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.”

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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

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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

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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

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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

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