Cowan is held out of practice

Times Staff Writer

UCLA’s quarterback situation seemed precarious Wednesday, though Coach Karl Dorrell said all was well.

Still, starter Patrick Cowan did not take a snap and hobbled around the practice field. He spent his time playing de facto quarterback coach, consoling walk-on McLeod Bethel-Thompson and freshman Chris Forcier.

“We’re trying to get some other quarterbacks ready to play just in case,” Dorrell said. “I did not want Pat to practice today. I wanted to give him some rest. He could have practiced. I chose not to let that happen.”


Cowan, though, limped throughout practice and was held out of even basic individual drills. He has played in only two games and practiced only two weeks because of a torn hamstring and a torn ligament in his right knee. He returned to start against California, replacing the injured Ben Olson (knee), last Saturday.

Slowing him further is a sore right calf, an offshoot of his knee injury, though that is not considered serious. But Dorrell was concerned enough to move Forcier back into the mix. He ran the scout team Tuesday.

The Bruins, who normally travel with three quarterbacks, will take four to Washington State on Saturday.

Cowan sat out the final segment of practice Tuesday with what was said to be fatigue.

“He’ll be ready, he’ll be practicing tomorrow,” Dorrell said. “He had a long time off [with injuries] and then played the whole game. He’s probably physically not in great condition. We want to make sure we’re smart about this.”

The injuries and soreness may force the Bruins hierarchy to manage Cowan’s practice time the remainder of the season.


Cowan was not available for comment, as quarterbacks are not allowed to speak to the media after Tuesday.

With Cowan limited to limping and watching, Bethel-Thompson ran the first-team offense and Forcier worked with the second unit.

Osaar Rasshan, who moved back to quarterback after switching to wide receiver during the summer, watched. Rasshan, who came to UCLA as a quarterback, is No. 3 on the depth chart for now.

“We’re preparing Osaar to play,” Dorrell said. “He still needs work, just like all those guys. We wanted Forcier to get more reps today. We’ll evaluate the situation.”

If Cowan is unavailable, or gets re-injured during the game, the Bruins will have to alter their play selection to a degree.

“Not entirely, but there are certain things guys do well,” said Jay Norvell, offensive coordinator. “There are things you pattern for certain guys.”

Forcier and Rasshan have good speed, which can make them effective as runners.

“We always ask the quarterbacks on Thursday to go through the game plan and mark the things they feel really comfortable with and what they don’t,” Norvell said. “That affects our play calling too. We always want to get their feedback.”

Bethel-Thompson is the only backup with game experience. He had four passes intercepted by Notre Dame.

Bethel-Thompson, Forcier and Rasshan were not allowed to talk with the media.

Dorrell officially ruled out middle linebacker Christian Taylor (concussion) for Saturday’s game. John Hale, Kyle Bosworth and Reggie Carter will rotate filling in at his spot. Taylor was not allowed to talk with the media. . . . Dorrell said he expected defensive tackle Jerzy Siewierski (shoulder) and defensive end Tom Blake (knee) to play this week.