UCLA’s Maurice Drew leads the nation in punt returns, but his opportunities to add to his totals might dwindle quickly. California tried to kick away from Drew, but failed. This week’s opponent, Washington State, doesn’t seem too keen on kicking Drew’s way either. “He’s returned 10 punts for 338 yards,” Cougars coach Bill Doba said. “If you punt it 38 yards, he’s going to average 33. You’re only gaining five, so you’re probably better off punting the ball out of bounds. But that’s easier said than done.” In addition to Drew’s three punt returns for touchdowns, he brought one back 69 yards but didn’t score against Cal. And earlier this season he had a punt return for a score called back because of a penalty. “I hope they’re not scared to kick the ball to me anymore,” Drew said. “I know a lot of people don’t like to kick it, but it’s a challenge out there. Any time I get the ball everyone is going to make their blocks and leave me one-on-one with the punter, and you’ve got to win that one. That’s all we’ve been trying to do, try to get me one-on-one with the punter.” Drew usually beats the punter, and his speed makes him almost impossible to catch in the open field. But UCLA coach Karl Dorrell said even if teams avoid Drew, the Bruins will benefit. “That means they’re not kicking it as deep, and they’re kicking it out of bounds, so that usually means you have decent field position,” Dorrell said. “The thing they’re trying to do is neutralize touchdowns. We’re able to score on offense, so I don’t see that as being a big negative.” Walk-on sunshine: UCLA defensive tackle Brian Ruziecki didn’t hide his feelings about being thrust into a tight game last week against Cal, saying “honestly, I was surprised.” It’s quite the change for Ruziecki, a walk-on from Huntington Beach. The redshirt junior came to UCLA on a track scholarship, but after two years of shot put, discus and hammer throw, wanted to play football. He said the spark was provided by track coach Art Venegas, who gave a preseason pep talk. “He said, ‘If there’s anywhere else you’d rather be, come tell me,’ ” Ruziecki said. “So I told him the next day. He said, ‘Well, you’re honest with me,’ so he took me over to (the football offices) and introduced me.” Ruziecki has played in three games, but didn’t get meaningful time until Brigham Harwell was hurt against Cal. Ruziecki made a key tackle, but at a steep price. He had to give up his track scholarship to walk-on as a football player. His parents now foot the $9,000 bill for tuition and other expenses. Hook ’em horns: UCLA and Texas reached agreement to play a two-year series, beginning in 2010 at Royal-Texas Stadium. The Longhorns will play at the Rose Bowl in 2011. It will be the first meeting between the teams since the Bruins beat the Longhorns 49-31 in 1998. UCLA’s last trip to Austin, Texas, resulted in a 66-3 thrashing of the Longhorns in 1997. Overall, the series is tied 2-2. Odds and ends: Strong safety Chris Horton had the pins removed from his injured wrist and Dorrell said he expected the sophomore to play next week against Oregon State. … Dorrell said Wednesday’s practice, complete with piped in crowd noise, “might have been our best practice of the year right there.” Brian Dohn, (818) 713-3607 [email protected] AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!