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Game Day News & Notes

The Sleeping Beauty's job of improving his record to 3-1 today has become easier. As noted in our diaries and Jake over at Building The Dam Oregon State have lost one of their most explosive weapons - Senior All America returner/receiver Sammie Stroughter - for our game and possibly rest of the season with a bruised kidney. We wish Sammie speedy recovery from his injury. But this should make today's job even more manageable for our much hyped defensive unit, which simply hasn't lived up the expectations to this point of the season.

Elsewhere, the LA Times notes how Dorrell is feeling the pressure:

The pressure Bruins Coach Karl Dorrell seemed to be feeling this week came through when he snapped at media members asking what made Oregon State's defense -- ranked second nationally against the run -- so tough.

"You wouldn't understand," he said, adding, "It's Football 101."

The Bruins' course curriculum was better expressed by quarterback Ben Olson.

"The season is still young, but we need the victory bad," said Olson, who was held out of UCLA's victory over Washington last week with concussion-like symptoms. "And we want to go up there and make a statement."
So how does Dorrell deal with the pressure? He of course is trying to deflect it on his starting quaterback. From the same article:
Said Dorrell: "We're hopeful Ben has a good game for us and we're going to need him to play well."
What Dorrell forgets to mention the responsibility he bears for making sure Olson is prepared (both physically, tactically, as well as mentally) for this game.

Well Olson and his offensive team-mates will have somewhat of a challenge against a Beaver defense which has racked up some good numbers by playing teams such as Idaho State and Utah. But according to the Times our offense sounds prepared:
Oregon State ranks second only to Louisiana State against the run and is tied for 19th nationally in total defense. Granted, there are no Heisman Trophy candidates in the Beavers' wake, but neither are there any in UCLA's backfield.

Still, the Bruins had two 100-yard rushers against Washington -- Chris Markey with 193 yards and Kahlil Bell with 109. Bell is the Pacific 10 Conference's third-leading rusher, averaging 110.5 yards.

"We definitely had better preparation last week than the week before," center Chris Joseph said. "We knew what to expect. That took the mental aspect out of it, where we didn't have to think about it on the field. We could just go out there and perform athletically and read our keys."

Though it leads the conference in sacks, the Oregon State defense is giving up 259 yards a game through the air. That would seem to indicate Bruins quarterback Ben Olson will have opportunities to shake off back-to-back poor games against Brigham Young and Utah.
Given that we have been hearing from the Thinker how we have had "good practices" which should lead to a "great game," I expect our offense to roll today.

Speaking of our offense, Dohn has actually a decent article on Olson this morning, in which he shared these interesting stats:
Olson is 128 for 223 (57.4 percent) for 1,524 yards, 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions in eight career starts.

Palmer, the USC quarterback who won the Heisman Trophy as a senior, completed 63.3 percent of his passes, and threw eight interceptions and seven touchdowns in his first eight starts.

In McNown's first eight starts, he threw three touchdowns, eight interceptions and completed 51.1 percent of his passes. And Anderson's (Darek Anderson from Oregon State) first eight starts included 17 touchdowns (15 against Temple, UNLV, Fresno State and Eastern Kentucky), six interceptions, and a completion percentage of 48.4.

And Cowan, whom some Bruins fans are clamoring for because of his ability to avoid the rush but is out for at least three more weeks with a knee injury, completed 51.5 percent of his throws for 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in his nine starts.
Now to be fair to Cowan the competition he took on was lot more difficult than what Olson faced last season and this year. Still, I do believe numbers are interesting given the comparison to other QBs. Also from the same article:
Dorrell said he tried to tell people, including the media, before the season Olson needed experience. And though Olson possesses worldly knowledge and maturity from spending two years away from home during his Mormon mission, those are also two years he spent away from football, and two years of learning on the field that he missed.

Another aspect working against Olson, and UCLA's offense overall, is Dorrell's inability to hang onto an offensive coordinator.

Jay Norvell is the fourth offensive coordinator in Dorrell's five seasons, and Olson's third in three seasons. Although UCLA is running the same complex West Coast offense, Olson and his teammates are learning a third variation of it.
Now again it is just absolutely appalling on Dorrell's part to make the "experience" excuse given the fact that he has had Olson for three years in his program. And Dohn also misses the boat by saying it was somehow Dorrell's "inability" to hold on to offensive coordinators that is one of the problem. He should have written it was actually Dorrell who has gone through offensive coordinators routinely shifting all the burden on them for the total impotency of his worthless offense.

To me it seems like Olson is hanging in there and doing what he can despite not getting any good coaching from a worthless staff and the added coach. Regardless, it will be interesting to see how the kid handles himself today at Corvallis. We will be rooting for them.

Lastly, I will end with these notes from a local paper in Albany, Oregon (in a profile of Trey Brown, the son of Bruin great Theotis Brown):
UCLA has plenty of football tradition.

It has a Heisman Trophy winner in Gary Beban, two Outland Trophy winners in Jonathan Ogden and Kris Farris and a slew of All-Americans.

Former Bruins Troy Aikman, Tom Fears, (cornerback) Jimmy Johnson and Bob Waterfield are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Bruins have played in 28 bowl games, including 12 Rose Bowls. In 1954, UCLA was ranked first in the UPI poll and second by The Associated Press. The program has more top-10 AP rankings than any Pac-10 school except USC in the past 25 years.
And yet you will read from shameless Dorrell cultists in message boards and also often from the clueless local media about how UCLA is just a basketball school.

Anyways, we will have the game thread up later today. Bruins need to blow out the Beavers.