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Inside College Football | UCLA REPORT

Olson Says He Won't Force It

November 13, 2003|Mike DiGiovanna | Times Staff Writer

Mindful of the reasons Matt Moore lost the starting quarterback job this week, UCLA sophomore Drew Olson will try to avoid making the same mistakes against Oregon on Saturday.

"I'm not going to try to do too much; I'm not going to try to force balls and make great plays," Olson said. "I'm just going to take what's given to me and try to get this thing going."

A big factor in Moore's demotion was the number of open receivers he missed in Saturday's 31-13 loss to Washington State. However, leaving just as big an impression on Bruin coaches were the long passes Moore threw, often into double coverage, and missed.

Moore completed 11 of 29 passes for 138 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions against the Cougars, and he lost one of his two fumbles.

Olson threw only two interceptions during UCLA's four-game winning streak against San Diego State, Washington, Arizona and California, and his ability to avoid mistakes, as much as to make plays, contributed to Coach Karl Dorrell's decision to start him over Moore this week.

"The biggest thing with the offense is just going out there and moving the ball, and a big part of that is being patient as a quarterback," Olson said. "We'll probably have more of a focus on high-percentage passes this week. We felt like we had shots downfield [against Washington State] so we took them. It was a risk, but we took a shot. That was the game plan."

*

Coping with the frustration and disappointment of losing two fumbles -- one that led to a Washington State touchdown and one that came at the Cougar 22-yard line, potentially costing UCLA a touchdown -- Saturday night was difficult enough for Bruin freshman tailback Maurice Drew.

Then came Tuesday's post-practice punishment.

"Fumble mountain," Drew said.

And what is fumble mountain?

"Hell," said Drew, who leads the team in rushing yards (465) and touchdowns (five). "It's a lot of different drills, holding onto the football, and then you have to do up downs every five yards for 100 yards. It's kind of painful. It's quick, though."

Drew, a former Concord De La Salle High star whose four fumbles this season "are the most I've ever had," has been working before and after practice with running backs coach Eric Bieniemy on ball-security drills.

"I think he just has to have a little better consciousness of taking care of the ball in those situations when he's running through tacklers," Dorrell said.

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