One of the first things Cal coach Jeff Tedford did in preparing for Saturday's game against UCLA at the Rose Bowl was tell his players to ignore what is going on with the Bruins, despite questions that will come their way this week.
The Pac-12 suspended six UCLA players after Thursday's bench-clearing brawl during a 48-12 loss at Arizona, meaning the Bruins (3-4, 2-2 Pac-12) will be without three of their four top receivers against the Bears (4-3, 1-3).
"I told the team that has nothing to do with us," Tedford said. "We're not going to get caught up in that. I know there's going to be a lot made of it through the week, but I want us to stay away from that."
The Bruins won two of their first three Pac-12 games but were beaten every way imaginable by Arizona. Leading receiver Nelson Rosario (30 catches, 558 yards) is UCLA's only proven wideout available for Saturday's game. The next most productive receiver who will play is Josh Smith with six catches this season.
UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel, whose seat has never been hotter after this season's disappointing start, is considering burning the redshirt year of freshman receiver Devin Lucien to give the Bruins more depth.
"I'm sure they'll rally around the people that are playing," Tedford said. "I know how teams typically respond to something like that. There's a rallying cry. Really, anytime you see something like this happen, teams come out stronger than anything because of solidarity
True freshman Stefan McClure has played well in Anthony's place. If Anthony is ready to go, the team will have a tough decision to make.
"We'll have to talk about it," Tedford said.
Cal (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12) at UCLA (3-4, 2-2), 4 p.m. CSNBA