard to count on anything."

If the past is any indication, it could be a few more weeks before Cowan is deemed ready to play by Dorrell. During Dorrell's five seasons, twice a starting quarterback was injured. And for both Matt Moore and Olson, even though they returned to practice, it was a few more weeks before Dorrell said they were game ready.
Yeah, I am sure it is just a coincidence that Cowan gets clearance to practice, the week following one Olson subpar performance. I am sure. Yeah, and I also sure Dorrell never scapegoats or publicly undercuts his assistant coaches and players.

Not sure what is going on here. But I think it would be a big mistake to rush Cowan back even to the practice field if it risks aggravating his hamstring injury. Plus, even if Cowan is fully healthy and recovered, I am not sure he will ever be the answer over Olson. Sure, he has the 13-9 under his belt. However, in other games he looked Dorrellian, in other words, a below average to mediocre quarterback.

If Dorrell is going to deliver his promises this season, it will have to be with Olson. He is going to have to sink or swim with the greatest QB talent UCLA has had since the days of Aikman. If Dorrell cannot get it down with Olson, he will never get it done at UCLA.

Anyways, we have other injury related notes besides Cowan. From What’s Bruin:
>> Starting defensive tackle Brigham Harwell has a "sprained ligament in his knee" and will have an MRI examination this afternoon. Dorrell did not think surgery would be needed and did not think Harwell would be out of action "for too long." Sophomore Jess Ward took over for Harwell in the BYU game and will start on Saturday. Dorrell noted that the Bruins have four players now – Kevin Brown, Ward, Chase Moline and Jerzy Siewierski – to play the two defensive tackle spots instead of five.

>> Reserve safety Bret Lockett pulled a hamstring and is "unlikely to play" but a determination will be made later in the week.

>> Receiver Brandon Breazell is fine from the concussion he had on Saturday, but had some dental surgery on Sunday to repair some damaged teeth. He will play against Utah.
Man, I hope Brandon is doing OK. That sounds painful.

Speaking of painful, that should be the experience of the Utah Utes when the Bruins go into Salt Lake City on Saturday. Dohn has some more notes on the atrocious Utes:
Although UCLA's offense was stagnant against BYU, a matchup with the Cougars' fiercest rival could help. Utah (0-2) ranks 113th out of 119 teams in the nation against the run, allowing 287.5 yards per game.

Utah's offense is just as bad. The Utes are 111th in rushing (45.5 ypg), 108th in total offense (254.4 ypg) and 114th in scoring offense (9.5 ppg). Furthermore, Utah has been inside its opponents' 20-yard line once in two games.
The Utes have a pathetic rushing attack and, in the last game (just like UCLA’s last two opponents), they went into a pass only mode with Tommy Grady (a former So Cal blue chipper who was also recruited by UCLA):
The Utes have moved away from the spread offense thanks to the insertion of quarterback Tommy Grady, who replaced injured starter Brian Johnson in the opener two weeks ago.

The Utes had struggled to move the ball after Johnson went down in the opener at Oregon State. But in last Saturday’s fourth quarter of a 20-12 loss to the Air Force the 6-foot-7 Grady, more of a drop-back passer than a spread quarterback, started flinging the ball around. Utah churned out 151 yards in the final 15 minutes, after gaining only 162 yards the first three quarters.

"This is a difficult offense for a drop-back passer like myself to run, but we kind of tried to work around my running weaknesses and we’re trying to throw the ball down field a little bit,’’ Grady said. "The fourth quarter was all stuff I’m used to, that’s why I was so comfortable doing it.’’

Grady, from Edison High, started the game hitting only 9 of 24 passes, but completed 11 of 15 for 141 yards and a touchdown in the final quarter. He said he expected to be throwing the ball around Rice-Eccles Stadium as he did against the Falcons in the fourth quarter. […]

With Johnson (separated shoulder) and starting running back Matt Asiata (broken leg) out, the Utah run game has struggled. This week, Ray Stowers, Darrell Mack and Darryl Poston (Edison High) are listed as co-starters. Through two games, Stowers is the Utes’ leading rusher, with 47 yards and an average of 2.8 yards per play. As a team, Utah is averaging 1.4 yards on 63 rushing plays.
We will have more notes on Utah later. But you get the hint. As wsmontano1994 wrote yesterday once again we are facing an undermanned opponent in a game and there isn’t any excuse for not soundly beating this pathetic team. If Dorrell wants to recapture the momentum and all the feel good vibes his team wasted away in last Saturday’s second half, it has to blow out the Utes.