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College Football / Week 4 | UCLA NOTES

Toledo Is Game to Play Game

September 27, 1998|SCOTT HOWARD-COOPER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Officials from UCLA and Miami are planning to talk early this week, perhaps as soon as Monday, whether to reschedule their game canceled because of Hurricane Georges, but what has emerged in the days since the decision is the sense that the teams want to play and that it's administrators who are reluctant.

Exactly why is not clear--can it really be because of early-season basketball games, that the Bruins are in the Wooden Classic and the Hurricanes are at Kentucky on Dec. 5, the first open date for both in football? What is certain is that Miami Athletic Director Paul Dee is very pessimistic about the chances for a rematch (his UCLA counterpart, Pete Dalis, has been out of town on family business and unavailable to address the situation), but that both coaches want to play.

"You only have 11 opportunities--hopefully 12--during the course of a year," said UCLA's Bob Toledo, who was supportive of the decision to avoid the current weather problems. "You work hard, you practice hard, and the games are the reward . . . To have a game taken away, you don't want that.

"Personally, I would like to play the game."

Miami's Butch Davis has said the same thing. Toledo plans to talk to Dalis in the coming days about a visit to the Orange Bowl at the end of the regular season, but the coach won't only be bringing his voice. Players also seem to be pushing for a game.

"We don't want to shortchange our year by not playing 11 like everyone else," said safety Larry Atkins, a captain. "But right now, we don't know what's going to happen."

*

Preparing to face the Hurricanes couldn't help but spark memories for defensive line coach Terry Tumey. It was Tumey, after all, who made one of the most memorable plays in recent UCLA history when he forced a fumble while sacking Hurricane quarterback Bernie Kosar to preserve the Jan. 1, 1985, Fiesta Bowl victory.

"Every so often, I think back on it," Tumey said. "You have to go forward and worry about what you are going to achieve today, but it was such a big play that it does come up."

Along with what happened immediately afterward: getting the wind knocked out of him . . . by a teammate.

"I have never been hit so hard as in that celebration by Ron Pitts," Tumey said.

*

The cancellation of the Miami game sent the Bruins into open-date mode. The new schedule gave them the weekend off, but also came with a Friday workout at Spaulding Field that was especially pleasing for Toledo since players showed no let-up in intensity--even without a game immediately in front of them.

"It was a good practice," Toledo said. "A very good practice."

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