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UCLA REPORT

Moore, Olson Part Ways

August 17, 2003|Robyn Norwood | Times Staff Writer

Matt Moore was Drew Olson's roommate last year when both were freshmen.

No more.

"This year we couldn't do it," Moore said. "I didn't want to."

That's because Moore is trying to win the UCLA quarterback's job from Olson, who started the last five games last season.

"I didn't want to know what he is doing, if he's studying [football] at night," Moore said. "I just want to do what I think I need to do to win the competition."

Olson came out of the spring with what offensive coordinator Steve Axman calls "a very slight" edge, but has yet to open a large lead, and Moore had what Coach Karl Dorrell called "a good day" Saturday on the first day of a one-week training camp at Cal State Fullerton.

As Dorrell noted Friday, it looks as if picking the starter "is going to be harder than we thought."

Although throwing an interception in training camp is no big deal, when Ben Emanuel picked off one of Olson's passes Saturday, it registered because it was the first intercepted pass of the quarterback competition.

"He got one of mine," Olson said. "That happens when you play the position of quarterback, but I can't do that again this camp."

"We've just got to perform," he said. "You can't worry about stats."

Moore said he doesn't think about statistics until he looks at film.

"I make a note of it. If I went seven for 10 today I want to go eight for 10 tomorrow," he said.

The stakes in this contest are particularly high because both are sophomores.

If Moore can't beat out Olson, he might face a decision about whether to stay at UCLA, and he admits that's a concern.

"It is. Until then, it's fun. It's competition, a battle, and it brings out your best."

Axman acknowledged the situation is delicate, but it's a matter for later.

"Those conversations came up, but we were frank and said all we can promise is a great opportunity."

Moore could have been a redshirt freshman and a year behind Olson if former coach Bob Toledo hadn't decided to start him in the eighth game of the season after injuries to Cory Paus and Olson -- a decision Moore called "a little questionable."

"But you know what, I had to play. That's just the way it was.... I look at it now as really good. If I was in this situation and didn't have any experience and he did, that would be hard, going from nothing to trying to play."

*

The Bruins practice in full pads for the first time today, but Dorrell said it shouldn't be a dramatic difference from practices that already have included a lot of seven-on-seven work and some hitting. "We practiced today like we were in full pads," he said.... Among the rules at Camp Fullerton: an 11 p.m. curfew. "We give them one hour -- 10 to 11 -- to let their hair down," Dorrell said.... The Fullerton practices are open to the public. There is no charge except for the scrimmage at 11 a.m. Saturday, which will be $5. Practices are from 9-11:15 a.m. and 3:30-5 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and from 9-11:15 a.m. only on Tuesday and Thursday.

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