Films Tell Bruins All They Need to Know : Winless Cal State Long Beach Is Not Expected to Challenge UCLA
Responding to an inquiry as to how he would motivate his team for Cal State Long Beach, UCLA Coach Terry Donahue said that all he could do was “show the players the Long Beach movies and get them to understand.”
Unless the films were doctored drastically, it seems likely that about all the Bruins understood was that tonight’s game in the Rose Bowl probably shouldn’t have been scheduled.
In its first two games of the season, Long Beach has showed that it had little business being on the same field with Boise State and Oregon, much less the No. 2-ranked Bruins.
In last week’s 49-0 loss to Oregon, Long Beach was limited to 108 total yards and 6 first downs, while giving up 482 total yards and 27 first downs to the Ducks, who registered their most lopsided victory since 1973.
The 49ers have been penalized 19 times for 170 yards in two games and have been outscored, 78-0, since taking a 10-0 first-quarter lead in a 29-10 loss to Boise State.
For this, boosters coughed up $315,000 two years ago to save a financially strapped program that faced almost certain extinction?
“We’re really out of sync offensively,” said Larry Reisbig, the 49ers’ second-year coach. “We’re a young ballclub and we’re just getting our feet under us.
“Certainly, we’re not going to come out and bowl over UCLA.”
But Donahue, not surprisingly, issued a warning of caution, pointing to the upset victory by Rutgers last week over Michigan State.
“It wasn’t supposed to happen,” Donahue said, “but it happened.
“People will say that it’s not reasonable that we could lose, but I think it’s reasonable if you just look at (the nature of) sports.
“Nobody would have thought that Rutgers would have a chance against the defending Rose Bowl champions. It’s not reasonable. But you have to do what you’re supposed to do on game day.”
Donahue, still reveling after last Saturday’s 41-28 victory over Nebraska, described the feeling at the Rose Bowl as “electric” and said the fans played an important role in what he called a “Herculean-type effort” by the players.
“All the blue negated the image of Big Red,” he said. “The fans were alive. The minute we walked out, it was electric.
“It seems to me like that’s what college football at UCLA should be like every week.”
But is it reasonable to expect the Bruin faithful to be as excited by Cal State Long Beach as they were by Nebraska? Long Beach offers 25 fewer scholarships than UCLA, which has an annual recruiting budget of $250,000. Long Beach budgets $35,000 for recruiting.
What’s the attraction?
“I think the fans will come back because it’s an exciting UCLA team led by Troy Aikman,” Donahue said. “Obviously, it’s an explosive, entertaining team. I would hope that the fans would come out in droves because of that.”
But even the players have had a hard time getting interested.
Aikman, a transfer from Oklahoma who also went to high school in Oklahoma, said he was aware of Cal State Long Beach only because his mother and uncle went to school there for a time.
“But I certainly didn’t hear anything about their football team,” said Aikman, who was born in West Covina.
The Bruin quarterback said this game offers a special challenge for the Bruins.
“I’m not going to lie to you,” Aikman said. “It’s really tough, especially after you’ve played in a nationally televised game with 84,000 people in the stands. Everything you expect from college football was there last Saturday.
“To get ready to play Long Beach--there will be 45,000 or 50,000 at the stadium and we’re expected to kill them--it will be tough to get up for this game.
“I think it will be a good judge of our character.”
A test of character?
At $14 for a reserved seat?
Maybe a movie would be better.
The game will be televised live at 7 p.m. on Prime Ticket. It will also be broadcast on KMPC (710) and KPZE (1190). . . . UCLA linebacker Eric Smith is listed as doubtful after suffering a slight concussion last week against Nebraska. Tight end Corwin Anthony is listed as questionable after aggravating an ankle injury in practice. . . . Long Beach offensive tackle Scott Johnson, who broke a bone last week against Oregon, will play with a cast on his right hand.
Brian Brown, UCLA’s No. 2 tailback, aggravated an injury to his left hamstring last week and will not play. Coach Terry Donahue said that Brown, who has not played this season, also is “very, very doubtful” for the Bruins’ game against Washington at Seattle Oct. 1.
Including touchdown returns of 89 yards against San Diego State and 75 yards against Nebraska, UCLA cornerback Darryl Henley is averaging 40.2 yards a punt return to lead the nation. . . . It’s not a typographical error in the program: Milos Milicevic is a 6-foot 10-inch, 300-pound walk-on from Palisades High School in Pacific Palisades, where last season he was a second-team all-league offensive lineman. Milicevic is described as a “project” by Donahue, who said: “He’s got a long way to go, but he’s working at it.”
Long Beach Coach Larry Reisbig, on his impression of UCLA: “Awesome. That first quarter they played against Nebraska was just unbelievable. This is probably their best team since Terry has been there.” . . . Long Beach is guaranteed $100,000 for this game.
UCLA quarterback Troy Aikman, on the Bruins’ offensive line: “It’s hard to really describe them because they’ve made everybody look so bad that we don’t know if the other teams are that bad or we’re that good.” . . . Aikman, on UCLA’s stockpile of talented young tailbacks, which includes Brown, a sophomore, and freshmen Shawn Wills and Kevin Williams: “I told the other quarterbacks they’d better get used to throwing this year because next year they may not throw a pass.”
UCLA leads the series with Long Beach, 3-0, including a 41-23 victory two seasons ago in the teams’ most recent meeting.