Ben Olson went to UCLA injured. Then football interfered.
At least it seems that way after the Bruins fith-(or is it sixth-,seventh-,eighth-) year quarterback broke his right foot for the second time in less than four months. The injury occured in Saturday's practice. The announcement that Olson would be out eight weeks didn't come until Sunday night. To say that Olson has been hurt a lot in his career is like saying Fat Bastard likes cake. No, Olson is no F.B., just an unlucky one.
The 25-year-old senior had the world by the, uh, tail when Norm Chow was hired. I said at the time that the hiring just got Olson into an NFL camp. That was before the quarterback gushed positives when I named Chow the best offensive coordinator in the country. Rick Neuheisel was his head coach. Chow, Olson's fourth OC in four years, his position coach. What could be better?
Now there's a chance L.A. will be without a starting quarterback when the season starts later this month. USC's Mark Sanchez is day-to-day after dislocating his kneecap. The Trojans are in much better shape with the undefeated Mitch Mustain (8-0 as a starter at Arkansas) backing up. UCLA will go with juco transfer Kevin Craft. The only other quarterback with "experience" is redshirt freshman Chris Forcier.
The weird thing there are some that thought Mustain had outplayed Sanchez in the spring. Across town, a lot of folks that Craft was going to start over Olson, at least eventually. Mobility was always an issue with Olson. He told me last month that his calf had atrophied from his previous injury (broken foot in April) and that he had to work on his mobility.
Anyway, here's the last quotes from Olson you'll read for while (taken from a July interview):
"I'm very excited. When it comes to offensive coordinators and developing quarterbacks you can't argue with his reputation. He did obviously very well at BYU. He recruited me at USC.
"Coach Chow he's got a very simple mentality. It's simple, yet complex. He wants to make it easy for us to play fast and be able to execute what he asks us to do."
On his starting status:
"You always have to compete for your job ... My mentality is I am the guy and I'm preparing to be the guy."
On what he would tell young players:
"I would just tell them, you never know what's going to happen. You can't predict you're going to be in the NFL in three years. Life throws you a curve ball. That's what is interesting. I've looked at every quarterback who has done anything. Everybody has gone through tough times. It's one of those things where you've go to be mentally strong enough. It's how you react to it. Look at Tom Brady being drafted in the sixth or seventh round. Look what he's done now."