Countdown the days to UCLA’s season-opener against Texas A&M with key stats facing the Bruins this year.
10 receiving touchdowns by Thomas Duarte last year, which led the team
9 returning starters on defense
8th in the Pac-12 in rushing defense last year
7 second-half turnovers for Josh Rosen last year
6 different starting combinations on the offensive line in 2015
5 straight losses to Stanford under head coach Jim Mora
4 different players attempted at least one punt last year
3 home losses to unranked teams in the past two years
2 STRAIGHT 1,000-YARD RUSHING SEASONS FOR PAUL PERKINS
A year after leading the conference in rushing, Paul Perkins followed it up with another 1,000-yard season for the Bruins in 2015. He claimed the Pac-12 rushing title with 1,575 yards and had 1,343 yards last year.
UCLA had not had consecutive 1,000-yard rushers since DeShaun Foster ran for 1,037 and 1,109 yards in 2000 and 2001, respectively.
Perkins is now on the other side of the country with the New York Giants. The Bruins have three main options to replace him: Soso Jamabo, Nate Starks and Bolu Olorunfunmi.
They each specialize in a single skill. Jamabo is a glider, a finesse back. Starks is aggressive, shifty and can break tackles. Olorunfunmi is the big back, the bruiser who can run through blockers.
Together, they make a very complete back. However, you can’t stitch football players together in real life and that’s why UCLA is not committing to one at this point in the season, even though offensive coordinator/running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu said he wants to find one guy to lead the group.
They’ll all see significant time on the field, but watch for if/when one separates from the pack.