Quarterback Drew Olson took questions from the media at the weekly press conference.
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How did it feel...you came out off a bad game and everything seemed to
work right. Was that kind of a relief?
"Yeah, I was just talking to some of the guys and it was great see some of
the guys respond after coming off a loss like that. It's just the character of
this team. Whenever there's adversity, find a way to dig deep and respond."
How about having three weeks off for the next game? You went through this
"Yep, we went through it last year so it's nothing new to us. I'm sure we'll
have the same routing as last year. It gives a chance to focus on ourselves for
a couple weeks before we really start taking a hard look a SC. In a way there's
a lot of good to it."
In what way did it help last year?
"Yeah, I think the preparation, I mean; we were just totally prepared for
that game. It's kinda like bowl game in a way. The guys are just more and more
fired up. The longer you wait you're just more antsy to play, and I think when
it finally comes guys have a ton of energy. Obviously we played well in that
circumstance last year."
Since you've done already once, you've had two weeks off…. Does that help
when you have a routine?
"Yeah, I think going through it last year and seeing how we've played… we've
played pretty well against them last year. I think that will…. Going in there
mentally I think that just helps us, and knowing we can come from a three week
by and playing good football. I think guys will remember that."
Is it too long of a break?
"Yeah a week is too long of a break. That's why we do it to play not to sit
around for three weeks. But there are other schedules that I guess are more
important than playing next week."
You've had it both ways since you've been here. Would you rather just
play next week?
"It's kind of fun to have it built up. We're kinda playing for a championship
Saturday. Anytime you play this game whether it's a two week bye or three week
bye it's a lot of fun, but it's fun with all the buildup."
What do you think about playing in the Coliseum?
"It's a fun environment. It's definitely an intense atmosphere. There fans
are right on top of you and yelling at you the whole time. It's hostile, but
that's what we like in these kinds of games."
Does the way you played against them last year, almost beating them and
the fact that this team is so much better make you…..
"Well, they're a different team this year too. We both are. I think you've
just gotta go based on….. You can't go based on last year at all. You've gotta
go based on how we match up this year, and how each team's playing going into
Do you remember that game two years ago in the Coliseum?
Take us back to that game.
"No" (laughter) "I don't want to do that. That was just a miserable
game. They just beat us in every way possible. It wasn't a fond memory. Mentally
and physically it was rough"
Did anything come out of that game for you though? That was the game they
decided not to put Matt in. At that point it became clear that you were going to
be the guy in the future. Did you realize that?
"I don't know if I realized that at the time. I always felt comfortable
coming out of that season with how it was going. I was motivated to get better
for next year. That's about it."
Coming back did you realize it?
"Yeah maybe. I haven't really thought about it. It was two years ago."
What's it feel like breaking Cade McNown's records?
"It's cool, it's fun and it's fun to uh… anytime you get a chance to break
records it's a joy. Obviously you're having success when you have a chance to be
up there with the Aikmans, and Cade, and some of those caliber quarterback. It's
pretty much an honor."
Did you think realistically that you would have the best season ever of
any UCLA quarterback?
"I knew it was possible. I didn't know how realistic it was. If I didn't feel
like it was realistic we wouldn't be here. We wouldn't be in this situation
How many times have you voted for yourself for that…
(Laughs) "No. None. I'll leave that to other people."
"No I haven't. I haven't voted at all."
Are you making Ben Olsen to vote for you?
"Yeah I'll ask him."
On a personal note. You've had such a down time. It must feel
particularly good then to have the kind of season you and the team have
"Yeah, I think I've enjoyed it more coming through lows and ending it on a
good note. My career here….. It's been a fun ride this season. My joy is really
trying to get this program back to another level. It's what I take pride in.
It's what these seniors take pride in. It's not so much about the individual
accolades. It's more about building respect in this program. That's the biggest
goal we had going into this season."
Do you think no matter what happens this game...
"Well I think we've come a long way. I think we're on the right track. We can
still do a lot of things, but it's definitely getting there."
You said after last game that it was OK that nobody thought you could
beat SC. Why do you think you can beat them?
"I just like how this team responds in big games. Obviously we feel very
confident as a team, and as a whole. We're gonna have to play our best football
by far. This is the best team we're gonna face this year, by far. It's gonna be
a challenge, but this team responds to challenges. I think these guys are gonna
be ready and prepared."
This senior class seems to have a
lot of things wrong with it. Talk about what you do after a loss. I know you
talk to the team a lot.
“I just think there’s just more
interaction with the older guys and the younger guys. More so in the locker room and off the field
just trying to get em, you know….. just showing them the opportunity they have
here, and how to take advantage of it. The biggest message we send to them is to
just take advantage of it. I don’t know how much guidance there was from the
older guys in the past. Obviously we’re trying to change that now.”
Where did you… I know about
football 101and all that stuff. How did you develop your leadership skill this
“I don’t know. I don’t really feel
that I’ve changed that much as a person”
Are you doing anything
“Yeah, I’m probably more vocal this
Where does that come
“Gee I don’t know. It’s just feels
right. It just deep down feels like something I felt responsible to do for this
team, and for whatever reason obviously it’s changed. Something needed to
change. Somebody needed to grab this team… A couple guys needed to grab this
team and take it over. It’s been a lot of fun doing that.”
Did you it in high
“It’s how I was in high school how
I’ve been this year. More vocal with the guys.”
Do you need to have success to be
the way you have?
“I think it helps. I think you’re
more respected the more success you have. If you look into any sport, the
biggest leaders are the ones that are most respected.”
Did you try it at all last
“Yeah, but not to this extent.
There’s a difference between trying and leading. When you try to lead and
actually do lead. That’s the difference actually leading the guys not instead of
just trying to do it.”
Along the same lines I hear they’ve been
hearing this from a couple of the other
“Yeah I think a lot of it came
throughout the spring. Guys saw how much I wanted to get back and cared about
this team coming through the injury. I think that had a lot to do with
You say you and a couple other guys
took charge of the team….
“Well I think Spencer, Justin
London, Jared Page, Marcedes, Ed Blanton, McCloskey….I mean it’s really those
fifteen seniors. It a collective group trying to mold this team into the way
it’s playing right now.”
Do you think playing Arizona State you’ve tried throwing it more downfield
compared to the game against Arizona.
“Not so much. I think it was pretty
much the same. I think we pretty much go into every game with the same mindset
on intermediate to long throws. A couple of those throws broke for some good
yards, but we didn’t throw it downfield more than we usually do.”
You’re three interceptions… Do you
“Yeah, all of them.
How many were
“One my hand was grabbed, and the
other one was deflected by a linebacker.”
And the other
“ The other one was just a bad
throw. A bad read.”
Are the seniors doing anything
extra over the next weeks outside of practice?
“I’m sure we will. I’m sure we’ll
get together this week and talk about that. SC is the only team our senior class
hasn’t beaten. That’s a big thing for us. This game is already the biggest game.
It doesn’t need to be built up anymore. There will be a lot of things done
amongst the team before this game is played.”
“I’ll let you know. When they
happen I’ll let you know.”
Are you gonna get together as a
team and watch USC play this weekend?
“Yeah, I’m sure guys will. I don’t
know. Guys get together whenever we have byes we always get together and watch
football. Guys will be tuned into the
Let’s go back to spring, and
working with the other quarterbacks. Did
you feel that was your
responsibility even though you were almost skipped
“But I learned a lot doing that. I
think anytime you try to coach or teach somebody you learn so much more, and
that’s how I took it. If you’re explaining the reads you’re gonna know it that
much better come the fall. I think it helped me out.”
Did you kind of have time to do
homework in the spring since you weren’t out there?
“Oh yeah, tons, I mean so much more
time studying. A lot more energy went into film and this offense… Learning this
At this point of the season, are you hoping
for a trip to New York as a Heisman
“That’s out of my hands completely.
It’s been fun so far, and whatever happens, happens. That’s how I’m looking at
I think I read that you’re leading
the nation in passing efficiency. Does that feel good?
“Yeah, it’s fun. It’s kinda what
this offense can do if you’re on the same page as it. I think that’s what this
offense is – It’s efficient. That’s what we’ve always been looking for the last
two years. Finally we’re on top of it and producing the way it should be