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Recovering quarterback Olson gets in some practice

October 29, 2008|David Wharton | Wharton is a Times staff writer.

Anyone looking for big news about the UCLA quarterback situation might have to wait a while longer. As Coach Rick Neuheisel said after Tuesday's practice: "Nothing to report in terms of changes or radical shifts."

But there were hints of a development or two.

While starter Kevin Craft, coming off a four-interception performance at California, got most of the first-unit work, Ben Olson threw for a good portion of practice before heading off to see the doctor.

The senior, recovering from a broken bone in his foot, told coaches he wants to expand his workload during the bye week.

"You work him during this week and see where he is," Neuheisel said. "I just know in my mind, having laid off as a player myself and then tried to come back up to game speed, it's a very difficult transition."

Which makes Olson an extreme longshot for the Oregon State game Nov. 8. But Neuheisel sounded curious about having a look.

"He may come out and electrify the place on Thursday," he said. "And who knows, we might be having a different conversation."

In the meantime, the Bruins will continue to explore a somewhat bigger role for backup Chris Forcier, using his mobility as a counterpoint to Craft.

"If that's my role, I'm going to make the best of it," Forcier said. "It just puts that much more of a burden on the defense to deal with two quarterbacks who can do different things out there."

And maybe puts more pressure on Craft. Or maybe not.

"I had a few carries last game," Craft said. "I know Chris has good speed and he can run the ball and if that's another aspect that teams have to get ready for . . . "

On the line

Coaches are hopeful that freshman tackle Jeff Baca will recover from a strained hamstring in time for Oregon State.

Neuheisel talked about reshuffling his offensive line, moving players around.

"There are no other bodies," he said. "We've just got to find the right combination against a particular opponent that gives us the best chance."

The long haul

UCLA's defense kept the Bruins in the game against Cal for three quarters, but defensive tackle Brian Price said that he and his teammates have a lot of work to do this week.

"We hold on for three quarters, then fall off or start slow and finish strong," he said. "We haven't put a whole game together yet."

Price blamed himself for getting fooled on a fourth-quarter flea-flicker at Cal, going for the ballcarrier, which allowed the quarterback time to complete a long pass.


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