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UCLA REPORT

It's Time to Refresh Their Game Plan

November 08, 2005|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

With two games left, UCLA knows it's time to take a hard look at itself.

"We have some issues that we need to clean up all across the board, including our preparation," Bruin Coach Karl Dorrell said Monday after a 52-14 loss at Arizona over the weekend. "We're all going to take the blame on this one and move forward with a great opportunity this week to get ourselves back on our feet."

A week ago, UCLA was undefeated and ranked fifth in the bowl championship series standings with an outside chance of playing in the national championship game at the Rose Bowl.

Today, the 8-1 Bruins are 15th in the BCS standings and looking at the possibility of ending the season in the Las Vegas Bowl, for the second consecutive year.

For Dorrell, it's important that UCLA bounce back against Arizona State on Saturday. After the Bruins' lopsided loss to the Wildcats, another defeat would dampen their strong start.

The Bruins will alter their workouts this week, hoping to get better execution early. They have trailed early in seven games this season.

"We have to turn it up a notch," Dorrell said. With senior middle linebacker Justin London expected to sit out for the second consecutive game because of a nagging ankle injury and likely to be limited the rest of the season, UCLA's run defense is in crisis.

The Bruins rank 115th among 119 NCAA Division I-A teams, giving up 223.8 yards a game on the ground, 5.1 yards per rushing attempt. For senior linebacker Spencer Havner, the Bruins have to somehow find a way to improve quickly.

"It's going to take a little bit of everything [to get better]," he said. "We have to find a way to get guys off blocks and to the ball."

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Senior center Mike McCloskey, who has sat out the last two games because of a right shoulder sprain, probably will sit out Saturday's game as well.

"He has an injury that needs rest," Dorrell said.

Junior Robert Chai will get his third consecutive start at center if McCloskey does not play.

Dorrell said that linebacker Aaron Whittington, who did not travel to Arizona because of a thigh injury, was questionable but that running back Maurice Drew was expected to play despite a leg bruise, which sidelined him for part of Saturday's loss at Arizona.

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