Steven Olson to remain as UCLA's starting quarterback

Updated: October 6, 2003, 9:47 PM ET

LOS ANGELES -- Despite Matt Moore's return to action, Drew Olson will be UCLA's starting quarterback for Saturday's Pacific-10 Conference game at Arizona, coach Karl Dorrell said Monday.

Moore started the Bruins' opener at Colorado Sept. 6, but sustained a severe bone bruise of the left tibia in the first quarter. The sophomore did not play again until the final two series of Saturday's 46-16 victory over Washington, when he handed off twice and took a knee twice.

"We'll continue to evaluate Matt to see where he's at," Dorrell said in his weekly news conference. "Drew's done a tremendous job for us. He's been our starter for the last four games as that's something we'll continue to evaluate as the week goes on, but I don't think anything has changed from the standpoint from what I said before."

Olson, also a sophomore, threw for 258 yards against the Huskies, equaling a career high set a week earlier against San Diego State, completing 16 of 24 passes and throwing one interception.

Moore was expected to be out four-to-six weeks at the time of the injury.

"We want to make sure we feel in our mind that if and when he's ready to play, we're doing the best thing not only for him, but for our football team," Dorrell said. "We want to make sure he's fully healthy and has all his capabilities that are necessary for him to perform."

It is "foreseeable" for Moore to again be the starter later in the season, Dorrell said.

While UCLA is not making a change at quarterback now, it has been forced to change the player snapping the ball. Sophomore Mike McCloskey, the starting center the past 18 games, fractured his left ankle in the second quarter Saturday and will be sidelined the rest of the season.

"It's a real big loss for us," Olson said. "He's a great o-lineman. With him, I felt real comfortable."

Redshirt freshman Robert Chai replaced McCloskey Saturday and will start against Arizona, Dorrell said.

"I thought Robert stepped in and did a very admirable job," Dorrell said. "I didn't notice any difference in our line. As a matter of fact, it might have gotten a little bit better."

After being penalized nine times in a 20-10 victory over San Diego State Sept. 27, the Bruins were penalized 13 times against the Huskies.

"That's something we as coaches have to continue to harp on about doing things that are within the framework of the rules," Dorrell said. "I don't think most of those penalties were malicious. They were just discretionary issues as to whether it was a holding call, or what have you, or pass interference.

"But the thing I don't want to ever discourage is our effort is playing hard. Sometimes that's part of the product when you play hard, but something you can correct and continue to work on those issues and stress the fundamentals of football. We just got to continue working on playing hard, but playing smart, and I think those issues will start to subside."

The victory over then-No. 18 Washington, where UCLA (3-2, 1-0 in conference play) outscored the Huskies, 39-0 in the second half, was a "building block" for future success, Dorrell said.

"The foundation has been set for quite some time," Dorrell said. "Every Saturday, we've played hard and done some good things, even though there were a couple games we came up short.

"Now we're getting the execution to go along with those things that we've built. We ended up putting together a pretty good half in last week's game. The light's starting to come on now as to why we work on those little things over and over and over again. It's finally starting to click in place."

This is "a particularly stressful week," for the Bruins, facing an Arizona team that made a coaching change Sept. 28, with defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz being named interim coach, replacing the fired John Mackovic.

"They can make a wholesale change on either side or the ball and you're not quite sure what's going to happen," Dorrell said. "That's why we have to make sure we're doing our part in preparing ourselves to go into whatever situation we go into in Tucson. We've got to be ready to play. There could be some changes on what they're doing on offense or defense and we got to be ready to adjust to those things right away."

The Wildcats (1-4, 0-2) lost to No. 14 Washington State, 30-7, in Hankwitz's debut Saturday.

"We're not going to make major changes," Hankwitz said in a conference call with reporters. "We just feel like we have to build on things we've done. We don't have the kind of depth that we could do that if we wanted to. We're going to try to continue to improve with the people we have."

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index