UCLA did not announce who its quarterback will be for Saturday’s season opener against California. But the Bruins indicated who it wouldn’t be.
Rob Walker is the odd man out in the three-quarterback derby, and Coach Terry Donahue said he is still undecided between junior Wayne Cook and sophomore Ryan Fien as to who will start.
“The main criterion was passing ability,” he said. “We really think it’s going to be essential for us to have as good an arm and as good a throwing touch at the quarterback position as we can generate . . . and the two best passers on the squad are Cook and Fien.”
Walker said he learned the news from offensive coordinator Homer Smith after lunch, and “I was sick.
“I’m frustrated,” he said. “I didn’t think what happened would happen. It’s frustrating as hell. You go from taking almost all the reps to taking no reps. It’s painful, but it’s like life sometimes. I’ve said that I came to UCLA to stay and I meant it. I’ll just keep plugging away.”
Donahue had indicated that the coaching staff needed to look at Cook again to reach a decision. He sat out four days of practice and a full-contact scrimmage last week because of a thigh injury.
Cook and Fien divided time equally on Monday, with Cook showing no ill effects of his layoff.
Donahue said a decision between Fien and Cook could come as early as Wednesday and as late as game time Saturday night.
Cal Coach Keith Gilbertson said the identity of UCLA’s quarterback was really no issue in preparation. “You really defend against systems, unless Terry comes out in a wishbone or something,” Gilbertson said. . . . Gilbertson said that Cal freshman Pat Barnes, from Mission Viejo and one of the nation’s most highly recruited quarterbacks, would redshirt. . . . UCLA lists tight end Brian Allen as a starter, but he has worn a red shirt indicating a knee injury since the third day of two-a-day practices and has had no contact work.