UCLA RB Paul Perkins, Nate Starks ‘on track’ to face Colorado

UCLA will likely have its top two running backs in uniform again against Colorado this weekend.

Paul Perkins, who was the Pac-12’s leading rusher in 2014, and backup Nate Starks have recovered from their injuries enough to suit up for Saturday’s noon kickoff, head coach Jim Mora said Thursday.

“I would assume that both of them would play,” he said. “It looks like they’re both on track to play. I’m not too worried. I was more worried about Paul earlier in the week, but he’s done fine.”

Perkins injured his left knee in the second quarter of last week’s 40-24 win over Cal, after running for 73 yards on 11 carries. Starks was sidelined with a concussion that he sustained two weeks ago at Stanford.

How much the two backs play remains to be seen. The Buffaloes have what is statistically the weakest rushing defense in the Pac-12, allowing 209.5 yards per game and an average of 5.06 yards per carry. UCLA could very well decide to give more carries to freshmen Soso Jamabo — the team’s leading rusher in three games this season — and Bolu Olorunfunmi.

Senior receiver Devin Fuller’s status remains more questionable after a head injury ended his 100-yard, two-touchdown day against the Bears. Both marks were career highs.

“I don’t want to use the word ‘concussion,'” Mora said. “I’m not sure it was a concussion. … He had head trauma. What I’m completely confident in is that if our medical staff clears him to play, he is OK to play. We’re very conservative.”

Mora did not offer any update on leading tackler Isaako Savaiinaea. The junior linebacker suffered a leg injury last week, but has been present for parts of the last few practices.

Left tackle Conor McDermott and linebacker Deon Hollins, who are both recovering from knee injuries, have practiced all week.

  • MPPBruin

    I hope that neither of them play much. Use them early to set the tone and then dial it back. Colorado should be soft enough so that we can give them more rest.

    • EncinitasBruin

      Agree–our all true freshmen backfield of JR, Soso, and Betu looked really sharp last week against Cal.

  • j metaphor

    Sweet Jesus!
    Can anyone else hear over the wind noise in this video.
    It’s 2015 people, technology must have some answer for the horrible sound quality and noise that is always part of these videos.

    P.S. anyone else remember the overtime last year? Yikes

  • Elliot Levinson

    After trying to hear the press conference (can’t they have them inside?), I still can’t understand why L.A., the media capital of the universe, has such mediocre beat writers. Sounds like high school sophomore communication classes. Reran the TJ Simers vs Mora presser a few years ago after trying to hear windgate . Simers reminded me of what an irrelevant asshole he is. Good riddance. Be Well But Be Gone. I can’t believe how the quality of decent sports writers/commentators has diminished. There are so many more of those jobs across the country. Every college has a half dozen following them. So does every high school. Shouldn’t L.A. have the cream of the crop? I sure hope we don’t, now. Woe is us.

    • EncinitasBruin

      Murray and Malamud are greatly missed by this native Angeleno.

      • UCLA owns LA Football

        Murray was a formula column in its last 10 yrs.

        Malamud had a great notes column, but I always liked John Hall the best; he did a lot of great Rams stuff.

        • EncinitasBruin

          Hall was a writer’s writer. Would take any three of those journalists over 10 of the current LA batch. Is Hall still alive?

      • Elliot Levinson

        Mud was great even though he was an sc grad and hack. I guess I’m a little partial, my dad wrote sports for the Times in the late 30’s before I was born. He had been the editor of the school paper at LACC (he led the drive to change the name from L.A.JC to LACC) Zim, Lupe Saldana, Matt Weinstock, etc were all frat brothers of his in the LACC journalism fraternity.