Comments from Head Coach Karl Dorrell after the OSU game Saturday night:
"Good win today. A much faster start than we've been playing in the last few weeks.. Even though they scored first in the game, we responded to even it up. Soon after we took the lead and kept the lead the rest of the game. So those were great things that we haven't done the last few games with those fourth quarter heroics. It was good to have that type of control this week. I'm proud of this football team, we've made great steps with our defense and improved on a lot of areas on that side of the ball. Offensively, we need to keep doing what we're doing. We're finding ways to win, we're finding ways to put points on the board in those critical situations deep in enemy territory and put some points on the board and that's something we've done very well all season long. Our special teams have been solid. We had one chance to have a big punt return and got chased down with Maurice, but he's a fantastic player. Put the ball in his hands and a lot of things can happen. So good team performance today, we've made those steps of improvement. We'll continue to stress in getting ourselves better as the season is in the last part, the last run of the season. I like what our opportunities are. We're going to continue to get better and hopefully stay healthy and build on all the great things we've been doing to this point. We got our seventh win, my first seventh win in my three years, so I'm very pleased to be over that hurdle and we have many more things to go. So with that I would like to open up to questions."
You guys had a little trouble getting them off the field on third down, all three times led to the three touchdowns. Talk about that and how that effective the game.
"They were doing some good things in their throwing game, and that was the area that hurt us today. We had effective run defense today and our pass defense which had been very good for us up to this point had some letdowns for us. So we had some huge plays against us on fourth down that gave them some opportunities to put some points on the board. We weren't perfect, I'll admit that, but we saw some improvement in areas that we stressed this week. This conference is competitive, this conference knows how to throw the football. So we are going to continue to have to work on both the run and the pass. But the biggest issue was to help our run defense and we were making those steps of improvements this week, but they did hurt us in some fourth down situations when they went for it and there were big plays."
So going back to the final few weeks before the season began, you were behind Drew Olson the whole time, no doubt about it?
"Drew has played very very well, all the way from training camp until tonight and continues to play very well -
That doesn't surprise you though?
"No, not at this point. He's battled all the way through training camp. In his mindset, his mindset about how he wants to end his senior year and what he's talked about over the course of the summer, is happening for him. That's easy and fun to see, with all the hard work and particularly the vision he had for himself to finish out his career here at UCLA and he's doing it in great fashion."
A little revisionist history here, you weren't waffling towards the other Olson?
"Boy, that was a great competition, and there was great competition between Ben and his health and I believe things happen for a reason, sometimes an injury happens in a particular circumstance that leads for rather great things to happen and that's what happened here. Ben is going to be a great player as well when he gets the opportunity to play. That was his first time getting some snaps in the game this week, but this is Drew's stage and nothing is going to detract from the great things that he's done for this football team the last seven games and he's earned it. I believe in him."
Talk about the status of center Mike McCloskey and tackle Brian Abraham?
"McCloskey has a shoulder sprain and Abraham has had the flu in the past couple days and he's still hampered with an ankle so he missed some time and we decided to start (tackle) Noah Sutherland and he's played very well."
This take-one-game-at-a-time philosophy, does it have more magnitude now, being 7-0 and all the hype of possibly a national championship, best start since '88?
"That has nothing to do with it, that's something we believed in from the very beginning. You can call it what you want to call it but we've done some things the way UCLA wants to do things and you can make your own assessment of one-at-a-time or whatever. But our team is built differently. We know what we need to do, we know what we need for our preparation and we're sticking to our own plan."
Talk about your ability to use Maurice (Drew) at different positions. This is almost his third straight game where he's had more receiving yards than rushing yards?
"We've talked about his ability to be used in different areas all season long and its not any different tonight. He made his plays when he gets his opportunities to the football. That's running, that's the receiving game and that's as a return specialists. So those things haven't been any different from what you've seen all year long and he continues to do those things for us and we'll continue to put the ball in his hands."
Talk about (center) Aaron Meyer and the rest of the O-line and how they played today?
"Aaron played okay for his first time, playing in a difficult circumstance. But he played well. I'm sure he will learn a lot from his playing experience today. That was his first real playing time in a game that really was still a game, so it was a great experience for him to go through. He'll learn from that and watch the tape and improve. But the rest of the line played very well I thought. They did a nice job protecting Drew, there were some running lanes, and we will continue to work with some of those young players we have to utilize in those positions."
Has this happened faster this year than you thought it might? Did you ever seriously envision 7-0?\
Yes what? Yes it happened faster or yes you envisioned 7-0?
"We envisioned a lot of great things for our football program. I'm not surprised."