Penalties still plague Jim Mora and Bruins

After UCLA committed just three penalties in last month’s win at Nebraska, head coach Jim Mora warned against thinking 2012′s woes gone. The Bruins had finished their first season under Mora as the most penalized team in college football. It would take more than one performance to erase those issues.

He was right. In the two games since, the Bruins have committed 28 penalties for 238 yards. Thirteen came Thursday during their 34-27 win at Utah, costing them 100 yards in a game that wasn’t decided until the final 26 seconds. Across the country, only Washington has seen more flags.

“I’m a little befuddled right now,” Mora said afterward.

Only 10 of their 13 penalties in Salt Lake City concerned him, however. Mora said six of the penalties were unforced errors, such as defensive lineman Ellis McCarthy’s offside foul. Four others were decision or technique errors. Those two categories needed and could be fixed, the coach said.

The remaining three were due to aggressive play, including linebacker Kenny Orjioke’s facemask penalty and defensive end Eddie Vanderdoes’ roughing the passer. Mora is willing to live with those.

As to how he would go about reducing penalties, Mora wasn’t sure. He attributed the mistakes to a combination of factors, from over-eagerness, to lack of focus, to not being prepared on a certain play. Four of Thursday night’s penalties, Mora said, would have changed the momentum of the game.

“It’s a challenge for us right now,” he said. “It’s something we’ve got to get corrected. … For some reason, I’m not able to get it fixed yet.”

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  • Reformed Droog

    Personally, while I am concerned about the penalties that the Bruins continue to put up, I’m less worries about those that came Thursday night than those against Nevada.

    On Thursday night, we had several “abnormal” factors working against us. First of all, this was the most aggressive defense we’ve seen thus far this season. Secondly, the cold weather and precipitation made it difficult to make adjustments, especially for a team that is comprised of so many freshmen who have likely never played a full game in these conditions. Thirdly, the offensive rhythm was clearly affected by the poor snapping. Lastly, and I think most importantly, the altitude had a very clear effect on the entire team. As players got tired, they were more likely to jump (for false starts) or were late to blocking assignments (and therefore resorted to holding).

    I don’t see this confluence of factors occurring again in any of UCLA’s future games. Nonetheless, these issues need to be resolved if we want to have any chance of winning at Stanford and Oregon. We won, but we won ugly, and that’s highly unlikely to work out in our favor again given the rest of our schedule.

  • jameskatt

    UCLA will have to clean up its act. We need to be CAL next week badly.

  • don kuni

    I’m not saying this many penalties is a good thing but football studies have shown over and over that they have no correlation between wins and losses, stop harping on them! Coach has completed changed us into the mean, very hard hitting, gang tackling, hard nose team in one season. We finally have a identity and it is awesome to behold. We shall see what the future hold for this team but the prospects are very bright. The # of bruins who make it to the show and graduate will greatly increase because of his leadership. Only those who never played football especially defense understand the wonderful, controlled physical brutality of this sport that so mirrors our society in America. The penalty thing is an empty subject, we should concentrate on the stories behind players such as Kendricks, Goforth, Brendal,Sealli, Keenan and the like! Go Bruins!

    • facescar

      They could play a *massive* role against Stanford and Oregon. We need every advantage we can muster, whether it be from reduce penalties or a strong recovery from the recent injuries.

    • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

      How does “wonderful, controlled physical brutality” “mirror[...] our society”?

      If instead you mean competition, dedication, excellence, and hard work, then yes, that mirrors America.

      (At least the America that used to be. Now, everyone gets a trophy from Diana Moon Glampers.)

  • Bruin 34

    I’ll take any amount of penalties for this new product we are seeing on the field. Did anyone ever give a rats a$$ about penalties when we 6-8 and barely averaging 350 yds a game? Nuff said!

  • LTEfan

    Mora generally preaches discipline and accountability. Being at the bottom of CFB in penalties last season and so far this season is unacceptable. He needs to make it a priority to fix this problem, at least to make UCLA average in this statistical category. If he doesn’t consider it important, his players surely will not either and it will end up costing UCLA against top opponents like Stanford, Oregon, and Washington.