Doctors may call it short-term memory loss, or even amnesia, but football players have their own way of describing it.
One snap and clear.
What about 150 snaps and clear?
What is abundantly clear to UCLA this week was that to properly prepare for its 4 p.m. matchup today at the Rose Bowl with visiting Cal, it had to completely eradicate the 48-12 loss to Arizona on Oct. 20 in Tucson.
We’re talking a Men-In-Black neuralyzer here, complete and utter memory erasure.
This was not a game to stew on, not a game to analyze down to the second. Taking the entire three-plus hours into the equation, it added up to one giant disaster.
After a weekend off to collect their thoughts and to steel their nerves, the Bruins came back to practice on Tuesday barely remembering the Disaster in the Desert.
“Having the weekend to ourselves kind of helped people one snap and clear the game,” junior linebacker Patrick Larimore said. “It was hard for me, it was a depressing weekend like it was for everybody, but I think it helped.”
To refresh: The Bruins allowed touchdowns on all six of Arizona’s first-half drives, afforded the Wildcats 573 yards of total offense and gave up 254 rushing yards to an anemic ground game, while gaining just 37 themselves.
And that wasn’t the ugly part.
No, that would be the benches-clearing brawl that erupted with just four seconds remaining in the first half as a streaker darted on the field to distract the referees.
The melee cost UCLA six players to suspension, ranging from one half against the Bears to two full games, with four receivers as casualties.
Now, the Bruins must face a Cal team that allowed just 178 total yards and 13 rushing yards in a 34-10 win over Utah last Saturday without the services of Taylor Embree, Shaq Evans, Randall Carroll and Ricky Marvray.
Despite the personnel losses, offensive coordinator Mike Johnson said don’t expect a whole new gameplan.
“You’ve got to evaluate the whole big picture; you can’t just change everything you do wholesale all at once,” Johnson said. “You still have to put together a gameplan. They’re going to play defense, and they’re a good defense.”
The Bears certainly were last season in a 35-7 home win.
Cal gained 304 rushing yards while holding UCLA to just 26 on 26 carries, jumping to a 28-0 halftime lead in what would ultimately be Kevin Prince’s last game of the season.
Prince is back once again to reverse his fortunes against the Bears, coming off a 286-yard performance against the Wildcats.
He knows such early deficits – like against Cal, Arizona got off to a scorching start – can bury the team quickly.
“That’s always kind of been our bugaboo, since I’ve been here, getting off to slow starts,” Prince said. “That’s kind of been our ‘thing.’ We haven’t been able to start off strong. When we have, it’s been good games for us. That’ll be huge for us, especially not to let doubt creep into our team’s mindset.”
The Bruins have been careful to not let that self-awareness work its way in during the week of practice, team leaders getting together to ensure the short memories.
One snap and clear, after all.
“We spoke about that as a team and as a council; we have to put it on us and go out and fight,” Larimore said. “Can’t let what happened against Arizona happened again.”