As UCLA began preparing for its game at Washington, a grunge-themed playlist of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Pearl Jam’s “Even Flow” and the Foo Fighters’ “My Hero” blared through the speakers on the practice field.
It was a nod to Seattle being the home of the genre and the loud crowd the Bruins will have to deal with Saturday night at Husky Stadium.
UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson said he didn’t even notice the music because he was “so locked in to practice and what we’ve got going on.”
That should be a relief for the Bruins (4-2, 2-1 Pac-12), as Thompson-Robinson is coming off his worst game of the season. He completed 8 of 19 passes for 82 yards as UCLA didn’t pull away until late in a 34-16 victory at winless Arizona.
“I don’t know (how) you can prepare for that; maybe turn the music up loud at practice,” Thompson-Robinson said of an anticipated sellout crowd for Washington’s homecoming, when it will be celebrating its 1991 national championship. “It’s pretty quiet when you’re tuned in, locked in to your assignment.”
Despite the quarterback’s struggles against Arizona, teammate Brittain Brown rushed for a game-high 146 yards on 12 carries (a 12.2-yard average) and Zach Charbonnet added 117 yards on 21 attempts as the Bruins amassed 329 yards on the ground.
UCLA might need to repeat that feat Saturday as the Huskies (2-3, 1-1) have the top-ranked passing defense in the conference.
Washington had a bye last weekend after absorbing a last-second, 27-24 loss at Oregon State.
The break gave the Huskies a chance to get healthy. Preseason All-America linebacker Zion Tupuola-Fetui might make his 2021 debut after tearing his left Achilles during spring practice.
It also has given them an extra week to prepare for UCLA coach Chip Kelly’s offense.
“I have a lot of respect for Chip,” Washington coach Jimmy Lake said. “I think he really changed football — not just college football. He changed football with all the different schemes he was running years ago, even when he was back in New Hampshire and of course his run at Oregon.
“Now you can see he’s doing some different things schematics-wise that cause defenses problems. And then throw in there they have talented players. … They present a lot of challenges.”