Discussion

Return of Olson could create controversy at UCLA

Updated: November 8, 2006, 8:17 PM ET
By Ted Miller | Special to ESPN.com
Might struggling UCLA be on the brink of a late-season quarterback controversy? Injured starter Ben Olson practiced for the first time Tuesday since suffering a knee injury on Oct. 7 against Arizona. He was rusty and sore and won't start Saturday against Oregon State -- he could be listed as the backup -- but he told reporters after practice that he expects to regain his starting job over Patrick Cowan, who has been solid since taking over. Coach Karl Dorrell is taking a wait-and-see approach, refusing to commit to a starter until after the Oregon State game. The preseason competition between the two was closer than many expected and Cowan's numbers after four starts meet or exceed Olson's during the first five games.

• Against Oregon State, quarterback might not be the critical issue for UCLA, which needs to win two of its final three games to attain bowl eligibility. The Bruins need to duplicate a strong running game that kept them competitive with California the previous weekend. Chris Markey, who had been mostly muted the previous few games, ran for 136 yards against Cal. The Beavers rank third in the conference in rushing defense and haven't allowed an opponent to eclipse 100 yards in five games.

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