Jim Mora: Tailback Paul Perkins ‘doing well’ after wrist injury

Running back Paul Perkins missed the fourth quarter of UCLA’s 36-34 win at Cal last Saturday with a right wrist injury, but practiced with it wrapped on Tuesday and appears on track to play at Colorado this weekend.

Bruins head coach Jim Mora said the tailback is “doing well.” Perkins is third in the Pac-12 with 116.6 yards per game, and also had four receptions for 75 yards and two touchdowns against the Bears.

Cornerback Fabian Moreau practiced after suffering what Mora originally called a “stinger.” Inside receiver Thomas Duarte is still limited after tweaking his hamstring, and did not practice in full on Tuesday. Unsurprisingly, Mora also said they were “doing well.”

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UCLA’s Paul Perkins runs for career-high 126 yards in Texas

Without quarterback Brett Hundley, the UCLA offense leaned on another Chandler High product: running back Paul Perkins.

Fresh off career highs in last weekend’s win against Memphis, the redshirt sophomore churned out a career-high 126 yards on 24 carries Saturday in UCLA’s 20-17 victory over Texas — the first triple-digit game of his career.

Perkins, who grew up with Hundley in Arizona, had cleared the 90-yard mark in three of his last 12 games. He also broke out a career-long 58-yard run at AT&T Stadium, one that helped set up backup quarterback Jerry Neuheisel’s three-yard touchdown pass to fullback Nate Iese.

“I was just having fun out there,” Perkins said. Continue reading

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UCLA tailback Paul Perkins sets career highs in season’s first start

Head coach Jim Mora wouldn’t commit to a true No. 1 back, but Paul Perkins sure looked like the man for the job on Saturday in UCLA’s 42-35 win.

In his first start of the season, the redshirt sophomore set career highs with 23 carries, 98 yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns against Memphis, including a 17-yard scamper that gave his team an early 6-0 lead. He touched the ball more than any other Bruin has since Nov. 17, 2012 — when all-time leading rusher Johnathan Franklin turned 29 carries into 171 yards and two scores against USC.

Perkins scored his second touchdown on a four-yard run in the second quarter. Continue reading

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UCLA’s Myles Jack makes season debut at running back vs. Memphis

PASADENA >> Myles Jack is a running back again.

The reigning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year on both sides of the ball played exclusively at linebacker in UCLA’s season opener, but got his first carry at the Rose Bowl on Saturday. He was in on two plays on the Bruins’ first drive against Memphis, gaining one yard on a carry before subbing back out.

Jack had 13 tackles against Virginia in Week 1, and is expected to play offense only in certain packages this season. He rushed for 267 yards and seven touchdowns through four games in November 2013.

Starting running back Paul Perkins opened scoring with a 17-yard touchdown, helping the Bruins to a 13-7 lead over Memphis after one quarter.

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Center Jake Brendel, running back Paul Perkins start for UCLA

PASADENA >> Center Jake Brendel started his first game of the season on Saturday night, as UCLA opened its home schedule against Memphis.

The third-year starter sat out the Bruins’ season opener at Virginia with a sprained knee, his absence contributing to the offensive line’s dysfunction. With sophomore Scott Quessenberry making his first career start at center — not to mention true freshman NaJee Toran at right guard — the Bruins gave up five sacks and committed five false starts.

Brendel had started 27 straight contests before sitting out at Scott Stadium, making him the only center quarterback Brett Hundley had ever played behind during a game.

Against Memphis, Quessenberry replaced Toran at guard. He had started six games there as a true freshman after injuries to the offensive line.

Redshirt sophomore Paul Perkins started at running back for the first time this season, an unsurprising move given his performance in Week 1. Perkins led the team with 80 yards on 16 carries against the Cavaliers in Charlottesville, while then-starter Jordon James finished with three yards.

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UCLA post-spring position outlook: Running backs

Spring football is done, and over three months still stand between us and the start of UCLA’s third season under Jim Mora — one that comes with national title aspirations and accompanying media glare. Over the next week, this blog will cover each of the Bruins’ position groups. Next up …

Running backs

Last season was the first since 2009 that every UCLA running back finished with fewer than 600 yards. That year, the Bruins finished 7-6 overall and eighth in the Pac-10.

The situations aren’t all that similar, of course. Quarterback Brett Hundley and linebacker Myles Jack both helped buoy the running game through the final five games, combining for 584 of the team’s 1,007 yards and 12 of its 16 touchdowns. The Bruins have options on the ground, even disregarding its stable of running backs.

But those backs. Assuming injuries won’t concentrate on this unit as much as it did in 2013, there are enough bodies for at least a three- or four-man rotation through fall. Continue reading

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UCLA running backs all healthy for the first time

At long last, UCLA will have a full stable of backs. Head coach Jim Mora said starter Jordon James, Paul Perkins, Damien Thigpen, Malcolm Jones and Steve Manfro should be 100 percent healthy heading into the Sun Bowl next Tuesday.

“They all looked really sharp out here today,” Mora said. “It’s probably been since training camp that we can say that. … It’s probably the first game that they’ve all been ready to go. So we’ll have to find a way to get them all reps.” Continue reading

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Bruins honored on Pac-12 All-Academic teams

The Pac-12 announced its all-academic teams today, which you can view in full here. The 11 UCLA players mentioned are listed below.

First team
FB Phillip Ruhl, RS Jr., 3.37, Political Science
C Jake Brendel, RS So., 3.49, Economics (two-time mention)
QB Jerry Neuheisel, RS Fr., 3.56, undecided (special teams selection)

Second team
LB Aramide Olaniyan, RS Jr., 3.30, Political Science

Honorable mentions: FB Luke Gane, Rs. Jr.; LB Ryan Hofmeister, Rs. Jr.; LB Eric Kendricks, Rs. Jr.; LB Taylor Lagace, Rs. Fr.; LS Christopher Longo, Rs. So.; RB Steve Manfro, Rs. So.; RB Paul Perkins, Rs. Fr.

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Three redshirt juniors to graduate and leave UCLA

– Three redshirt juniors will be honored with UCLA seniors at halftime against Arizona State this Saturday: fullback Luke Gane, offensive/defensive lineman Brandon Willis and linebacker Aramide Olaniyan. The trio will graduate and leave the team after this season.

“We’ll miss them,” coach Jim Mora said. “They’ve been great contributors and great guys.”

– Mora said safety Tahaan Goodman has improved over the past few weeks. Continue reading

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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

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