Blurred Memory for Fien : College football: UCLA quarterback doesn’t remember much about victory over Miami because of concussion.


It was truly a night to remember, a moment to savor--his first game as UCLA’s starting quarterback.

Ryan Fien, a junior, had such a moment Saturday night after waiting three years to get the job. But he has little to savor, practically nothing to remember.

A concussion Fien received in the second quarter of Saturday night’s opener against Miami at the Rose Bowl made the rest of the game a blur.


“It’s nice having your first game under your belt,” said Fien, “but I just don’t remember much about it.”

He doesn’t remember completing 10 of 17 passes for 74 yards. He doesn’t remember UCLA rolling to an easy 31-8 victory. He doesn’t remember talking to coaches or reporters afterward.

He can clearly recall everything up to the instant when Miami defensive lineman Kenard Lang, all 260 pounds of him, came bearing down on the quarterback.

From then on, however, it’s all fog and confusion.

Initially, the biggest concern was the bleeding from a cut on Fien’s chin. In wrapping himself around Fien and throwing him to the Rose Bowl grass, Lang jammed his helmet under Fien’s chin.

“I really wasn’t aware [of the concussion] until later in the second quarter,” Bruin Coach Terry Donahue said, “when the medical team informed me. . . . In hindsight, I wish we had gotten him right out of the game at some point. I’m not sure the medical people and ourselves were totally aware of the blurred vision.

“I don’t think he was in any danger and I want to make that perfectly clear, but I do think he was a little groggy and probably could have benefited from going on the sidelines and getting some smelling salts, relaxing for four or five minutes and then coming back.


“We asked him several times, ‘Are you all right?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, fine.’ So what do you do?”

Fien appeared to continue doing all the things asked of him, from reading defenses to calling audibles at the line of scrimmage. But after looking at the game film, Donahue realized all was not right.

“There are some indications that he wasn’t as coherent as we thought he was,” Donahue said. “His faking, things he had executed almost flawlessly in practice, he didn’t execute after he took that hit. . . . He missed several signals, called plays wrong, and got us in the wrong formation a couple of times.”

On one occasion, Fien stood over the center staring for about 10 seconds, trying to clear his mind. That cost UCLA a delay-of-game penalty.

“My head was in the clouds,” Fien said. “Everything seemed like it was in slow motion. I can remember that. When I would come over to the sidelines, I was real dizzy.”

When he returned to campus Monday, Fien was told about the things he had said and done Saturday, about what he had yelled at the trainers when they tried to treat his cut chin.


But Fien, who expects to play Saturday against Brigham Young, doesn’t think his inability to remember the Miami victory is all that bad.

“In a sense,” he said, “it’s better to forget and get ready for the Cougars. You don’t want to dwell on one win.”

As Fien talked Monday about losing the memory of beating Miami, UCLA sports information director Marc Dellins walked by.

“We have a tape,” Dellins said.

“Thanks,” Fien replied. “I’ll have to check it out.”