Football News & Notes

The Special Teams issue is a big topic of conversation Monday at practice. Head Coach Bob Toledo comments about it, and other issues after the Colorado State game...

Head Coach Bob Toledo said Monday that he will definitely play freshman quarterback Drew Olson again, "but there is no quarterback controversy." Toledo said Olson played well in his short stint on the field against Colorado State. "People say, Why don't you put him in when it's 30-0? But at 30-0 he's going to hand off. That's not a game anymore. I want him to play in a game when it's still a game. That's how you learn. I wouldn't put him in a game if I didn't feel he was physically capable of doing it, or mentally prepared to do it. He makes mistakes. But he was on the sidelines, and he's very sharp. I was constantly talking to him as Cory was running the offense. He's a very poised young man."

With Olson getting so much time and attention, Toledo believes that Matt Moore, the other true freshman quarterback, won't get discouraged. ‘He loves UCLA. He's happy to be here, and he likes the program. We have communication. It's not like we're holding him off in the dark somewhere. He knows what's going on. He's sat in the game plan meetings. But unfortunately you can't get 3 or 4 quarterbacks reps, and then in spring we'll give him a chance to compete. I like Moore. I think he's a great young quarterback and he has a bright future at UCLA."

On special teams, Coach Toledo defended the use of specific personnel and said the same personnel would continue to get the same opportunities. In practice Monday, the team did dedicate more time to special teams practice. In a new drill, the punt and kickoff returners got rapid reps at catching kicks. And, incidentally, not one returner dropped a ball. Toledo said, "We're going to play the person that gives us the best opportunity to do win. Obviously everyone has their favorites, but we think we know best."

Toledo added that the staff takes special teams very seriously, requiring all starters to start on at least one unit of special teams.

Toledo also said that he's very confident and satisfied with how his staff coaches special teams. "One coach in charge of kickoff and kickoff return. Marc Dove. He's done a great job. Gary Bernardi has done a great job over the years on punt and punt return. Mark Weber has PAT/field goals. But he can't kick ‘em. Don Johnson has field goal blocking. Ron Caragher has the onside hands kick team."

Usually reliable Chris Griffith took the blame himself entirely for the two missed field goals. He insisted the holds were good, but that he was a little too pumped and hit the first one in the middle of the ball.

Toledo talked about how special teams play put them in a constant hole against Colorado State. "We had horrible field position. And Colorado State got ten points out of it. I was really disappointed about the performance of our special teams. For those who watched practice, you'll know that we practiced extremely hard, and you have no idea how many meetings we've had. We've put a lot of time an effort. We just didn't execute."

Toledo was very pleased with the play of his offensive line, naming them collectively the Offensive Player of the Game. "They did an outstanding job. Especially in protecting the quarterback. We only had two sacks. One was because of our freshman quarterback. Quarterbacks make protection assignments. And Cory did an outstanding job. Our freshman didn't know if he was in a right or left formation. The second was lineman error, half center and half guard. But that was it. Both tackles did great job of protecting the quarterback."

With Tyler Ebell and Wendell Mathis getting a couple of carries, there was a question of why Jason Harrison, who had been looking very good in practice, didn't carry the ball. Toledo answered, "We have certain things scripted. We want certain players in on certain things. Ebell got in on a certain formation. Mathis did, too. Harrison will. He'll get his chance."

Toledo commented that he was very impressed that a young team was so business-like. " Their tttitude was outstanding, and their poise was outstanding. Very business-like. When on the sideline you can see the look in their eye. They were really business-like. It was like a veteran football team. I was extremely impressed."

Depth Chart Changes:

Jibril Raymo is now listed as the #2 free safety. Kevin Brant is #3. Jarrad Page is the #2 strong safety.

At tailback, Tyler Ebell, Jason Harrison and Wendell Mathis are all co-third string.

Shane Lehmann is off the injured list and is the #2 right guard.

Freshman quarterback Matt Moore was removed from the injured list and is slotted as the #4 quarterback.

Injury update:

Keith Carter is still out for this weekend with a sprained ankle.

Patrick Pierre-Louis remains out with a dislocated shoulder.

Patrick Norton is probable, his sprained ankle returning.

Marcus Reese sprained his foot, but is probable. He didn't practice today but will Tuesday.

Cory Paus was hit on the play he threw the interception and got a couple of stiches in his chin. Paus said, "That's what I get for throwing the interception."

Captains for Oklahoma State: Bryce Bohlander, Brandon Chillar, Steve Morgan, Mike Seidman.

Offensive Player of the Game: Offensive Line
Defensive Player of the Game: Marcus Reese
Special Teams Player of the Week: Mike Seidman

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