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Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Penalty reduction a focus for UCLA

By Peter Yoon

After getting flagged a season-high 12 times for 91 yards last week, penalty avoidance has been a priority in practice this week, especially along the offensive line.

UCLA incurred six false starts last week as they tried to implement a new silent count snap that didn't go very well.

"That can’t happen," said tackle Mike Harris, who had four of the false starts. "It puts us back five yards and I’m going to try to come back this week and give my team my all because they deserve it for me. It was just a bad game."

Coach Rick Neuheisel said the team has studied the film this week and taken the steps necessary to ensure this week's performance is better.

"We have been thorough in our investigation and our commentary on it," Neuheisel said. "There was some harsh criticism because it cost us. Our offense is such that we need to stay in rhythm and to go five yards back causes a lot of problems. We’ve done it a number of times, but it’s not something you want to do as often as we’ve tried to do against Utah."

One of the major problems with the silent count was Utah's use of a technique called "stemming." It's when the defense calls a change at the line and the offense mistakes it for the quarterback.

"The defense keyed on the silent count and they would say something like 'go' and I went off that call," Harris said. "I feel like as a whole line we didn’t play as well as we should have and I’m going to let that pass and we have two games left and I’m going to give it my all."

Center Kai Maiava said the offensive line simply had a bad game overall and is focused on making up for it this week.

"We were making mental mistakes and it was just dumb," he said. "We can’t make them again because first and 15 is way harder to convert than first and 10 and we’ve got to keep ourselves in the game. We can’t shoot ourselves in the foot."