Vegas View



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Earlier today, BYU practiced at its workout "home away from home"--Valley High School here in Las Vegas. The bowl offers the practice field out at Sam Boyd Stadium to the MWC rep, but its distance from the team hotel led BYU to seek out its own workout area when the Cougars played in the Las Vegas Bowl back in 2005.

So, being back at Valley High today was not an unfamiliar feeling--indeed, the routine of the whole affair made the practice seem like and and every other practice I've attended over the last number of months.

Meantime, over at UCLA's practice, things were just a little... different.

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Having been conditioned by Bronco Mendnenhall's practice regimen, I was struck by just how much yelling was going on. I know that sounds like a strange observation, but understand that while BYU coaches are not above making a loud point from time to time, for the most part, BYU practices are controlled, workmanlike, and intense--but in an unemotional way. Practices are kind of quiet, actually.

UCLA's practice was punctuated by coaches' yelling, swearing, cajoling, correcting, chastising... after almost every single play.

I got the sense after a while that certain players just stopped listening, since certain coaches would just yell after every play, no matter what was happening. Just my impression, but it was weird to watching the way things were run by the Bruins' coaches, compared to what I'm used to from Bronco and his staff. I'm not saying one side is right and the other is wrong--just saying I have a different kind of appreciation for the way things are run by Bronco.

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Ben Olson did a lot of standing and watching today. In simple running exercises, while his QB teammates were able to run shuffles, and crossovers, and run backwards, all Ben did was jog straight ahead--just straight ahead, and nothing else. Then, in drills, and in live segments, he just stood. And watched.

If he plays Saturday, I'll be mildly surprised. Everything his body language told me, and everything I heard from him in our post-practice interview told me that he doesn't think he's going to be ready to play. He did say he is "planning on playing," but in the next breath, he talked about "knowing your limitations," and how an athlete knows whether he can get the job done or not. Right now, my money is on "not."

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UCLA QBs not named Cowan or Olson have completed 29 of 72 passes for 6 ints and 0 tds this season. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Osaar Rashaan and McLeod Bethel-Thompson. The former lined up at wide receiver in the season opener, and stayed at WR until mid-October; the latter is a freshman walk-on.

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Reminder: our one-hour special, "Return of the Champions," airs Thursday night from 7:00-8:00pm, on KSL Newsradio and ksl.com. For those BYU fans who will be attending the Fremont Street pep rally at that time, the show will be available online afterward. As for everyone else, enjoy!

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