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Spring Scrimmage Roundup & Notes

Several of you have posted the news in the comment threads already. But let's get it up right up front for everyone else. The big story from Saturday night is the status of Patrick Cowan. The kid is going to be out for the entire 2008 season. From the LA Times:

Cowan, overwhelmed by the news, met with reporters before Saturday's scrimmage, saying, "All I know is I need the surgery and I'm not going to be able to play next season." [...]

Cowan, who has already used a redshirt season, was unsure whether he would petition for a sixth year of eligibility, saying, "I don't know. I wasn't expecting this. There are a lot of things that can happen at this point. I need some time to think about what's going to happen."
Cowan's injury means it will probably be Olson (who also is on crutches with a broken bone that may require surgery to heal) with an inside track to the starting position heading into the Fall camp. Dohn posted the following comments from Olson in his DN report:
Olson, who started the last two seasons but was Cowan's backup this spring, moves way into the forefront of a quarterback derby.

However, before he gets on the field, the broken bone in his right foot must heal. He will meet with doctors Monday to decide whether or not to have surgery to implant a screw to aid in the healing.

"Everybody I talked to with this type of fracture said the screw is probably the way to go, but I haven't made any decisions yet," Olson said. "I want to do the thing that is best for my body and get back as fast as I can. The screw sounds like the way to go."

Olson should be back in June, which gives him plenty of time to get ready for August training camp and the Sept. 1 opener against Tennessee.

But after being relegated to second-string just a third of the way through spring practice, he wasn't taking for the starting position for granted.

"It's not my call," Olson said. "It never has been, and never will be. All I can do is just try to keep a positive attitude and just keep working. It's not a good thing to be out six to eight weeks, but luckily it's toward the end of spring ball and I'll be back for fall camp, but it's tough because you're missing time you can be (practicing) what we learned (in spring ball)."
Olson shouldn't get to down on the situation. He needs to make the best out of this situation for next few months until he is ready to throw in July. He should pay very close attention to Chow, who had this to say in the LA Times:
Chow said that Olson wouldn't miss much field work if he returned by the first of July.

"They won't be throwing the ball around much before that," Chow said.
So there you go. What Olson needs to do next few months is focus on his rehab and take in as much Chow's schemes as possible by studying playbook, films, and going over the mistakes in this spring camp.

What Olson (and Cowan) has going for them is they will have a supportive head coach, who will also make the right moves in terms of giving them as much psychological boost as possible. [See matsumoto720's spring scrimmage report]

CRN was his part is showing no sign of concern (from the DN report linked above):
"I know everybody was riveted to watch the quarterbacks who hadn't been with the first and second teams, and rusty is fair to say," UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said. "But we're going to play that position well. I have full confidence in Norm Chow. I have full confidence in the kids to give everything they've got, and we're going to find a way to play that position well."
As for the QBs who were able to play at the Rose Bowl last night - Craft, Forcier, and Rasshan - here is the report from the OC Register's Robert Kuwada. Per Kuwada give how many reps those trio took during the spring `the results were not too bad':
The Bruins' quarterbacks competing at the Rose Bowl were junior college transfer Kevin Craft, redshirt freshman Chris Forcier and fourth-year junior Osaar Rasshan.

None of the three were particularly sharp in the spring game. Craft completed 11 of 24 passes for 95 yards with one interception and one touchdown, Forcier was 4 of 6 for 52 yards with one interception and Rasshan was 4 of 7 for 60 yards and one touchdown.

Offensive coordinator Norm Chow said Olson and Craft likely would go into the fall competing for the starting spot, and considering none of the three quarterbacks that played got many reps during the spring he said the results were not too bad.

"There was real nervousness at the start," Chow said of Craft. "That's why we started to run the ball early, to calm him down a little bit. But he came around at the end and made some nice decisions. He still needs to get in a rhythm. He's not used to being under center. We all understand that. But that's what he's going to have to do."
Per CPBruinFan at Bruin Roar who attended the scrimmage, Forcier and Rashaan had a harder time than Craft:
Forcier and Rashaan had a harder time. Both had fumbles and some missed snaps. Forcier put together a nice drive, starting at mid field, that ended in a Ramirez touchdown run. He had some crisp passes and he has some speed when he's running. It was a no-hit scrimmage for the quarterbacks, so we really couldn't see how well these two would perform when scrambling. Chris also threw a terrible pick early in the scrimmage that was thrown downfield without an offensive blue jersey in sight. It was sort of a mixed bag from him tonight.

Rashaan struggled the most of the three. He had some problems with the snaps, as you might expect from someone who really hasn't played much at the position this spring. But he did have two "wow" passes. One went to Taylor Embree on a long pass to the far side. That kid made a great catch and I see why people talk about him. The other was a scrimmage ending toss to a walk-on (Pearlman, or something, I forget) that was a perfectly placed ball right over the middle for six. The rest of the time he had "happy feet" and he would take off running before he really needed to.
Read rest of CPBruinFan's first hand recap here. For more recap and pictures from the scrimmage check out What's Bruin in the LA Times.

Despite the injury notes on Cowan/Olson and others, I am fired about next year. And my optimism has nothing to do with expected win totals for next seasons. Beware of concern trolls who will come on here and try to set their standards for what to expect from next year's team in terms of win-loss record. As we haves aid before, changing the direction of the listless and lifeless program Dorrell left us with in Westwood, entails lot more than increasing win totals.  Howland in his first two years record wise didn't accomplish more than what Lavin did in his last two years at UCLA. Yet what Howland did was the changing the culture of UCLA hoops.

The change we are looking from CRN in his first 2 years is not necessarily increasing win totals, but changing how our team approaches the game. Among the things we are looking for is to see whether or not our team comes out with an aggressive, no fear mentality on both sides of the ball. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what kind of talent CRN inherited in this program.  Just look at the NFL draft from yesterday: Southern Cal 7 - UCLA 0. That pretty much gives us the whole story.

CRN has a long way to go. But already we can sense certain changes around the psychology of our program. All we ask from our players is to take advantage of one of the best coaching staff ever assembled in our football program, stay positive, and chip away. We will be with them through the ups and downs, the whole way.

We finally have a leader we all collectively believe in. So the things are going to be different in Bruins Nation.