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Punting Gets Special Look

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

UCLA focused on special teams Friday, spending time on full-contact punt drills.

The Bruins have nearly turned the ball over several times on punts and punt returns.

Craig Bragg tried to make an ill-advised return against Kansas, Ricky Manning muffed a punt against Alabama and two punts have bounced off the legs of Bruins running downfield on coverage.

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Oregon State has a bye Sept. 22, meaning the Beavers (1-1) will have two weeks off before playing host to UCLA on Sept. 29 in a pivotal Pacific 10 Conference game.

The Beavers entered the season at or near the top of most polls but lost to Fresno State and struggled to defeat New Mexico State.

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“I haven’t thought about that at all,” UCLA Coach Bob Toledo said. “I’m thinking about Ohio State.”

The Buckeyes, the Bruins’ opponent next Saturday, have played only once, defeating Akron, 28-14.

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Oregon State will increase security for the Sept. 29 game against UCLA.

The school will add up to 50 security personnel, from 175 to 225, for the game. State Police, which also stations troopers at games, will increase its presence from 10 to 15.

“We focus on two things, and that’s safety and customer service,” said Oregon State director of operations Michelle Jones.

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An MRI exam revealed torn cartilage on the right knee of defensive tackle Sean Phillips. Phillips, a frequently used reserve, will have arthroscopic surgery Monday.

Phillips injured the knee Thursday while warming up at the beginning of practice.

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Quarterback Josh Roenicke, son of former major leaguer Gary Roenicke and nephew of Angel third-base coach Ron Roenicke, is one of five walk-ons who joined the team last week.

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Roenicke is a 6-foot-2 freshman from Nevada Union High in Nevada City, Calif. Freshman linebacker Spencer Havner is from the same school.

“We have high expectations in our family and I thought I could play here,” said Roenicke, who added he might try out for the baseball team in the spring.

The five new players bring the total of first-year walk-ons to 13.

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Defensive line coach Don Johnson learned that his two cousins who worked in the World Trade Center were safely evacuated and stayed with friends in New York City until they could return home Thursday.

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The number of visitors to the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame, which opened in July at its new location on the first floor of the J.D. Morgan Center, is expected to increase dramatically when school starts Sept. 24.

The 8,000-square-foot facility holds a mini-theater and interactive displays.

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Tickets for today’s scheduled game against Arizona State will be honored when the teams play Dec.1. The tickets also may be exchanged for games against Washington on Oct. 13, California on Oct. 20 and Oregon on Nov. 10.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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