Just when you think this quarterback business can't get any tougher, everyone ratchets up the pressure by comparing you to the guy across town, the senior putting up ridiculous numbers for his undefeated team. But keep your chin up, Matt Leinart. While it's true that UCLA's Drew Olson is having the superior season-he's thrown 21 touchdowns to your 16; three interceptions to your five-he can't keep this up forever. � Right? If recent seasons are our guide, the Bruins have instructions for a late-season collapse embedded in their powder-blue DNA. Yes, Olson threw a school-record six touchdown passes last Saturday in the Bruins' 51-28 blowout of Oregon State, and five the week before. He's got to cool off sometime. Then again, this band of Bruins has been galvanized by multiple comeback wins. It has more character than UCLA teams past. And Olson has a sidekick, junior tailback Maurice Drew, who's so spectacular that even if the quarterback has an off game, the Bruins, 7-0 for the first time since 1998 and ranked eighth in the country, might not even notice. � With his team trailing by seven points early in the first quarter on Saturday, Olson rolled to his right, then threw back to Drew, who scooted down the left sideline for a 43-yard score. It was the first of Drew's two touchdown receptions against the Beavers and his 15th and 16th TDs of the season-a season in which he has dealt with tragedy and increased attention from opposing defenses with toughness and grace. � Maurice Jones was a probation officer in Pinole, Calif., who was forced to retire in 1991 after suffering a second heart attack. The upside was that it gave Jones more time to spend with his eldest grandson and namesake. Because Drew's mother, Andrea, an account manager at a telecommunications company, had to leave the house early in the morning for her long commute, her son got in the habit of staying with his grandparents. Even after Andrea transferred closer to home, Drew continued to live with her parents. Asked why, he smiles and says, "'Cause I got my way."
Did they spoil you? "A little bit."
The two Maurices became "best friends," says Drew. The grandfather became a fixture at practices and games of De La Salle High, the Concord, Calif., powerhouse for which his grandson starred. After Drew cast his lot with the Bruins-declining scholarship offers from nearby Cal and ascendant USC, among others-Jones missed only one game in his grandson's first two years. "He was always smiling," says Drew. "He never made an enemy. And he loved football. All he could talk about was how he couldn't wait for the season to come around."
Sitting in the Rose Bowl on Sept. 10 as he watched the Bruins pound Rice, Jones was felled by his third heart attack. He was taken to a hospital but died later that night. He was 69. To honor his grandfather, Drew added his name to the back of his jersey, which now reads jones-drew.
The extra letters have not exactly slowed him down. Against Oregon State, Drew ran for 120 yards, caught three passes for 67 yards and had 63 yards in punt returns. For the season he has returned three punts for touchdowns and leads the nation in punt return average. He ranks second in scoring and is fourth in all-purpose yards. So scintillating has Drew's play been that, following his five-touchdown performance in UCLA's 47-40 comeback win over Cal on Oct. 8, Bruins sports information director Marc Dellins could not resist issuing a cheeky release describing his star as "perhaps the top all-purpose performer in the nation."
Marc, please. Everyone who follows the college game knows that its top all-purpose performer plies his trade on the other side of the Santa Monica Freeway. While taking nothing away from USC's Reggie Bush, Dellins seeks only to point out that, with three times as many punt returns for touchdowns this season as Bush, Drew has been more effective in that role.
Drew's grandfather foresaw UCLA's success this fall. "He heard about how hard we were working," says Drew. "He thought something special was gonna happen."
He must've heard about Football 101. Last spring the Bruins had a series of meetings designed to improve communication, "to give players and coaches a chance to connect," says third-year coach Karl Dorrell. It was his hope that once they'd "connected," the members of the program could develop a trust and belief in one another that had been lacking in Dorrell's first two seasons, during which UCLA was 12-13.
"I've been telling myself for two years, when I'm a senior, and really able to make a difference, I'll be damned if we go 6-6," says All-America tight end Marcedes Lewis. "We got everything on the table, what we like about the program, what we don't like. Things a family would talk about."
Dorrell, 41, is a former Bruins wideout whose previous job had been as receivers coach for the Denver Broncos. Though he had worked most recently as a college assistant at Colorado, Arizona State and Washington before joining the Broncos, Dorrell had no head coaching experience, making for a bumpy transition. He had to figure out everything from where he was supposed to stand on the sidelines-it's not O.K. to hang out behind your players, it was explained to him-to how best to deal with college students when you're the man in charge.