Notes and quotes: UW can’t stop The Myles Jack Show

The stories in today’s issue of the Los Angeles Daily News:

» My game story, on a dire running back situation paving the way for Myles Jack’s four-touchdown night, the most on the ground for UCLA since Maurice Jones-Drew.
» More on Myles Jack, from columnist Vinny Bonsignore.
» Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said weeknight games are part of the price of generating national exposure for the conference.

More game notes from UCLA’s 41-31 win over Washington, their eighth straight over the Huskies at the Rose Bowl.

– Your latest dose of Myles Jack hype, this time courtesy of Cassius Marsh and Devin Lucien:

Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Weekly Q&A — 11/12/13 Answers

Q: For basketball, the early signing period starts this Wednesday. Any update since five-star forward Kevon Looney verballed?

A: Hungarian big man Gyorgy Goloman officially signed his letter of intent today, and Looney is expected to send his in Thursday morning. Four-star 7-footer Thomas Welsh will decide between Cal, Stanford and UCLA any day now. Justise Winslow might also make a decision by Nov. 20.

Q: How big of a blow and an impact did losing left tackle Torian White and running back Jordon James have on the team and our offense? Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Injury report: Three running backs battling ankle injuries

Here’s the rundown, per UCLA head coach Jim Mora: starter Jordon James is “fine”; senior Damien Thigpen is a game-time decision; reserve back Steve Manfro is out.

All three are battling ankle injuries, and both James and Thigpen entered Wednesday’s no-pads practice with their right ankles wrapped. The Bruins also have Paul Perkins and Malcolm Jones available, though the latter did not carry the ball against Arizona last Saturday.

Of breakout two-way star Myles Jack, Mora said simply: “He’s a linebacker.”

Backup left tackle Conor McDermott has also undergone shoulder surgery, the Los Angeles Times reported. Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Jordon James leads UCLA’s surprising ground attack

This is the Daily News’ HTML5-compatible media player.


PASADENA — So much for those backfield worries.

For weeks, the UCLA staff had insisted it would use as many as five backs in the rotation. Even after a depth chart was released, running backs coach Steve Broussard insisted starter Jordon James was only “penciled in” — and still may be in a two-way timeshare.

In front of 60,562 at the Rose Bowl, the 5-foot-9, 194-pound back set the tone Saturday night by rushing for a career-best 155 yards in a 58-20 romp over Nevada.

He’s no Johnathan Franklin, an All-American who set career and single-season rushing records at UCLA last season. But in his debut as a No. 1 back Saturday, James looked better than he ever has in blue and gold. Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

UCLA’s list of possible concussions swells to seven

Head cases have beset the Bruins this August.

Whether exacerbated by the San Bernardino heat or simply a bit of bad luck, seven UCLA players were sidelined Tuesday with concussion-like symptoms — taking a large chunk of the offensive line.

“I don’t know why we seem to have this rash of head injuries,” Mora said. “I’m not sure how serious all of them are, but we’re going to treat them all as if they’re very serious.”

The line was without redshirt sophomores Kevin McReynolds and Ben Wysocki, as well as true freshmen Alex Redmond, Poasi Moala and John Lopez. Redmond and Wysocki were competing at right guard, while Moala had taken the majority of second-team snaps at right tackle.

The attrition shuffled what was gradually becoming a more stable line. In one first-team iteration, All-American Xavier Su’a-Filo moved from guard to left tackle, while backup center Carl Hulick slid to left guard.

“It kind of affects everything you do,” Mora said. “It affects the development of the depth. It affects our ability to practice the way we’d like to practice. We just have to modify it.”

Added Su’a-Filo: “When we have the luxury of numbers, we can run, one, two, three groups. With these concussions, we’ve just got to take more reps. We’ve got to make do with what we have.”

Defensive Ian Taubler and running back Malcolm Jones are also out with concussion-like symptoms.

OTHER INJURIES

Freshman defensive end Kylie Fitts suffered full-body cramps. Mora said he drank enough water afterward to gain 8.5 pounds. Junior linebacker Eric Kendricks has missed all team activities in fall camp recovering from an ankle procedure. He is expected to play in the Aug. 31 season opener, and may return to practice next week. Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Running back Malcolm Jones: ‘It is frustrating that it’s my last year’


Despite carrying the ball just three times last year, running back Malcolm Jones lost his NCAA appeal to waive 2012 as a redshirt season.

Feeling misused at UCLA, Jones had decided to transfer to San Diego State before changing his mind. He argued to the NCAA that he hadn’t been enrolled for the full season and didn’t practice with the team.

“They said they see cases like that all the time,” Jones said. “They just have to draw the line at some point. … It is frustrating that it’s my last year and I can’t make up for last year.

“I really take that, put it on the field and try to release that anger.”

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Fall camp preview: Running backs

After watching Johnathan Franklin smash multiple school records last season, UCLA will need multiple bodies to fill the void at running back. No single set of feet can hope to match what Franklin did as an All-American and Doak Walker runner-up, rushing for 1,734 yards and 13 touchdowns.

The Bruins’ coaching staff has long said that the team will rely on a committee approach; if Franklin was “The Mayor,” then 2013 will be led by a city council. The test in San Bernardino will be to see if anyone has the potential to eventually emerge as a true No. 1 back.

Key returners: As a backup last season, Jordon James carried the ball 61 times for 215 yards — good for a pedestrian average of 3.5 yards per carry. Contrast that with Franklin’s 6.1 ypc, and his chances of becoming a star seem unlikely. The 5-foot-9, 193-pound junior flashes impressive runs in practice, but still hasn’t found a way to translate that into games. Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Thursday practice notes: ‘Too much dancing’ among running backs

With the departure of all-time leading rusher Johnathan Franklin, UCLA’s tailback competition is wide open. Head coach Jim Mora has said all spring that he expects the Bruins to use a committee next season, but he isn’t happy with the progress so far

“There’s way too much dancing right now,” Mora said. “Our running backs are doing too much of this, like the keyboard of a piano. They need to freakin’ hit it and go. That’s something I’m disappointed in and they’re going to work hard on.”

Jordon James, Paul Perkins and Malcolm Jones have shared carries through camp, but no one has consistently stood out. Redshirt senior Damien Thigpen — third on the team last season with 849 all-purpose yards — is still recovering from a torn ACL, while Steve Manfro is rehabbing after shoulder surgery.

» Thursday’s practice was, Mora said emphatically, the best yet through the first six days of spring camp. However, the spurt of energy did spill over into some minor scuffles throughout the day. The two-hour session concluded with a massive group of players bumping and pushing each other.

“We’ve been banging on each other now for six days, and you can kind of expect that,” Mora said. “As long as it doesn’t get out of hand and it doesn’t turn into a brawl or a fight or somebody throwing haymakers, you’re going to get a little bit of that. That’s part of football.” Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Malcolm Jones: ‘I never should have left’

Seven months after transferring out, Malcolm Jones is back at UCLA — without a scholarship in perhaps his final collegiate season.

“I never should have left,” Jones said. “It was a bad decision on my part. I was too heated at the moment. I didn’t really think of the consequences.”

The 6-foot, 220-pound tailback left the team after being involved in just six plays in last fall’s season opener, far less time action than he’d expected. It was the last straw in what had been a frustrating career as a Bruin, one in which he felt his talents weren’t being properly utilized. After being named Gatorade Player of the Year at Oaks Christian, Jones scored one touchdown in his first two seasons as a Bruin. Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Jones returning as walk-on, eligibility unclear

Running back Malcolm Jones, who left the Bruins after playing just one game as a junior in 2012, had second thoughts after exploring options to transfer.

After the holiday season, he approached head coach Jim Mora about returning to the team. Mora said he didn’t have a scholarship available for Jones, but would welcome him back as a walk-on.

“Sometimes you get derailed when you’re young,” Mora said. “I don’t think any of us wanted to hold the fact that he left the team against him. We all wanted to give him that second chance because of the type of kid he is and because we believe in someone earning a second chance.” Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email