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Spring Football News & Notes

Thanks again to matsumoto720 for his incredible notes from practice. From his detailed run down it sure appears that PC was getting majority of the workload in yesterday’s scrimmage situations. We are getting the same impression from reading the reports in today’s paper. Dohn has this on how BO is sensing PC as a "favorite" at QB spot:

Patrick Cowan took more reps with the first-team offense than Ben Olson, and Kevin Craft spent his time working with the second team as some clarity was gained in UCLA's quarterback derby.

The next step comes Saturday, when the Bruins hold a 60- to 80-play scrimmage in which coach Rick Neuheisel said either "Pat or Ben" would start.

However, the early returns on the quarterback competition appear to be tilting in Cowan's favor, which Olson senses.

"You can get discouraged at times and you can start doubting and you can question a lot of things," Olson said. "At the end of the day you can only worry about the things you're in control of. That's definitely one thing I've learned from the quarterback competitions I've been in."

Olson won the past two quarterback competitions against Cowan, but admitted everything wasn't going smoothly as the offense adapts to offensive coordinator Norm Chow's system.

"I wouldn't say it's going well," Olson said. "I felt like I did some good things (Thursday), getting the opportunities that I'm given.

"I'm not where I need to be. I don't think anybody is. We're learning the new stuff and it's going to take time. You're out here watching and you're seeing a lot of mistakes."
More from BO in the OC Register:
"I'm not the one in control of who gets the reps and who does this and who does that," Olson said. "I'm a player and I'm all about doing what's best for the team and I can just control what I can control.

"Like I said, what can you do? I've been in this situation a lot I know how it's worked out the last three years. I just have to stay confident. There's a saying, 'You've got to believe in yourself when nobody else does.'"
Again I hope BO doesn’t get down at all from these reports and just keep working at it. He has been through a lot since his arrival in Westwood. Even though I want the best guy who fits CRN and Chow’s game schemes to be out there leading our offense, I hope BO does everything he can to not let up and come out compete everyday. Besides if last few years are any indication, given the way our QBs have gone done, he needs to be ready no matter where he finds himself in the depth chart.

Speaking of QBs going down, our offensive line remains a "work in progress":
"We're thin, we're young and we're inexperienced," offensive line coach Bob Palcic said. "I guess that's why I am here, and I'm happy to be here. This is going to be one of the bigger challenges in my 39 years of coaching. But I'm determined to get the job done and help UCLA get back to the stature that it deserves."

The unit is being built around center Micah Reed, a former walk-on who started eight games at guard last season.

"I played [center] the whole year until we had injuries and they had to move me to guard," Reed said. "I feel a little more comfortable at center there."

Behind Reed on the depth chart is Jake Dean, a converted guard, and Adam Heater, who has moved from tight end.

"The center position is the second-most-critical position on the offense, after the quarterback," Palcic said. "Micah is a good, conscientious guy, I really believe in my heart that by the time we get to the opening game, he'll be able perform at a winning level."

As for the rest of the line, Neuheisel said, "It's going to be putting them in the fire and make them grow up. That's the only way to forge an offensive line. . . . It's going to be messy for a while, but as long they keep pushing and trying, I have full confidence in Bob Palcic and Norm Chow. We'll get a formidable front."
One guy who is not part of that offensive front this spring is Aleksey Lanis, who is sitting out due to knee issues. Hopefully Lanis will be around by Fall camp, because he is one of the most talented athletes from that unit.

Also couple of other personnel notes from practice via Dohn:
LB Shawn Oatis re-injured his neck last week in practice and decided to take a medical scholarship and retire from football.
Walk-on TB Ryen Carew tore his ACL and will miss the season.
We wish both of those guys full recovery.

Again thanks to all the BN readers including mats for bringing us detailed practice notes. Please keep them coming and remember we love pictures.