UCLA freshman quarterback Ben Olson learned Tuesday that an injury to his left throwing hand is more serious than thought. An MRI test revealed a small fracture, which will force him out of Saturday’s game at San Diego State.
“I wish I kind of had given it a little break this week and not tried to rush back so fast,” said Olson, who suffered the injury a week ago when he hit a teammate’s helmet in practice while following through after a pass. “I thought it was just a bruise.”
Initially, tests did not show any breaks and team doctors told Olson that he would be better once the swelling went down. On Monday, Olson participated in some drills and threw short passes but felt discomfort after practice.
“This is very disappointing,” said Olson, who transferred to UCLA after a two-year Mormon mission and a redshirt season at Brigham Young University. “I waited a long time for this. It’s hard to just step back ... but I have to get healthy.”
Coach Karl Dorrell, who named senior Drew Olson as starter Saturday, said David Koral will be the No. 2 quarterback against the Aztecs.
“We have our starting quarterback and we just have to get ourselves ready to go,” Dorrell said. “If Drew has problems or has an injury, then David goes in.”
UCLA finished with 410 yards in a 33-10 victory over San Diego State last season, but the Bruins struggled early to move the ball.
No one had more problems than Drew Olson, who completed only four of nine passes for only 24 yards in the first quarter and was seven of 19 for 68 yards at halftime.
“They had a real veteran defense last year, with their strength being their ‘backers,” said Olson, who completed seven of 10 for 90 yards and a touchdown in the second half against the Aztecs at the Rose Bowl. “They were solid and played really hard.”
But that was last season and San Diego State’s defense has lost its top seven tacklers and eight of its top nine from that 4-7 team.
For Olson, the challenge is to take care of the ball against a defense known for blitzing.
“They give you so many different looks, so many different blitzes and coverages,” he said. “We have to really be prepared for everything.”