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Relentless Optimism

I will get to the details on PC and BO's injuries below. But let's start with what should be in the docket of every member of this Nation who lives in the Southland: spring scrimmage at the Rose Bowl. If you are looking for the details go here. The scrimmage starts at 7 pm. But you can get there at 3 and start all your tail gaiting.

Bruins are going to be without their two top QBs. Dohn has more details on their injuries:

The Bruins, who were ravaged by quarterback injuries during former coach Karl Dorrell's last season, are facing a similar dilemma under coach Rick Neuheisel after an MRI on Friday revealed starting quarterback Patrick Cowan tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Cowan would miss the 2008 season if surgery is performed. UCLA said it was not determined if surgery was needed, but sources said reconstructive surgery was the expected path.

The only thing keeping it from being a finalized decision is hope when the swelling lessens, the tear is not as bad as feared, and Cowan can rehabilitate the ligament. The MRI also showed a torn meniscus.

Cowan had arthroscopic surgery on the knee in February, and sat out Tuesday's practice because of soreness in the knee.

"(Doctors) don't feel they can make an accurate, or the best decision, until the swelling goes down," Neuheisel said. "It's not (a) total (tear), but it's more than what was in there on the Tuesday MRI. The Tuesday MRI was fine, normal."

The news regarding Olson's injury was concerning, but not nearly to the level Cowan experienced. X-rays showed Olson, who was Cowan's backup, fractured the fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot and will be out six to eight weeks. Because of the area of the break, Neuheisel said surgery to insert a screw to aid in healing is often needed because of a lack of blood flow.

"Ben will consult with his folks, and make that decision," Neuheisel said. "I'm told that he is leaning toward having the surgery."
Coach Neuheisel for his past is remaining positive and keeping his faith in "two great kids":
"These are tough setbacks for two great kids, who certainly have been trying," Neuheisel said. "They have been bitten with bad luck over the course of their careers, but both have always bounced back."
More from Neuheisel on how he thinks both of these kids will persevere through the injury:
Said Neuheisel: "If reconstructive knee surgery is necessary, we'll be without Pat for the 2008 season. I don't want to cross that path yet. I always remain optimistic."

Neuheisel was confident that Cowan and Olson had enough time to heal and prepare before training camp opens in August.

"The learning curve doesn't get hit too much," Neuheisel said.

"Both can continue to work and study tape and develop a more comfortable feeling with our offense. . . . With Ben, even if he is out eight weeks, he'll have most of June and all July to get ready."
CRN also mentioned how this presented an opportunity for other three QBs to step up in a big way:
"It's a great opportunity for Kevin Craft to take a step forward and learn the offense and go out and gain confidence," Neuheisel said. "It's a chance for Chris Forcier to take a step forward. It's a great opportunity for Osaar Rasshan to get a chance to play and prove he is a quarterback."
I am with Neuheisel and I will do my part to feed off his optimism in the coming months to get ready for what will be a very challenging first season at UCLA. I completely agree with the realistic perspective Achilles provides below. The challenge CRN is facing is much more daunting and difficult than what CBH faced given how long it takes to rebuild the foundation of a football program. And it doesn't take a lot to figure out how the foundation in terms of talent was basically run into the ground by Karl Dorrell (until it was too little too late with the last recruiting class that is coming in next season).

Given the state of QBs, offensive line, LBs, inexperience at secondary, and grueling schedule I am not going to hold out hope for going to a bowl game.

That said, we are not going to concede next season. No way.

We are going to take my cue from our head football coach and remain as relentlessly optimistic as possible (just like we did during Coach Howland's first two seasons in Westwood). Chris Dufresne From the LA Times gives us a little taste of CRN's relentless optimism and why he is smiling through the adversity he has faced in his first spring practice:
The good news is there is a template for town turnarounds, provided a coach has energy and determination--and Neuheisel has plenty of both.

How fast?

On Oct. 22, 2001, UCLA was 6-0 and No. 3 in the first Bowl Championship Series standings. The Bruins did own the town. USC, coming off a loss to Notre Dame, was 2-5 under first-year Pete Carroll.

Yes, that was this century.

"I have studied Pete the last several years," Neuheisel said. "He had a plan and stuck to it. He sold, sold, sold and people bought in. It was no accident."

Neuheisel wants to use Carroll's strengths against him - sounds like a chapter out of Sun Tzu's "Art of War."

"He went 100 miles per hour from the start and it finally took root," Neuheisel said of Carroll. "...I think the same thing can happen here."
One of the reasons I love college football/basketball is how the teams in these sports take on the persona of their head coaches. If these injuries happened during the prior regime in Westwood, there would be no sense of optimism and assurance coming out of its head coach. Instead we would be subjected on non-sensical clichés and any sense of calm confidence or security about where the program is heading.

Well I sense none of that hopelessness of Dorrel era today. The feeling for me is a little different What is telling is how CRN has gone out of his way to boost both PC and BO in public following their injuries and expressing how he believe in their ability to come back (while mentioning the opportunity for other three kids).

So again there is no reason to get down folks. Go out at the Rose Bowl. Enjoy a beautiful Saturday afternoon/evening of Bruin camaraderie. Fire up that grill, drink up some cold frosties, and take in Bruin football from the stands of the greatest venue in this game.

I have full confidence that no matter what happens our team is going to come out ready, as prepared as they can be, and give it everything they have on both sides of the ball this Fall. Just like it does at Spaulding and at the Rose Bowl, the world of UCLA football is going to remain relentlessly optimistic from my corner of the world here in BN.

One more time : if you are looking for details on tonight's scrimmage go here. May be you will get to see ATV do this: