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UCLA FYI

Focus is off line and on quarterbacks

August 09, 2008|Chris Foster | Times Staff Writer

UCLA's offensive line got a rest Friday. Not from practice, but from being scrutinized. The questions about the linemen's inexperience were replaced by questions about the Bruins' quarterbacks.

Ben Olson, the starter, sat out practice because of a sore right foot. Kevin Craft, his backup, got more reps but struggled with them.

Olson is coming back from a broken bone in his foot that forced him to sit out three months. He has played with pain through the first three days of practice and being held out of practice was "precautionary -- something we thought might happen," Coach Rick Neuheisel said.

If Olson's troubles extend into next week, the coaches may become more concerned.

"The foot was sore," Olson said. "It's no big deal. I had three days of working, a lot more than I had the last couple months. I'm just letting it calm down a little bit. I'll be out here tomorrow."

Olson said the decision was made with Neuheisel, and there were no plans for him to get his foot examined.

"It's a little bone in your foot, but it can cause you a lot of problems," Olson said.

Said Neuheisel: "You want your starter to get every rep he can, but you've got to be wise. He promised us he would be honest and tell us when it was bothersome."

Learning his craft

Craft twice dropped the ball on pump fakes Friday and had troubles with his accuracy. But he finished strong during 11-on-11 drills.

"He did some nice things and some quite odd things," offensive coordinator Norm Chow said.

Like?

"Dropping the football twice," Chow said. "I don't watch the quarterbacks play. I watch them on the tape and watch the receivers live. And twice I saw the ball rolling on the ground. I didn't know what happened.

"I think he has made tremendous improvement from where he was from spring ball. We have to accelerate the process a little bit. We've got a game in three weeks. If the lefty [Olson] goes down, we have to get someone else in there."

Craft said he has a grasp of Chow's offense, but added, "There are some things I need to work on and smooth out. A couple of the throws, getting into checks. I'm definitely more comfortable now than I was in spring."

Said Neuheisel: "Kevin is one of those kids who makes a lot of good plays and then he gets twisted up and reminds you he is real young."

Sidelined

Linebacker Joshua Edwards, out because of a stress fracture in his foot, is scheduled to undergo tests Tuesday. His status will be re-evaluated at that time.

Wide receiver Terrence Austin sat out practice because of what was called a sore foot. Defensive tackle Brian Price left practice because of dehydration.

Guard Scott Glicksberg has missed most of four days with what is being called flu-like symptoms. Defensive tackle Jerzy Siewierski did not return to practice a day after leaving the field because of dehydration.

Defensive tackle Jeff Miller continues to sit out because of a sprained ankle.

Heating up

The Bruins will practice in full pads for the first time today.

"We're anxious to do some hitting," guard Darius Savage said. "Every night we go back to the room and play video games. We play NCAA 09 and we'll be talking smack a little bit. First day of full gear is always fun."

--

chris.foster@latimes.com

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