Media day-UCLA

No, I haven’t forgot about my team-by-team updates from Pac-10 media day. UCLA obviously had to answer a lot of questions about expectations. The Bruins have 10 starters back on both sides of the ball, and had a lot of momentum going near the end of last season before getting thumped by Florida State in the Emerald Bowl.

It’s interesting how everyone has UCLA ranked in the top 15 or top 20. Let’s not forget the Bruins were only 7-6 last season. Their three-game win streak near the end of the season, which included their upset of USC, is likely what has prognosticators penciling them in for second or third place in the Pac-10.

“That was a great win for us and does a lot for our program,” UCLA defensive end Bruce Davis said of the USC victory. “They were supposedly on their way to the national championship. It does a lot for your confidence. We know we are able to beat some of the best teams in the country. But it doesn’t mean we are going to get arrogant or complacent or anything like that.”

UCLA coach Karl Dorrell, who may be looking for work after the season if the Bruins don’t produce, said the thing that encourages his most about the upcoming season is the experience the team has at quarterback. Ben Olson returns as starter, and Pat Cowan, his backup, started eight games last season after Olson went down with a knee injury.

“We really emphasize giving our quarterbacks a lot of information to handle, and we’re very fortunate that we feel we can do that given that Ben Olson is a returning starter and Pat Cowan is a returning starter in a backup position,” Dorrell said. “Both have extensive playing experience and can handle game planning and the process of what it takes. I feel these guys are ready for that type of challenge.”

Jonathan Okanes

Jonathan Okanes is in his fourth year covering Cal's football team. Previously, he covered Cal's men's basketball team for four years. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OkanesonCal.

  • LaughingBear

    I hate to make the parallel, but the ’07 Bruins are currently on the same “path” as the ’04 Bears were in terms of rankings.

    A good/solid team that is getting a lot of momentum from a victory over USC with a lot of senior players returning.

    The big difference between the teams comes down to the QB: Olsen has never “wowed” or shown the flashes of brilliance that Rodgers did in ’03. And in the Pac10, you live and die by your QB play.

    I think UCLA has a fair pre-season ranking, but they have a short-leash, any losses or “ugly wins” will drop them quickly out of the top 25 for whichever Pac10 team gets off to a hot start (OSU, Oregon, or ASU).

    regarding the scott burglary case — can you clarify the facts on this? he was arrested at the burglary site, but charges were not pressed because of no witnesses? if so, I think Dorrell made a bad decision to bring him back — there is a big difference between being innocent and not getting charged.

  • TrumanHugh

    UCLA is always a nerve-wracking game for me, and with all the preseason hype they’re getting–along with the facts that we’ll be playing them at the Rose Bowl and coming off their bye–this year is no different.

    That said, I take GREAT comfort knowing that Karl Dorrell is horribly inconsistent as head coach and that all these returning starters who upset USC are also the ones who followed that up with an embarrassing loss to a very mediocre Florida State.

    Looking back over the last 10 seasons–and especially true in the Tedford era–this series has pretty much been a “home team wins” and I hope, like with Oregon, that Cal can finally turn the corner and get these wins on the road. We have to start winning these games at Autzen, at the Rose Bowl, and next year, at the Coliseum.

  • TrumanHugh

    Just came across this article on UCLA’s practice today…Sounds pretty typical of the Bruins, and goes with what I said in my previous comment…strong to start, sputtering toward the end…