We will start this Wednesday with Brian Dohn’s report on Ben Olson’s efforts to get healthy again. Olson has been throwing for the first time in two months and has been putting in a grueling regimen of 14 hour day of football rehab. Last week Olson allowed Dohn to tag along with him for a day in his off season, which resulted in a revealing article from Dohn. You have read the whole piece because it will leave no doubt about Olson’s dedication and commitment to leaving UCLA on a high note.
What I liked most were the following grafs (after hearing from Chow what his QBs need to do this off season):
It is 3 p.m. and administrative assistant Lea Bean is the only person in the football office when Olson walks in and heads to the conference room. He pushes a few computer buttons and is watching an NFL team's offense run read routes. He has seen the tape time and again, but watches and rewinds it like this is the first time because his focus is to see when the safety tips off the coverage.
He also dials up a video of last season's disastrous Notre Dame loss in which he was injured. The offensive line is in shambles, missing blocks and getting pushed around the line of scrimmage.
"Every time you watch a tape, you try to take a different angle," Olson said. "When I watched the Notre Dame game, I watched my mechanics. It's something different each time. And coach Chow will talk on one play for 10 minutes."
More than an hour flies by as Olson also watches tape of several NFL teams, and of Chow's offensive system when he was at USC. At least four times a week in the summer he does this.
"During the season it's much more film," Olson says. "Way more. In training camp, we're either on the practice field or watching film. You have to watch film with a purpose."
Dohn also reports that Olson looked sharp in 7-on-7 drills and then slipped out something amusing (emphasis added):
Olson is sharp, hitting receivers in stride, but he is clearly tired and his foot is bothering him. His release is more labored than when throwing with the Texans duo earlier in the day, and by the end of it he is taking few reps and talking to the younger quarterbacks more.
Olson admits to being worn out, which is understandable since this is just his second day back, but he still must get treatment and ice his foot before leaving campus. Again, he mentions his foot being sore.
"It's kind of afraid of soreness," he says. "I remember how it happened (planting his foot). It was kind of a weird thing, so I'm kind of nervous any time something doesn't feel right. And you know there is a screw in there, too."
The start of training camp remains weeks away, and the season opener is not until Sept. 1. Olson understands his role as quarterback of one of the Pac-10's premiere programs opens him to scrutiny not felt by teammates or other quarterbacks in the nation.
So after all these months of downplaying the potential of UCLA football, Dohn has finally calling Bruins having one of the “premier programs” in the Pac-10? :-) We will see if this a new trend.
Anyway, going back to Olson as I mentioned in my notes on QBs, I think what he needs to focus on this season is work on managing the team. Assuming he can get protection from a patchwork OL (which is a huge question mark itself), he needs to work on managing the team within Chow’s scheme and focus on minimizing his mistakes. There is no pressure on him right now to be a John Elway ala savior of UCLA. If he can provide same kind of production Wayne Cook did in his junior year after coming back from his injury, UCLA will have a shot. And we are all rooting for Ben.
One of the more impressive freshman during the summer passing drills has been quarterback Kevin Prince, a Crespi High of Encino product. Prince has looked sharp and shown good arm strength during the 7-on-7 drills, and several of the veteran players remarked to me that he looked very good.
From what I'm hearing, Prince, fellow freshman Nick Crissman and red-shirt freshman Chris Forcier will be battling for the third string spot during training camp.
Besides Prince, Crissman, Forcier, and Rasshan there is another QB who is looking to be in this year’s camp. Dohn has more on – Tyler Tuiasosopo – a familiar name for all Bruin fans who is walking in as a QB into our football program.
While TT is coming in, UCLA is losing yet another OL. Aaron Meyer is leaving the program. The redshirt senior who was listed 3rd in the depth chart at LG following spring came at LG, has not been able to break through at UCLA. He is on track to graduate this summer so he decided to not return for his 5th year. Wish he had stuck around. But oh well. At least he got a great education. Good luck to Aaron.
We will end this walk with a note on OC Register’s “UCLA Blog” where Marcia Smith was concern trolling yesterday re. our ticket sales from this season comparing them to the program from across town (completely discounting the record of these two teams from last few years). One of the commenters blasted back trying to put some sense into Marcia:
You failed to mentioned that UCLA begins their home schedule when school is not in session and won’t be for nearly another month. Not that the addition of the students would be enough to fill the Rose Bowl, but it would have been at least an attempt to be fair in your reporting. And chances are pretty good that the band won’t be there as well but you can beat that dead horse in another article.
Maybe the Register can do us UCLA fans a favor and keep Marcia’s reporting on the SC blog. I still chuckle at Marcia’s article a couple years ago that it was okay to ask SC players for their autographs. I guess she never had a nephew turned down for one by Leinart or Bush.
She didn’t respond back to her reader in the comment threads of her “blog post.”