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Spring Football News & Notes: Cowan Steps Up

It looks like CRN and Chow are getting close to naming the starter for our football team. And all signs point towards number 12:

Coach Rick Neuheisel and offensive coordinator Norm Chow have not committed to a decision publicly, but sources within the program said they have decided to go with Cowan over Ben Olson and Kevin Craft. That was supported by the fact that Cowan took all the snaps with the No. 1 offensive unit during the Bruins' first scrimmage Saturday

Cowan completed seven of 11 passes for 78 yards and two touchdowns.

"I'm just trying to get better every day," Cowan said. "No matter who they have me running with, that's all you can do. That's all my focus." [...]

Cowan effectively ran the team during the scrimmage, throwing an eight-yard touchdown pass to tight end Logan Paulsen and a 14-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Everett.

"There are always things you need to work on," Cowan said. "I'm trying to get on the same page with Coach Chow a little more. There's a play here and there where I was thinking one thing and he was thinking the other thing."
Per Brian Dohn in the Daily News, CRN acknowledged that PC is the starter for the time being:
"We're giving Pat the first chance," Neuheisel said. "We haven't made any decisions yet. We're just trying to see where it goes from there. If it gets to a position where we have to switch it over, then we have to switch it over." [...]

Neuheisel said the decision was made after evaluating the quarterbacks during the first week of spring practice.

"We felt like (Cowan) was ahead," Neuheisel said. "But it's important that you add to that, that no decision has been made. Somebody's got to (play with the first team), and we chose him."
Here was the reaction from Ben Olson:
Olson expressed frustration about the rapidity of the decision. But he made it clear his frustration wasn't at losing the job, but was about whether the opportunity to win it existed.

"It's disappointing. It's definitely very disappointing," Olson said. "It's one of those things where all you ask for is a fair opportunity, and you can pretty much figure out after fourdays of spring ball, where you're learning new stuff it's pretty tough to feel like you've been given a fair shot.

"That's all you ask for as a player, and that's my opinion. Whatever the coaches decide to do, it's their choice. They are going to do what they feel is the best for the team." [...]

"You would hope you would be given a chance," Olson said. "You would hope they wouldn't make up their minds after four days of spring practice. Again, I can't control that. I have to stay positive and keep plowing through. But it doesn't take a genius to figure out what's going on."
Hmm. I have to say as someone who have gone out of way to protect BO from criticisms at least here on BN, those comments are pretty disappointing. I understand BO is a competitor and is frustrated with the results of the early competition. However, there is no need to air those frustrations out and direct them towards the coaches in public. They should be done behind closed doors within in team. BO needs to stay composed with his comments in public, and do what he can to chip away on the practice field.

Otherwise, if BO stays on this current track of airing out his frustrations in public, it will not be a surprise if Craft passes him in the depth chart, and he will only have himself to blame for it. So hopefully BO gets it together and focus on competing out there and give everything he has on the field, and paying attention to the details off the field, and forget about talking it out and waging some kind of campaign via the local press. Given how injury prone the QBs are in Pac-10, it's in the best interest for the team and himself to do everything he can to be stay mentally sharp during meetings, practices, and be ready to step up when situation presents itself. If he stays patient he will get his chance to shine. That's what PC did over last three years and it has paid off for him to date (in terms of respect for his team-mates and memorable moments despite being handicapped by a poor offensive coaching staff before the current regime stepped in).

One kid who has been focused in a zone at spring practice has been Christian Ramirez. CR has been making most of his opportunities as Carter and Bell are still rehabbing from injuries. He had another great day yesterday per Dohn:
Junior running back Christian Ramirez ran 10 times for 54 yards in the scrimmage, and showed an ability to run outside and between the tackles.

"I think Ramirez is a great player. I think he's going to be a factor for us in the fall," UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said. "He's got great vision and explosiveness in the hole, and he's been as good as anybody at making people miss. And he's got a little burst to the outside."
While the QB situation is coming to focus in the offensive unit, over at the defensive side right now there is no dispute re. who is the QB among our LBs. From Foster (linked above):
The "quarterback" on the other side of the ball was an easy decision, as Reggie Carter is replacing Christian Taylor at middle linebacker.

His attributes are easy to see, and describe.

"He is real good at grabbing big guys and throwing them away real quick," linebackers coach Chuck Bullough said. "He has a knack for it."

Where Carter is trying to improve is in other areas.

"Just knowing everybody's assignments," Carter said. "I know all the calls, but the defensive line sometimes has mechanics problems, so I have to make sure everyone is lined up and doing their job before I do mine."
Love Reggie's game. I think if he has the mental part of the game down as well as Taylor did, he has the potential to become one of the best ever to wear the UCLA uniform.

Also speaking of LBs, UCLA received an oral commitment from Bishop Amat of La Puente linebacker Isaiah Bowens (who was being pursued by Texas A&M and Southern Cal). Now if we can get some OL talent lined up for next year, I will be a happy camper.