By Jonathan Okanes
Tuesday, August 14th, 2007 at 3:15 pm in media luncheon.
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.”