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COLLEGE FOOTBALL / DAILY REPORT : UCLA : Offense Shines During Scrimmage

August 22, 1993|JIM HODGES

Call it a mixed blessing, or at least one heavily disguised. Two-thirds of the quarterback class of '93 being evaluated at UCLA were tested Saturday night at the Rose Bowl, with generally high grades.

The question was begged, though, because of the defense, which appeared porous from the opening play. The Bruins' intrasquad scrimmage--in which they beat themselves, 28-6--left Coach Terry Donahue with visions of offensive prowess, but questions as to how much of it was an illusion. Make that questions--and some concern.

"The offense got after the defense pretty good, and that surprises me for this time of year. I don't know what that means," said Donahue, who added that the defense was missing probable starters Jamir Miller, Donnie Edwards and Bobby Gamble because of illness or injury. "My gut feeling would be that we've got a lot of work to do on defense."

The approximately 3,000 on hand probably agreed. Those interested in the Bruins' quarterback competition that has seemed to overshadow preseason practice got an eyeful of Wayne Cook, who opened with the first unit--symbolic, Donahue said, of nothing--and Ryan Fien, who threw two touchdown passes and got 16 more plays than his rival because of Cook's nagging thigh injury.

The third factor in the quarterback equation, Rob Walker, did not play because of a muscle pull suffered while punting in practice on Friday.

The tone of the night was set by Daron Washington, who took a handoff from Cook and raced 70 yards untouched for a touchdown on the scrimmage's first play. It was, Cook said, a case of recognizing an opportunity.

"We went to the line of scrimmage without a play called, and I called it there," he said, acknowledging one part of the quarterback evaluation process: the ability to see a crack in the defense and exploit it.

As it developed, there were cracks all night.

Fien found them on touchdown passes to J.J. Stokes covering 23 and 15 yards. Walk-on freshman Aaron Haines connected with walk-on Jason Clark on a 13-yard touchdown for the rest of the offensive points.

The defensive touchdown came from freshman Andy Colbert, who intercepted a Fien pass and raced 58 yards.

The passing arithmetic: Fien, nine for 12 for 126 yards and the two touchdowns, but with two interceptions; Cook, six for eight for 61 yards.

Donahue's instant judgment was that the night was successful, in part because all of the players who walked into the Rose Bowl, walked out. Only freshman center Shawn Stuart was limping, the result of a dislocated right kneecap.

After a Bruin season in which every day seemed to end in a hospital, just walking out might have been enough.

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