Ben Olson, the 23-year-old redshirt sophomore, is now the #1 quarterback for UCLA this winter practice, and he talked to us about the experience so far:
Describe what it is like to finally be the No. 1 quarterback coming into winter practice?
"It feels good. We're just trying to get better every practice. It feels good to kind of have that leadership role now and just looking forward to this opportunity that I have. Overall, we're just looking forward to the season."
Do you feel any healthy competition with Pat Cowan for the starting position?
"Yeah, there's always going to be competition and competition is always good. I enjoy it because it brings out the best in yourself and I hope there's always someone behind me and pushing me because that's what makes you better."
How do you feel in comparison to before you injured your hand?
"I feel that I am better than before I hurt my hand. I feel that I have worked really hard from after the bowl game until now on some mechanics and that kind of stuff so I feel good as far as that goes and feel really good about everything right now."
But it must be different not having guys like Marcedes Lewis around to throw to?
"Obviously that hurts, losing a guy like Marcedes Lewis and Maurice Drew and all the offensive weapons that we lost. But every year you're going to lose guys so we just have a lot of capable guys here now and we're just going to have to keep on getting better."
Where do you think you are in terms of your decision making?
"I feel that I have gotten a lot more decisive with the offense in terms of knowing where to go with the ball, knowing when to go places. My mechanics have improved, my arm feels good, my release feels good, and my feet feel a lot better than they have. So just as an overall player I feel that I have gotten a lot better."
Have you gotten a chance to talk to Drew Olson for any advice as how to approach the position you're in now?
"No, I haven't gotten a chance to talk to Drew yet. But obviously we spent a
lot of time together this season and he's busy with the NFL draft right now but
I'm sure we'll get together and play some golf in the off season."