Paul Perkins comfortable with increased workload in UCLA’s backfield

Paul Perkins has lived up to any and all expectations in his first full season as UCLA’s starting running back, becoming the program’s 13th 1,000-yard rusher and ranking third in the Pac-12 with 117.2 yards per game.

Along the way, the redshirt sophomore has had to adjust to a much heavier workload. Last season, he only took double-digit carries five times, and finished the year with 130. This season, he has taken at least 14 carries in every game, and has a total of 190.

“It’s good to have a bye,” Perkins said. “That’s pretty much all I can say.”

Head coach Jim Mora hasn’t noticed a difference in the 5-foot-11 tailback’s performance.

“He hasn’t really shown any indication of being worn out or worn down at all,” he said. “Even on a Tuesday, he bounces back. I guess that’s the good thing about being 19 or 20 years old.” Continue reading

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VIDEO: Assistant coach Kennedy Polamalu talks about UCLA tailbacks

Asked if he had a prospective starting tailback yet, assistant coach Kennedy Polamalu went with the stock answer: They’re all No. 1, and they’ll all contribute.

Linebacker Myles Jack, who rushed for seven touchdowns in four games last year, won’t be among the group for the foreseeable future. Though it wouldn’t be surprising for the two-way Pac-12 Freshman of the Year to get some offensive reps once the season starts, he hasn’t practiced there at all this spring.

“I’ve been told, ‘Stay away,'” Polamalu said.

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Kennedy Polamalu debuts as UCLA’s running backs coach

Former USC fullback and longtime assistant Kennedy Polamalu found himself in rival colors Saturday. Hired as UCLA’s new running backs coach, he returned to the place where he got his start as a graduate assistant in 1992.

“Believe me, I was as shocked when I got the phone call as everyone else,” he said. “I’m still kind of in shock.”

Though he spent seven seasons across two stints on the Trojans’ staff, his wife and in-laws are Bruin alums. He got plenty of teasing about seeing “the light.” As for all the USC players he had coached? “They said, ‘Coach, you’re not the enemy; you’re an opponent now.’ I appreciate that.” Continue reading

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UCLA hires former USC assistant Kennedy Polamalu

In a move that strengthens UCLA’s place atop Los Angeles, the Bruins are set to hire former USC assistant Kennedy Polamalu. Bruin Report Online first reported the news.

Polamalu replaces former UCLA running backs coach Steve Broussard, who was fired on Monday. The Bruins had landed just one running back recruit — four-star prospect Craig Lee — through their first two signing classes of the Jim Mora era.

Formerly known as Kennedy Pola, the 50-year-old is well known for his recruiting acumen. A Trojans’ fullback from 1982-1985, Polamalu became the school’s running backs/special teams coach in 2000. Over the next four seasons, he coached running backs Justin Vargas and Hershel Dennis, as well as All-American punter Tom Malone.

He also coached Reggie Bush and LenDale White when the pair combined for 1,604 yards and 21 touchdowns from scrimmage as freshmen. Continue reading

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