Dorrell Names the Starting QB

Head Coach Karl Dorrell announced after practice Thursday that he has decided on the starter at quarterback. He talked about what went into the decision, and about the timing of it. Dorrell also went over a number of players that have surprised him this spring...

Karl Dorrell's post-practice statement:

"We decided to go ahead a make a decision on the quarterback and we're gonna name Ben Olson the starter. So he'll start the scrimmage. I talked to both parties. We feel that it was a good time to do it. We found out all the information we needed. Like I said before, we're really fortunate to have two caliber of guys in our program that we can play with. Ben is more consistent and threw for a higher percentage and was a little more productive and that was the difference in how things worked. We're ready to move forward and keep building on our offense and what we've installed at this point. We still have a lot of work to do in the offseason to become as good as we can be. But we feel strongly that we have the talent and experience and potential on this football team to be a very very good offense. With an experienced defense back, we feel we have the chance to make a strong statement this season."

What was Olson's completion percentage?

"It was higher. He did a nice job. Accuracy, his completion percentage, it really doesn't matter, but he was better."

Did he do a better job of grasping the offense?

"They both did a nice job. It's a matter of you have to be productive in this offense. You have to be able to move the chains and make the throws and get opportunities to do those types of things. They both had some real good strong points over the course of the spring and they will continue to. I know Pat Cowan's gonna continue to work and keep himself ready to play given what happened to him a year ago. You're a play away from being the guy. He's been through that experience last year, and he'll keep working and getting himself better to be as good as he can be. We're fortunate that both those guys in our program are good leaders and both want to win. They'll get themselves ready to keep pushing themselves to be better which will make the offense better."

Is it nice being able to have a good amount of time with the starting QB known?

"We're ready to move forward. We knew we wanted to make the decision earlier than what we've done in the past.  Now that we have, it's about moving forward and keep building for ourselves to have a great season. That was the plan heading into spring was to have an idea of who we wanted to start the season with. We've done it. Now it's time to keep going."

You said you might have waited until after the scrimmage. Why now?

"No, not at all. I like not telling you a particular deadline. I told you sometime in he spring, and it happened sometime in the spring. We feel that it is the right time now, we found out a lot of information. We just decided to do it today."

Could this change in the fall based on performances during camp?

"Let's get to the fall with the great expectation for us to be a very good football team. I'm not looking for the negatives, looking at the positives. We have two very good players with good experience, with good starting experience. There's not many teams in this conference that can say that, so we're in pretty good shape."

Overall, how do you think the team did this spring?

"We progressed. Our offense is a lot further ahead than I expected it to be given the information we put in so that was very very pleasing. Defensively…we're pretty good. WE're pretty good. S it's just a matter of keeping working at getting ourselves in the best physical shape for us to have a great season. To plug in the key pieces if we have any freshmen that can come in and help us in the course of camp. We don't know about the running back situation with Derrick Williams, so Raymond Carter may have to be someone we can count on given he's the only back coming in and not much depth there. Those would be the key additions if any when those freshmen come and see if they can come and help us."

Who surprised you?

"I was really impressed with the progress Kahlil Bell made. In the backfield he made some really good progress. Ryen Carew surprised us. Really pleased with what he's done, too. Our offensive line from juggling around and moving to different spots and stuff, I'm really encouraged with how that's going to develop wth the continuity we're going to develop there. Wide receivers, I thought Jamil Turner has made some plays. I thought some of the young receivers like him and Terrence Austin made some plays. Dominique Johnson made a big catch a practice ago. And Ryan Graves. They've made some impressions. Defensively, I think Bret Lockett...I told you guys at the beginning that Bret Lockett needed to make a big step and I think he did that. I was very pleased that we can count on him on getting some playing time and some experience and he was able to do that. Kyle Bosworth, we moved him to Sam, it seems like he's comfortable there. We've moved John Hale to where he's getting some reps at Mike, and he seems comfortable there. I think we found some combinations in our linebacking corps that's going to give us some depth. The secondary, Verner is pretty good. And Michael Norris, Norris is back. He and Joe Cowan had to tote around that knee brace this spring for protective measures but I thought both of them came back solidly. I know that's a lot of names. But that just shows you that I'm very pleased. We're building depth. That's something that we haven't had a chance to do in quite some time, at least since I've been here."

How will you split time at QB for the scrimmage?

"They'll get considerable work. Olson will play with the ones, Pat with the twos. Probably a late series with Pat with the ones. Most of the work with the ones will be with Olson."

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