The football team had a crisper, more efficient and energetic practice Wednesday afternoon. It was very welcomed since the first two practices last week were lackluster, coupled with the team deciding to do the traditional "Over the Wall" ditch out of practice last Friday. The Over the Wall abandonment of practice was thought to be slightly inappropriate during bowl practice, and more suited during fall camp two-a-days.
Olson, though, on the day, looked the sharpest he had since bowl practice began.
After a rumor spread that second string quarterback David Koral was considering transferring, it only fueled more speculation when he didn't get the #2 quarterback reps in pratice and sat out. Also a curious coincidence was coaches from Azusa Pacific observing practice today, since Koral, if he wanted to transfer and play would have to do it to a non 1-A school, like Azusa Pacific, which is NAIA football program. But the Azusa Pacific coaches were just there for practice observation.
Koral then squashed the rumors.
Is there any validity to reports that you could transfer next year?
"I don't know where this is coming from. It's frustrating being a back-up but hopefully I'll get an opportunity to play. But I've already transferred from too many schools. To transfer again, I just feel I'll stick it out. There are stories like with Tom Brady, guys who never really played in college but look at their careers now. I'm just going to try to take what they give me and try to prepare."
So, as of now, you have no plan to transfer?
"No, definitely not. I've always wanted to be at UCLA. My dad went here, he played here. I wanted to come here out of high school. I'm where I want to be. I don't think I'll go anywhere else, that's for sure."
Has it entered into your mind?
"Well, sure. When you're sitting there on the sideline and you're not playing it's frustrating. There's always that thought, but I don't think I'd take it serious, like I did before."
Why'd you sit out practice today?
"Last practice I strained my rotator cuff. I didn't have full strength today and the trainer said to let it rest. We'll have seven consecutive practices before the bowl, so they wanted to let it rest."
You think you'll practice on Saturday?
"I think so. I mean, hopefully."
Head Coach Karl Dorrell's post-practice comments:
"It's great (the media turnout). We're in the middle of finals week and I'm getting all of this attention. We had a great practice. Another one, in the middle of finals. I'm really pleased with the work we're doing. We're not working really long, but we're getting some good work in. We're working against each other, and we feel good about the process and where we're at at this point. We won't get to do much of the game plan until the weekend, when finals are over, then we'll start honing in on what we need to do for Wyoming. But it was a very good practice, and I'm very pleased with where we're at."
How do you feel about the practice schedule, not being able to get on the field in the next couple of days?
"I feel good about it. That's what I decided to do. Our guys need that time to clean up their finals. Most of their finals are the latter end of the week instead of the earlier portion of the week. The bulk of our team has finals on both Thursday and Friday. That's the time they need to get ready to do good things in the classroom. That's why we practiced today. We'll come back Saturday with another great practice."
Why was David Koral kept out of practice and Brian Callahan getting the #2 reps?
"Koral has a sore shoulder. He's okay, but it's something he aggravated when he was lifting, and he'll be fine."
Will he be the #2 quarterback for the game?
"We'll take it day by day. He's been our #2 all season long. I don't want to make anything of it that he has a sore shoulder right now. I hope that's not going to be on the six o'clock news. He'll be fine."
How's Maurice Drew?
"He's doing well. He's probably 90, 95%. It's good to see him have two good back-to-back practices. He still looks a little rusty to me, in terms of understanding his reads. But we have some time to get him some reps and get him back in the fold."
How big will it be to play without Spencer Havner?
"We're going to miss him. He's had a ton of tackles for us. When we had a time like this before and Ben Lorier had to step in and play he played very well. Ben is going to do a good job for us. But no doubt Spencer is going to be missed. He's been a very productive player for our defense. The rest of those guys will have to increase their game so he's not missed at all."
Do you like the way Nathaniel Skaggs has develop on the scout team at defensive line?
"He has really developed well. I'm really pleased about his outlook. He's a redshirt kid that has a chance to be a strong contributor in our future, especially next year. He's one of those pleasant surprises. He came in as an offensive lineman he has a really, really strong upside playing defensive line for us."
Do you think he'll play tackle or end?
"It depends really how big he gets. He's 270 right now. He's not really that big to play inside. But with a good off-season and some development we think he could be a good inside player. But he has some quickness to play outside, too. We'll just see how the off-season goes, what he does in spring, and try to find a good spot for him."
But his future is on the d-line now?
How is Kevin Harbour doing?
"Kevin Harbour is practicing some and doing some good things. Still out of shape. You can see that. He hasn't done anything in a while. He's just kind of going through training camp right now. He's just started out practicing and looks a little clumsy compared to everyone else. He's working at it, and getting himself in shape. Hopefully he'll be ready to go in spring."
Are you trying to inspire the team by keeping their edge during the down-time or that it's Wyoming, who is looking for an upset?
"It's a little bit of both. We want to definitely continue the progress that we made toward the latter half of this year. That is a factor. And the other is that they're excited about this game. We're excited about this game as well. It's a great opportunity for our team to do this thing right, and finish this season on a good note, and use that to help yourself in 2005."
How pleased are you with Junior Taylor's play?
"I'm very pleased. He had probably his best two games of the year back to back. Oregon and USC. I hope he continues that type of progress. I'm very pleased with what he's done, and let's see if he can do that for a third game in a row for us."
How much has the defensive line improved from the beginning of the season?
"We've improved I would say 180 degrees from what we were at the beginning of the year until now. They've done nice things toward the end of the year. From the beginning to the end, we had fairly good health. Kyle Morgan is a little sore with his lower hamstring. We lost Kenneth Lombard in the Washington game. But other than that everyone is back and playing pretty well right now. They have a pretty good idea how to play in our scheme and we're anticipating more improvement going into next week."
Kevin Harbour, the sophomore defensive lineman who sat out the entire season recovering from knee surgery, has been practicing.
How's the knee? How are you feeling?
"I'm feeling good. I try not to think about it while I'm out there playing. Now I'm trying to get in the rotation now. That's what I'm focusing on. I'm trying to keep my strength up, and keeping up with my re-hab and getting stronger. It seems better and better every day."
Are you practicing fully?
"I'm practicing fully. Just trying to get in the rotation."
Have you been cleared to play?
"Yeah, I've been cleared. The coaches want to bring me back slow, and could wait for spring ball."
You don't think you're going to play, do you?
"We'll see. It's up in the air right now."
How much do you weigh?
Are you still slotted at defensive end, or could you move inside to defensive tackle?
"I'll play wherever the coaches want me to play. The coaches haven't said anything about it. I'm still playing defensive end. But if they want to move me in I'd be fine with that also. It makes no difference, as long as I'm on the field."