Football Update

There are a few things happening with the football team, including some players getting physically bigger, and looking improved in the informal spring seven-on-sevens. Here are the latest tidbits...

There are bits of off-season news for football.

The team is going through early morning workouts on Spaulding Field, followed by informal seven-on-seven passing.

Ben Olson, reportedly, is in better shape than he was during spring. He weighs about the same, about 235, but is in better physical condition and his foot quickness is coming back. He is throwing the ball with more authority and feeling far more familiar with the offense.

Olson has joked that he wants to play basketball in the 2006/2007 basketball season. When Olson was a kid he was mostly dedicated to basketball, and was probably a mid-major power forward for Thousand Oaks High, helping to take them to the CIF Finals his senior season.

We doubt pretty seriously that football head coach Karl Dorrell will allow him to play hoops, however.

As reported last week, Drew Olson is recovering well from his knee surgery. He is out on Spaulding Field throwing, while still keeping his leg stationary.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Pat Cowan looks a bit bigger physically and is throwing the ball even better than in the winter. It was pretty much a consensus that Cowan had the best winter practice among Ben Olson, David Koral and Cowan.

Matt Raney, the back-up tight end, is still out and it's questionable whether he'll be able to play by fall. It leaves the tight end position pretty thin, with just J.J. Hair behind starter Marcedes Lewis. One of the freshmen – Ryan Moya, Logan Paulsen, or Adam Heater – will hopefully step up at least to give the offense another option as a blocking tight end for the two tight-end sets. Some close to the situation believe that Heater, who is physically the biggest among the three at about 6-4 and 260, might be utilized as a blocking tight end. Heater's future, though, will probably be as an offensive lineman.

The word is that walk-on receiver and former trackster Matt Willis very well could have a chance to make the receiver rotation this fall. Willis walked on to the team during winter practice, where his athletic ability was immediately noticeable. Willis has good speed, but has particularly quick feet, and good pass-catching skills for having never played football. After Junior Taylor, really, you'd have to think that Joe Cowan, Marcus Everett and Brandon Breazell would have the best chances at the rotation, but after that it's believed to pretty much be up in the air. Willis, who will be considered a fourth-year junior this fall, will have a good shot at moving ahead of Matt Slater, Ryan Graves and Alex Ghebreselassie.

Chris Joseph, who has recovered from knee surgery, is expected to compete at the strongside tackle position with Brian Abraham this fall. If he doesn't win that position, it's believed he'll have a shot at winning the back-up center position and be groomed as the future center after Mike McCloskey leaves. Right now, Aaron Meyer is considered the second-string center.

As we reported previously, Brigham Harwell is looking huge physically. Also looking like he's gotten particularly bigger is William Snead. He's always looked bigger than 6-4, anyway, and looks about 6-5 and probably 245. Defensive tackle Kevin Brown looks like he's in very good physical shape.

The linebackers are still a bit of a question. Spencer Havner has recovered from his shoulder injury and is going through the seven-on-sevens. Justin London isn't. He's still recovering from his foot surgery, and recovering well, according to sources. He's running on a treadmill, and is expected to be cleared for real running by early June.

Wesley Walker also hasn't been participating in the seven-on-sevens. With London and Walker out, Danny Nelson has been working at middle linebacker with Bruce Davis, who looks very good physically, at outside linebacker.

Chris Horton, the sophomore safety, is still on crutches, having had surgery on his foot a couple of months ago. He is expected to get off crutches in a week, then have another small operation to have the pins removed, which will put him on crutches for another couple of weeks after that.

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