Last was good, but next is the question

Last week was last week in Mike Bellotti's mind. Regardless of how well a team performed in its last game the question is what will happen in the next game. In a season full of up and downs this year in the Pac-10 the overriding issue is consistency. There will be no hope of a 23-minute break due to the lights going out in the Rose Bowl against UCLA next Saturday as the game is scheduled to kickoff at 12:30 p.m.

Still though, if there was a win that might be a turnaround point in the season, the Cal game has to be it. Bellotti clearly enjoyed the victory but realizes that there is more to work to do.

"It was a big win, a great win," Bellotti told the Pac-10 Media telephone conference streamed on the Internet. "It is more important that we build on it."

The Ducks travel to Los Angeles to take on a Bruin team struggling to find its own consistency. UCLA is 6-4 for the season and 4-2 Pac-10 play but have lost their last two games, 31-13 last week to Washington State and 21-14 in the previous week to Stanford. UCLA Head Coach Karl Dorrell has switch quarterbacks from sophomore Matt Moore to sophomore Drew Olson. Dorrell said the reason for the quarterback change was the consistency issue that is being mentioned so much around the Pac-10 this season. Olson had started six games prior to the switch to Moore. Olson is 112-for-206, six touchdowns and six interceptions. Moore had started four games this season and is 52-for-103, two touchdowns and six interceptions. Dorrell believes Olson has a better feel for what the coaching staff wants the UCLA offense to do and that is the reason for the switchback to Olson.

"We want to generate as much offense as we can," said Dorrell.

UCLA has the potential for a potent offense and has receivers capable of creating havoc for the Ducks. Bellotti thinks that junior receiver Craig Bragg has had career days against the Ducks and is a target the Oregon headman is concerned about for explosion plays. Bragg has 55 catches this season for 849 yards and four touchdowns. Another big target is Mercedes Lewis, the 6-6, 245, sophomore tight end who has 25 catches for 327 yards and two touchdowns. The Bruin running attack features a player the Ducks recruited very hard, freshman Maurice Drew, 5-8, 190. Drew is the leading ground gainer this year with 95 carries for 465 yards, five touchdowns and the longest run of 83 yards. Sophomore Tyler Ebell, 5-9, 185 has 104 carries for 428 yards and two touchdowns. UCLA lost their big back, Manuel White, 6-3, 245 for the season with a fractured right scapula suffered in the first half of the Arizona State contest. Defensively, the Bruins expect to have senior defensive tackle Rodney Lesilie, 6-, 295 in action along with senior defensive ends, the Bell twins, David, 6-6, 279 and Mat, 6-6, 274. Junior cornerback Matt Ware, 6-3, 213 will play along with last week's leading tackler sophomore outside linebacker Spencer Havner, 6-4, 235. Last week the Bruins were plagued with turnovers -- three interceptions and three fumbles in the loss to Washington State in Pullman. Right now, Dorrell would like to be where Oregon is, coming off a win. Dorrell believes the Ducks are back into their groove and are playing a good brand of football despite having some ups and downs for the season.

Dorrell was asked would UCLA look past the Ducks? "No," responded Dorell. "We just want a win."

For Bellotti, the season has been a roller-coaster ride and he attributes the problems to inconsistency due to a very youthful team and a load of injuries to scholarship players. The Ducks have 14 players out for the season due to injuries and are very thin at the linebacker and receiver position. The Ducks have only one senior starting on the offensive line, center Dan Weaver while wide receiver Samie Parker and fullback Matt Floberg are the only other seniors starting on offense. Defensively, only linebacker Kevin Mitchell, defensive end Quinn Dorsey, defensive tackle Junior Siavii and safety Keith Lewis are starters. One issue many have questioned, the two-quarterback system is not something that is going to change as Bellotti feels it gives the Ducks the best chance for success. Last week sophomore Kellen Clemens started and after a rough initial outing and missing two wide open receivers badly in the first quarter, senior Jason Fife entered the game and drove the Ducks to their first score. Fife was 5-for-6 passing in the first half of last week's game against Cal, but cooled off dramatically in the second half and was finally pulled out of the game after Oregon's first series coming back from the power outage. Clemens came back into the ball game and was 9-of-13 with a touchdown pass to Tim Day and Clemens also pitched the ball to Terrence Whitehead with 47 seconds to go in the game for the winning touchdown. Clemens play has caused many writers to compare his performance to Joey Harrington's fabled career that earned No. 3 the nickname, "Captain Comeback."

Bellotti believes the key to the Oregon win last week was that his team facing the fact they trailed Cal 17-7, took an opportunity during the 23-minute break in action due to the lights being out to examine their focus and intensity. Collectively his team made a resolution to itself. Bellott indicated the team then went back on the field and something clicked.

"Our kids said enough is enough," recalled Bellotti of the team's resolve going back into the game. "We (the team) are going to make some plays."

Whatever magic created by the Ducks after the lights went back on against Cal will have to carry over for the Ducks to be successful. UCLA is also in search of success and a home win over the Ducks will give them a solid position in the a conference that can not seem to find any rhyme or reason why the season is progressing as it is. Every week seems to have surprises and upsets. Last week, the apparent doormat of the conference Arizona beat a Washington Husky team solidly even after the Huskies enjoyed a thrashing of Oregon in their own stadium the week before. Stanford was beaten soundly by Oregon yet managed to beat UCLA the week after losing to Oregon. Oregon was completely throttled by Arizona State earlier in the season, yet UCLA and every other Pac-10 opponent except Oregon have disposed of ASU this year. Bellotti has often said the games you'll remember are the one's played in November. So far the Ducks have one November game under their belt that will be talked about for a long time. If Ducks can keep the resolution they made to themselves after the lights out in Autzen against Cal, then this week's UCLA game may be a game to remember too.

Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. but there is no live television coverage scheduled. The game will be carried (radio) on the Oregon Sports Network, with Jerry Allen calling the play.

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