Change happens fast, but the UCLA and Cal football programs were up for the challenge.
The Bruins spent the week preparing for Utah while the Golden Bears were preparing for Arizona State.
When both games were canceled Friday, moves were made to quickly salvage the weekend.
After a tough loss in their season opener, the Bruins will look to regroup Sunday morning against the Golden Bears, who are taking the field for the first time this season after having their season opener with Washington canceled last week.
UCLA was allowed to practice Saturday for its short preparation for Cal, who spent part of the day traveling to Los Angeles for the 9 a.m. kickoff at the Rose Bowl.
“For something like this to happen in such a short amount of time, you have to have so many people be flexible and adapt to the situation,” UCLA athletic director Martin Jarmond said in an interview Friday with AM 570. “And that’s what we had. … You can’t plan for this (early in the week).”
The Bruins did not have Cal, a North division team, on their conference-only schedule when it was released in October. The game will continue the streak of the teams playing one another every year since 1933.
Jarmond, who was hired by UCLA in May, said he learned about the streak Friday as plans were starting to come together for Sunday’s game and provided “extra motivation” to make the game happen.
When UCLA has the ball
The Bruins have expressed throughout the week that morale and energy remained high and they were pretty happy with the way the offense looked in the second half of last week’s 48-42 loss to Colorado. It was the four turnovers in the first half that led to a 35-14 deficit and put the game too far out of reach to complete a comeback on the road.
In order to regroup, the Bruins will have to get the backfield involved after quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson led the team through the air and on the ground.
Four other players carried the ball, including starting running back Demetric Felton, who had a team-high 10 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown. Felton came out of the game in the second half but is expected to play Sunday. Backup running back Brittain Brown, a graduate transfer from Duke, was limited to one carry for a loss of 5 yards in his UCLA debut.
The Golden Bears no longer have Evan Weaver, the nation’s leading tackler with 181 last season who is currently with the Arizona Cardinals, but return a number of starters on defense who played in the season finale against UCLA.
The defense will be led by linebacker Kuony Deng and defensive back Camryn Bynum, the Corona Centennial alumnus who originally planned to opt out of the season but returned when the conference was cleared to play again.
Last season, Deng was second in tackles with 119, including 7.5 for a loss, and three sacks. Bynum had 63 tackles and one interception.
When Cal has the ball
Under new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, the Golden Bears return 10 starters and could cause problems for the UCLA defense. Musgrave brings 21 years of NFL coaching experience to the program, recently with the Denver Broncos in 2017-18.
Running back Christopher Brown Jr. could have a lot of opportunities to capitalize against a UCLA run defense that was exposed by Colorado last week. The Bruins gave up 187 yards and three touchdowns against Colorado’s backup running back in the season opener.
If Cal can establish the run, it may also open up the passing game for junior quarterback and Corona del Mar alumnus Chase Garbers.
The offensive line returns all of its starters but did allow 47 sacks, ranking 124th in the country, last season. If needed, Garbers has shown the ability to use his legs to make a play. He rushed for 223 yards and three touchdowns last season.