Sept. 21, 2001
By JOHN NADEL
AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES - UCLA coach Bob Toledo has his mind on Ohio State, and he's doing his best to make sure his team does, too.
With that in mind, Toledo endorsed a return to normalcy, as much as that might be possible.
He's not saying anyone should forget about last week's terrorist attacks on the East Coast, just that it's time to move forward. For the 14th-ranked Bruins, that means a date with No. 21 Ohio State on Saturday at the Rose Bowl.
"It was a long, tough week," Toledo said Monday. "It's time to move on, go on with your life, never forgetting what happened.
"I'm not trying to be cold about it, you're never going to forget what happened. Football is a violent game. When the ball is snapped, you'd better be violent or you're going to get hurt."
UCLA spokesman Marc Dellins said a crowd of over 75,000 was expected for Saturday's game, and more than 5,000 tickets had been sold to Ohio State fans.
But that was before the attacks.
Now, Dellins said, there's no way to know what the crowd will be, or how many fans of the Buckeyes will travel west.
Dellins urged fans to arrive well before the 12:30 p.m. (PDT) kickoff due to increased security at the Rose Bowl. Coolers and backpacks won't be allowed, and everyone is subject to search.
"It's terrible it has to come to that, isn't it?" Toledo said.
Even the media is involved, with UCLA requiring names and credential numbers of everyone covering the game.
UCLA (2-0) had its game against Arizona State over the weekend postponed until Dec. 1. Ohio State (1-0) was to entertain San Diego State, and that game was postponed until Oct. 20.
Toledo gave his team the weekend off, and spent some time on the golf course.
UCLA quarterback Cory Paus said he spent a very quiet weekend.
"It was a little weird," he said. "It's so easy to watch the news, there's so much that's unknown, you just zone into that. I watched some news, hung out at the beach, enjoyed my friends, that's about it."
The fall quarter at UCLA doesn't start until Sept. 25, so it's quiet on campus.
Paus said the Bruins were looking forward to opening their Pac-10 schedule against Arizona State. But that was before the attacks.
"Tuesday, we weren't looking forward to playing any football team," he said. "Football doesn't seem like it's as important as it was two weeks ago."
Paus said he isn't concerned about playing before a big crowd at a large venue.
"I'm anxious to see what it's going to be like," he said of the atmosphere at the game. "Hopefully by then, things will be back to normal a little bit.
"The big thing for us to see is if we can focus. We're not going to be at football practice 24 hours a day. You have to know when to turn it on and when to turn it off, I guess."
Paus said he believes the Bruins will be as ready to play as anyone else.
"I'm confident we'll be able to focus, concentrate on football when it's time to concentrate on football," he said. "I'm excited to get back to playing, continue to improve as a team."
A fourth-year junior, Paus played the first game of his career against Ohio State two years ago at Columbus. The Bruins, hampered by the loss of 10 players suspended in the handicapped parking scandal, lost to the Buckeyes 42-20.
Toledo doesn't expect that game to be a motivating factor.
"I think the motivation will be it's a big game, it's a new year, it's the home opener for us," he said. "We had 11 freshmen and sophomores start in that game.
"I think Ohio State coming to the Rose Bowl is enough motivation."
Ohio State, playing under first-year coach Jim Tressel, has 44 returning lettermen including 13 starters from last year's 8-4 team.