Olson on the Hiring of Chow

The UCLA senior-to-be quarterback, Ben Olson, talks about his long history with new UCLA Offensive Coordinator Norm Chow, how he's always wanted to play for him, and how excited he is about finally getting the opportunity...

What are you feelings about working with Norm Chow?

"Basically to have the opportunity to work with someone of Coach Chow's caliber, I don't any player, especially an offensive player, let alone a quarterback, could be more fortunate."

What was your initial reaction when you first found out?

'My initital reaction - I was very excited. I think a lot had to happen for this whole situation to play out, and to have it all unfold with Coach Neuheisel to bring in Coach Chow, I think he's to be commended for his efforts and what he's done. I'm just thrilled to death to work with Coach Chow. It's something that I've wanted for a while now, and to finally have that chance, to finally have things work out, and to have it all line up, it's a huge blessing."

Does it feel like they've put together a coaching version of the Dream Team?

"Someone has called it that I guess. As I said, Coach Neuheisel is to be commended for his efforts in obviously keeping coach (DeWayne) Walker on staff, and to bring in Coach Chow is quite the feat. I'm just excited to have the chance to work with Coach Neuheisel and Coach Chow. I can't remember when I was this excited about football."

What is it about Norm Chow that speaks to quarterbacks? Is it more than just his history?

"Well, you look at his history...and I've had a chance, I've known Coach Chow for a number of years. To have a chance to work with him and have things work out at this point is something I'm very excited about. Just look at his track record. That's all you have to say.  He's a great football coach. He does a great job of putting his players in situations to be successful. As a player, you are just excited, and you have total trust in Coach Chow. Whatever he tells me to do you better bet I'm going to do it."

Have you changed in your mind how you will prepare to go into spring football?

"I'd be lying if I didn't say it's given me an added boost in not only confidence as a player but in the coaching staff and my desire and my drive to play the game. Having the chance, like I said, to work with Coach Chow and what he brings to the table, knowing he's developed a lot of different quarterbacks, is nothing but exciting for me. I can't wait to work with him. I'm going to come into spring ball in the best shape of my life and ready to go."

How's your health?

"My health is getting better. My knee, I've had a chance to sit off of it for a while, and I've just been re-habbing it, and been feeling a lot better."

Is one year enough with Norm to fulfill what you want to in your career?

"I don't know if it's enough, as far as one year, but it is what it is, and I have to make the most of the time I have. I consider myself very fortunate to even have one year. I consider myself lucky enough to get that one year. The situation is what it is. Idealistically it'd be great if I were going into my junior year and Coach Chow were just coming in. But it's not that situation, so I just have to make the most of what it is.  I got to be like a sponge, sit in there and pick his brain about everything and learn as much as I can this year. I have to make up for that time, I guess."

Have you talked to him yet?

"I haven't spoken to him, no."

Are you going to find out when he's going to be on campus so you can wait at his door for him?

"I'm going to find out where he lives and go deliver some flowers to him. I'm excited for when he gets in. I don't know for sure when he'll be in the office. I'm going to make a point to get in there and talk to him. Like I said, I've known Coach Chow for quite a while and I know the type of person he is, and the type of coach he is, and I'm just excited to go to work with him."

When was the first time you met him?

"I met Coach Chow when I was thirteen, or something like that. I've known him at a couple of different schools. I first met him at a summer camp at BYU, when he was still on staff there and when I was just a little youngster.  I've had a chance to know Coach Chow over the years. He recruited me at USC and there's a relationship even further there. He's just a great man and a great football coach."

Did you talk to Coach Chow when he was a candidate for the head coaching position?

"No, I didn't talk to him. I know there have been a lot of rumors out there that I have. People have asked me about that but I haven't talked to him."

What do you remember from that first experience with him as a thirteen year old?

"The funny thing is I always wanted to play for Coach Chow, and things kind of didn't work out at USC. I looked at USC actually twice, when I came out of high school and then when I got back from my Mission. I've always wanted to play for Coach Chow. I'd be lying if I didn't say that. I just feel very lucky to now have the opportunity and to learn from the best. I'm going to make the most of the opportunity, work my hardest to do what he asks me to do."

Has there been any kind of hint as to who will be quarterbacks coach?

"No. I have no idea. Like I said, I haven't talked to anybody. I've met Coach Neuheisel once and every time I've been in the office in the last week he's been out on the road. So I really haven't had a chance to sit down with him either. I really don't know what's going to happen as far as quarterbacks coach. But I have complete faith and confidence in Coach Neuheisel and whomever he wants to be the quarterbacks coach is what we'll do."

Bruin Report Online Top Stories