Olson To Start at Quarterback For UCLA

April 27, 2007

By Jason Feder Daily Bruin

April 27, 2007

Los Angeles, CA (CSTV U-WIRE) -- The Bruins have found their starting quarterback.

Redshirt junior Ben Olson, who had earned the starter's job in the fall before sustaining an injury, has won it again, coach Karl Dorrell announced on Thursday.

Olson beat out fellow redshirt junior Pat Cowan, who started the final eight games of last season.

'We're really fortunate to have two guys of that caliber in our program that we can play with,' Dorrell said. 'Ben is more consistent and threw for a higher percentage and was a little more productive, and that was the difference in how things worked.'

Neither of the quarterbacks were available for comment after practice but the decision came down to simple productivity, Dorrell said.

'You have to be productive in this offense,' he said. 'You have to be able to move the chains and make the throws and get opportunities to do those types of things. They both had some real good strong points over the course of the spring and they will continue to.'

For Cowan, who played in all of the Bruins' 13 games last season, getting accustomed to the new offense is still a priority.

'I know Pat's gonna continue to work and keep himself ready to play given what happened to him a year ago,' Dorrell said.

'You're a play away from being the guy. He's been through that experience last year, and he'll keep working and getting himself better to be as good as he can be.'

Dorrell had said that the quarterback decision was going to be made in the spring as opposed to the late-summer decision of last season.

'We're ready to move forward,' Dorrell said. 'We knew we wanted to make the decision earlier than what we've done in the past. Now that we have, it's about moving forward and keep building for ourselves to have a great season. That was the plan heading into spring was to have an idea of who we wanted to start the season with. We've done it. Now it's time to keep going.'

For tonight's spring game at Spaulding Field both quarterbacks will get time.

'They'll get considerable work,' Dorrell said.

'Olson will play with the ones, Pat with the twos. Probably a late series with Pat with the ones. Most of the work with the ones will be with Olson.'

The team's final spring practice was on Thursday and the quarterbacks were not the only ones who impressed the coaching staff over the past month. Dorrell mentioned Kahlil Bell, Ryen Carew, Jamil Turner and Bret Lockett as some of the players who stood out in scrimmage.

'Our offense is a lot further ahead than I expected it to be given the information we put in,' Dorrell said.

'So that was very, very pleasing. Defensively ... we're pretty good. So it's just a matter of keeping working at getting ourselves in the best physical shape for us to have a great season.'

Dorrell emphasized the experience he has back in his secondary and in the defense as a whole as positive parts for the team.

'I'm very pleased,' he said. 'We're building depth. That's something that we haven't had a chance to do in quite some time, at least since I've been here.'

(C) 2007 Daily Bruin via CSTV U-WIRE

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