Sept. 2, 2006
UCLA Head Coach Karl Dorrell
(Opening remarks) "That was a good start, don't you think? I was very happy with how the team played. There were some very tough conditions there. In the second half, we seemed to have a little bit more in us and that's a good testament to how we trained in the off-season. I'm very proud of how this team performed. Ben Olson played well, and he looked fantastic. The skilled positions played very well. We hadn't established the run game very well, and we have to continue to look at the tape and get better at that. Offensively, we did what we wanted to do. We had some efficiency early. Defensively, we played a very strong game against a very, very strong offense. We did a very good job slowing them down. That's a great showing for our defense to do some very positive things against a very tough offense. Overall, it was a very good effort. We wanted to come out and show what our capabilities are in tough conditions and that's what this team is about. They were able to do that today."
(On Ben Olson's performance) "I'm not surprised. I see him everyday, and I think that most of you were under the assumption that he would be rusty today. Ever since we named him the starter, he's gotten better and better. The one thing I would say was we didn't know for sure how he would respond in the first series. We wanted to get him started with a pass, not a run. When he hit his first pass, we knew that would set the tone for his game. He has a lot of potential. For him, this is just the beginning. He's only going to go up from here. The more comfortable he gets the better he's going to get. He threw the ball well before the game, and he performed well. There is no way to go but up from here. He has the physical skills so he's going to get better."
(On UCLA's offensive line) "We protected Ben well. Our pass protection was not the issue. The run game didn't perform as well as I had hoped today. I saw some misreads in the backfield and where we didn't do well blocking. We'll look at that tonight and tomorrow and get that fixed before next week."
(On true freshman cornerback Alterraun Verner) "We did anticipate playing him as much as he played just because Utah plays a four and five wide receiver offense. He plays corner, and we knew he was going to have a lot of plays. He played as well as we thought he would play. For a true freshman, he came up with some big plays. He knows teams are going to pick on him a little bit. He's just 17 years old and a lot wiser than his age. We call him 'Little Old Man'. He's a bright kid with a bright future."
(On the offensive and defensive coordinators)" [Offensive coordinator] Jim Svoboda did a tremendous job. [Defensive coordinator] DeWayne Walker [defensive coordinator] called a very good game too. I was very pleased with how both coordinators managed the game. [Punter] Aaron Perez did a great job today and [kicker] Justin Medlock kicked the ball very well today. Our special teams were solid. It was a very good performance, and we can get better. We're going to continue to get better as the season continues."
Quarterback Ben Olson
(Opening remarks) "I've worked hard to get back to the highest level of what I could possibly be, and it was fun. That's what football should be. I think every game you come out and want to get in that groove early. In some games that happens, and in some it doesn't. I was feeling good and the team played well. I was excited and a little bit nervous. I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be. I was thankful for the opportunity that I had - to come out and be the starting quarterback for UCLA. The team did a great job, and you're only as good as your teammates."
(On being able to play a full game) "It means I'm a little sore, but other than that I feel good. There is a lot I need to improve upon. We need to use this game as a stepping stone for the rest of the season. My path to get here has been a little bit different than most people. I have kept a positive attitude no matter what happens, and I feel very fortunate to be sitting here. You have to have confidence in yourself, and things aren't always going to go great. You're not always going to score every series. We got it together, and I'm still thinking about the drives we should have scored on really. Overall, it was a great game and I'm excited about the future."
(On Utah) "We game-planned for Utah and have a lot of respect for their program. We knew if we executed the game plan that coach outlined for us, we would be happy. I wasn't at all surprised about how we did."
(On the 2006 squad) "Last year raised the expectations for this program, and we're going to take it one game at a time. We can't dwell on what happened last year. We have to create our own success this season. We have to gain our own identity right now."
Utah Head Coach Kyle Whittingham
"This was not the way we wanted to start out. UCLA is a good football team; they are a quality football team."
"I believe we have a talented football team. We just have to regroup and hold our heads up."
"You can't hope to win a game when you turn the ball over three or four times without any take-aways. Turnovers are the name of the game." (Asked if he was surprised by the performance of UCLA quarterback Ben Olson) "We were surprised but not really surprised. Ben Olson is a good quarterback. He wasn't the number one high school quarterback in the country for nothing."