UCLA: Malcolm Jones

Reviewing the Pac-12 pro days

April, 3, 2014
Apr 3
12:00
PM PT
Washington was the final Pac-12 school to host its pro day Wednesday, essentially putting an end to 40-yard-dash season. Here is a look at some of the conference's top prospects and a few others who helped their cause over the past month.

Arizona (March 6)
Big name: RB Ka'Deem Carey. After getting clocked at 4.70 in the 40 at the combine, Carey's pro day was a bit more intriguing than some of the other big-name players. There was some improvement -- various reports had him in the high 4.6-range -- but it wasn't enough to change the book on him. Still, Carey's production should make up for his perceived shortcomings.
Sleeper: OLB Marquis Flowers. Flowers reportedly ran in the 4.4s and had a good showing in position drills.

Arizona State (March 7)
Big name: DT Will Sutton. The Sun Devils' pro day further cemented what scouts learned at the combine, when he turned in below average numbers. There was slight improvement at the pro day, according to several reports, but nothing to save his falling stock.
Sleeper: RB Marion Grice. Grice was invited to the combine, but didn't participate as he recovers from a broken leg suffered late in the season. He also didn't participate at the pro day, but will hold an individual workout for NFL scouts on April 8.

California (March 19)
Big name: DT Deandre Coleman. Coleman only participated in the bench press at the combine, but fared well in field drills on campus with a reported 40 time in the mid 4.9-range. Coleman is projected by most to be a mid-round selection.
Sleeper: RB Brendan Bigelow. Bigelow was perhaps the player with the most to gain at pro day. The book on him has always been that he's loaded with talent and the physical skills necessary to be an impact player. It didn't happen for the Bears before he decided to leave early for a shot at Sunday football. Despite injuring his hamstring midway through his 40, Bigelow still was reported as running in the high 4.4-range with former Cal running backs Marshawn Lynch and Jahvid Best looking on.

Colorado (March 12)
Big name: WR Paul Richardson. There were 24 teams on hand, with Richardson the obvious prize of the nine that worked out. He only participated in the vertical jump, short shuttle and three-cone drills.
Sleeper: LS Ryan Iverson. Iverson will not be drafted, but after four years as the Colorado long snapper he has a chance to make some money at the next level. His 27 reps on the bench press were a team high. All the Colorado results can be viewed here.

Oregon (March 13)
Big name: RB De'Anthony Thomas. Thomas' 4.50 40 time at the combine was among the disappointments for the conference and turned a perceived strength into average attribute. After his showing in Eugene -- a 4.34 40 time -- the world is back on its axis. On his combine performance, Thomas told the Ducks' official website: “I ran a 4.5 in ninth grade, so I was like, ‘Wow, that’s crazy’. I feel like that made me train harder and I used it as motivation.”
Sleeper: CB Avery Patterson. Patterson was left puzzled by his own performance after putting up just 10 repetitions in the bench press, but the two-year starter remains focused on making the jump to the next level. He's likely the type of player that will have to earn his way on a team via a training camp invitation and possibly a practice squad.

Oregon State (March 14)
Big name: WR Brandin Cooks. The Biletnikoff Award winner could have showed up to the Beavers' pro day as a spectator and it likely wouldn't have mattered. His showing at the combine was enough to solidify his stock as a first-round pick. Cooks didn't take part in field drills, but did run routes.
Sleeper: WR Micah Hatfield. Yes, a receiver with 20 career catches helped his cause. One scout told the Oregonian he had Hatfield at 4.33 in the 40 -- the same times Cooks clocked when he was the fastest receiver at the combine.

Stanford (March 20)
Big name: OL David Yankey. Kansas City, Tampa Bay and St. Louis were the only no-shows at Stanford. If the mock drafts are to be trusted, Yankey figures to be the first Stanford player of the board. He improved slightly on the bench press (22 to 25) and clocked the same 40 time (5.48) from the combine.
Sleeper: DE Ben Gardner. Is it fair to call Gardner a sleeper after earning some form of all-Pac-12 recognition the past three years? Probably not, but after not being invited to the NFL combine we'll go ahead and list him here anyways. Gardner benefitted most from the day, quantifying his explosiveness and athleticism with a 39.5-inch vertical jump.

UCLA (March 11)
Big name: OLB Anthony Barr. After running a 4.66 40 at the combine, Barr was clocked at 4.45 to ease any lingering doubt about his straight-line speed. Barr helped his case to become a top-10 pick and will likely be the first player from the Pac-12 selected.
Sleeper: RB Malcolm Jones. The Gatorade national high school player of the year never developed into the player UCLA fans were hoping for, but he's still hanging on to hopes of an NFL career. He was credited with a 4.57 40 at the Bruins' pro day.

USC (March 12)
Big name: WR Marqise Lee. Lee went Jerry Seinfeld and chose not to run, letting his combine performance serve as the final measurement of his ability. After not lifting in Indianapolis, Lee finished with 11 reps in the bench. He's tagged for the first round.
Sleeper: DE Morgan Breslin. Like Gardner, who he has been working out with in San Ramon, Calif., Breslin was a combine snub. He ran a 4.75 40, put up 26 reps on the bench and registered a 35.5-inch vertical jump. Here are the complete results for the 18 players who took part.

Utah (March 19)
Big name: CB Keith McGill. One of the fastest risers since the season has ended, McGill decided to participate in every drill despite a good showing at the combine. His 40 time (4.52) was a hundredth of second slower than what he did at combine, and his vertical leap (35.5) was about four inches less.
Sleeper: FB Karl Williams. The 240-pound former walk-on clocked a 4.5, which will could give him a shot to get in a training camp.

Washington (April 2)
Big name: RB Bishop Sankey. Content with his good showing in Indy, Sankey elected to just run the 60-yard shuttle and catch passes. Most mock drafts have Sankey, who left with a year of eligibility remaining, as the No. 2 running back.
Sleeper: QB Keith Price. There were 19 quarterbacks at the combine, but Price was not one of them, marking the first time since at least 1999 that the conference didn't send a quarterback -- and it could be longer -- we could only find combine rosters dating back that far. Price got good reviews for his performance Wednesday, but it would still be surprising if he gets drafted.

Washington State (March 13)
Big name: S Deone Bucannon. WSU's remote location and limited number of pro prospects resulted in less than a dozen scouts on hand, but those that were there got to see one of the conference's most intriguing prospects. Bucannon just participated in position drills after performing well across the board in Indianapolis.
Sleeper: K Andrew Furney. Furney showed a leg capable of hitting from beyond 60 yards and further established himself as a potential candidate for training camp invitations.

Malcolm Jones back as a walk-on for UCLA football

March, 26, 2013
3/26/13
1:42
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LOS ANGELES--Running back Malcolm Jones, who left the UCLA football team after one game last season, is back on the team as a walk-on, coach Jim Mora said Tuesday.

Jones, the Gatorade national high school player of the year in 2009, played sparingly as a freshman and sophomore and, after getting only three carries in UCLA's season opener at Rice last season, announced he would transfer. After the season and after UCLA's Holiday Bowl game, Jones approached Mora and asked if he could return this season.

"He came in and said 'I think I made a mistake and I was hasty in my judgment and I’d like to return to the team,'" Mora said. "Our focus was on recruiting and I told him we didn’t have a scholarship but we’d welcome him back as a walk-on"

Jones rushed for 255 yards in 55 carries as a freshman and had 103 yards rushing in 25 carries as a sophomore. He had high hopes for more playing time going into last season after the graduation of Derrick Coleman, but felt that his power running game didn't fit very well with UCLA's new spread offense. He made it through training camp, but left after the first game.

"He’s a good kid," Mora said. "He’s a good football player. Sometimes you get derailed when you’re a kid and 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."

Jones will participate in spring practice beginning next week and will be in the mix at running back. The Bruins have big shoes to fill with the graduation of all-time leading rusher Johnathan Franklin and the competition for those carries will be among the most closely watched during spring and fall camps. Jordon James, Steven Manfro and Paul Perkins are also among the group competing.

"I have not made him any promises," Mora said about Jones. "I kind of feel like Malcolm is going to have a renewed sense of intensity and urgency in the things that I was talking about and I’d love to see it. I’m excited to see it. I’m excited to see him play."

Mora also said the school would inquire with the NCAA about getting Jones another year of eligibility because he played so sparingly in that one game last season. He played only on the final drive of UCLA's 49-24 season-opening victory over Rice.

"I think there are some special circumstances there and hopefully they’ll take them into account but we haven’t started that process yet," Mora said.

In other roster news, Mora announced that receivers Ricky Marvray and Jerry Rice Jr. have graduated from UCLA and will transfer to other schools as graduate students. They will be allowed to play immediately under the NCAA transfer rules regarding graduate students. Marvray had three catches for 18 yards in an injury-marred season last year. Rice, son of the NFL's all-time leading receiver, caught seven passes for 52 yards last year.

Patrick Larimore has a concussion

August, 7, 2012
8/07/12
9:33
PM PT
SAN BERNARDINO -- UCLA linebacker Patrick Larimore missed practice Tuesday after suffering a recurrence of concussion symptoms, coach Jim Mora said.

Larimore left practice Monday with what was at first thought to be heat-related illness, but Mora said it was a concussion. Larimore, a senior starting middle linebacker, had a concussion earlier this year and sat out the latter part of spring practice.

"We really have to be careful with that given the fact that he had the concussion at the end of spring," Mora said. "He didn’t come to meetings yesterday, we rested him all day, we’ll re-evaluate him in the morning and see how he is."

Running back Malcolm Jones and receiver Joseph Fauria also did not suit up Tuesday. Jones has a mild groin strain and is expected to return this week. Fauria felt tightness in his hips and is day to day. Linebacker Anthony Barr suffered a hand injury at the end of practice and was going to be examined Tuesday evening and defensive back Randall Goforth was also carted off at the end of practice because of an unknown injury.

Additionally, Cassius Marsh and Jeff Baca left practice because of heat-related symptoms. Tre Hale, Simon Goines, Brett Downey, Dalton Hilliard and Jordan Zumwalt did not practice because of heat-related symptoms from Monday. Kenny Walker, who had an asthma attack Monday, was back on the field Tuesday.

Imagining how UCLA's season might go

August, 3, 2012
8/03/12
5:58
PM PT
The preseason positional reviews are in and camp is set to begin, so with a little time to kill, how about a prediction on UCLA's upcoming season?

Preseason predictions by nature are pretty silly because nobody knows how a season is going to unfold, what players are going to emerge as stars and which won’t live up to their preseason accolades. Everyone loves a prediction, however, so predict we must.

But how about taking the silliness factor up a notch and not only project who will win each of UCLA’s games, but how? That’s right, fictional game recaps before the games happen. As if giving you just a score wasn’t enough of an inane endeavor, we present the following dreamed-up version of how UCLA's season might go:

(Read full post)

UCLA season preview: Running backs

July, 30, 2012
7/30/12
10:36
AM PT
With UCLA training camp set to begin Aug. 4 at Cal State San Bernardino, we're taking a preseason look at the roster and breaking down the Bruins position by position.

We overviewed the quarterbacks, offensive line and receivers and will now complete the offense by previewing the running backs.

DEPTH CHART AT THE END OF SPRING PRACTICE:
Tailback
Johnathan Franklin (5-11, 195, Sr.)
Malcolm Jones (6-0, 220, Jr.)
Steven Manfro (5-9, 192, Fr.)
Damien Thigpen (5-8, 178, Jr.)
Melvin Emesibe (5-9, 197, Fr.)

Fullback
David Allen (6-2, 225, Sr.)
Alek Cusick (6-0, 215, Jr.)
Luke Gane (6-1, 242, So.)
Phillip Ruhl (6-0, 235, So.)

PROJECTED OPENING-DAY DEPTH CHART:
Tailback
Johnathan Franklin (5-11, 195, Sr.)
Malcolm Jones (6-0, 220, Jr.)
Steven Manfro (5-9, 192, Fr.)
Damien Thigpen (5-8, 178, Jr.)
Paul Perkins (5-11, 192, Fr.)
Fabian Moreau (6-0, 180, Fr.)
Melvin Emesibe (5-9, 197, Fr.)

Fullback
David Allen (6-2, 225, Sr.)
Alek Cusick (6-0, 215, Jr.)
Luke Gane (6-1, 242, So.)
Phillip Ruhl (6-0, 235, So.)

KEY LOSSES:
Derrick Coleman, 152 carries, 794 yards, 11 TDs. Graduated.

(Read full post)

Five things to watch: UCLA spring scrimmage

May, 4, 2012
5/04/12
2:55
PM PT
Jim MoraPeter Yoon/ESPNLA.com One thing Jim Mora will be watching Saturday is how his players adapt to a different environment.

LOS ANGELES -- UCLA's spring football practice session will end Saturday with the annual spring scrimmage game at the Rose Bowl. The action begins at 5 p.m.

With a new coaching staff and positional battles across the board, there will be plenty of newness on the field, so here are a few pointers on what to look for during the game:

1. THE QUARTERBACKS
They have been the most-watched players since the beginning of spring practice, so why should the spring finale be any different?

Coach Jim Mora and offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone have yet to pick a starter for next season, and you have to figure performance in this scrimmage will be a large portion of each quarterback's grade when it comes to making a call.

Mora would not divulge how the reps would be divided among the quarterbacks, but you have to guess Brett Hundley, Richard Brehaut and Kevin Prince will get the bulk. Prince has been hampered by a sore shoulder over the last two weeks, so he could be limited.

The keys to determining who plays best go beyond who is able to complete passes. The coaches are looking for command of the offense and good decision making as well as play-making ability.

"There are a lot of decisions that need to be made by the quarterback in this offense," Mazzone said. "Before the snap, at the snap, after the snap. You’re looking for how guys make those decisions under fire. And you are looking for a guy who can make those decisions then make the throws that need to be made. And you want a guy who can create plays when there’s no plays there to be made."

2. THE TEMPO
The high-paced offense has been one of the hot topics all spring and the Bruins will put it on full display Saturday. They are running a no-huddle offense with the plays coming in from the sideline and the quarterbacks calling them from behind center.

After each play the offense scrambles to the line and resets to do it all over. This is a far cry from the methodical, clock grinding Pistol offense UCLA ran the last two seasons, so it will be a change for the players to play at this accelerated pace for the first time in game-like conditions.

Also worth noting is whether or not the defense can keep pace. The Bruis struggled mightily last season against high-paced teams such as Houston, Arizona and Oregon. The Bruins defense seemed lost early in the spring,but has come on strong over the last couple of weeks so it will be interesting to see which unit deals best with the high pace.

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Video: Jim Mora, spring practice No. 14

May, 3, 2012
5/03/12
6:26
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- UCLA coach Jim Mora addressed the media following the Bruins' final spring practice. He addressed Devin Lucien's return to practice after leaving Tuesday on crutches and a few other injury notes. He also talked about the format of Saturday's spring game at the Rose Bowl and reflected on Junior Seau's death and the importance of monitoring head injuries. Patrick Larimore, Malcolm Jones, Wade Yandall and Alex Mascarenas are among the Bruins currently out because of concussions.

Isaiah Bowens out with torn ACL

April, 28, 2012
4/28/12
6:02
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- UCLA linebacker Isaiah Bowens tore his ACL on Thursday in practice and will undergo surgery in the next couple of weeks, coach Jim Mora said Saturday.

Bowens, a rising redshirt sophomore out of Bishop Amat High in La Puente, was competing for time at the middle linebacker spot and was the team's first-string middle linebacker after Patrick Larimore suffered a concussion earlier in the week, but he will now miss next season.

"That’s a bad deal," Mora said. "That’s a big loss for us and I feel bad for the kid. He’s doing well and working hard and you just hate for that to happen. It’s a part of the game, but it’s a part of the game you just don’t like."

Bowens suffered the injury during a play late in team drills Thursday. He crumpled to the ground after taking a helmet to his knee and then hobbled off the field.

"I couldn’t even watch the video of it," Mora said. "He took a shot on that thing."

In other injury news, linebacker Eric Kendricks was limited because of a shoulder injury, running back Malcolm Jones sat out the last few periods after taking a blow to the head and cornerback Anthony Jefferson also sat out the last portio of practice after getting hit in the back.

At this pace, the defense never rests

April, 14, 2012
4/14/12
5:45
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- The big story out of the first two weeks of UCLA's spring practice has been the up-tempo offense the Bruins are running.

It's a fast-paced, no-huddle attack with a blink-and-you'll-miss-it flair that has brought a higher energy level, lots of exciting scoring plays and dozens of cheers from the Bruins' faithful who have come out to watch practice.

But the dizzying pace has also made the UCLA defense look a little shaky at times, because guess who is giving up all of those big plays and thrilling scores?

"It's definitely a tough pace to match," said linebacker Patrick Larimore. "It definitely blew our minds when we first saw it. We kind of knew it was coming, but we didn’t know how hard it was going to be with pads. We’re starting to get a feel for it, but we’re not doing good enough yet."

The defense has been getting better as time has gone on and the players have been exposed more and more to the up-tempo pace. One of the keys to solid defense is being able to react within the scheme without thinking too much. Forcing the players into action quickly has put a premium on knowing the schemes well enough that thinking is not required.

"At this pace, you really have to know your assignment," lineman Datone Jones said. "By them going so fast, you don’t want to slip up or get out of your gap because you’ll mess up the defense. You can’t be thinking about where you are supposed to be, you just have to know how to do it and just play."

But while the offense might be a step ahead of the defense thus far, the faster pace certainly has a fringe benefit for the defense in that many teams in the Pac-12 play an up-tempo style. Last year, the Bruins played a much slower tempo with an offense designed to control the ball and the clock. The UCLA defense suffered against high-tempo teams, however, and ended up giving up 38 points or more in six games.

The Bruins were No. 92 in the nation in scoring defense, giving up 31.36 points per game.

"Houston tempoed us last year," safety Tevin McDonald said. "Arizona State tempoed us last year. Oregon. A lot of teams were just go-go-go and we weren’t preparing against that kind of pace so we were a little behind."

(Read full post)

LOS ANGELES -- Spring is the time of change for football programs around the country, and there will be plenty of quite noticeable change Tuesday when UCLA opens camp.

A new coaching staff led by Jim Mora will bring a new no-nonsense, tough-nosed approach to the proceedings. Some key players are gone because they have no eligibility left. At least one key player--offensive lineman Xavier Su'a-Filo, will be back in uniform after a two-year Mormon mission.

Many players, some established veterans, will be playing new positions and even switching sides of the ball. Mora and his staff will be installing completely new schemes on both sides of the ball and just about every position is up for grabs under the guidance of the new staff.

What it all adds up to is a camp designed to help remove UCLA from the jaws of mediocrity that have had a strong grip on the program for the better part of the last decade.

"We're excited to get going," said Mora, the former NFL coach who took over at UCLA in December. "We're excited to see what we have here and to get started on building this program into what we think it should be."

The most important order of business is to find a quarterback, though that is far from all the Bruins will be doing this spring. With an entirely new coaching staff led by new offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone and new defensive coordinator Lou Spanos, there will be new plays, new formations and new terminology. The team will be hitting the playbooks as hard as they hit their school books over the next few weeks.

Mora has softened that blow a bit by extending the 15-practice spring session over five weeks in order to help all the newness marinate in minds of the players. Spring football ends with the spring game on May 5 at the Rose Bowl.

"This being our first year, I didn’t want us to feel rushed with our installation," Mora said. "I wanted the players to have time to digest what they just practiced, look at it on film, get a good install in and go back on the field. As we go through the years, that’ll change. We’ll modify the schedule, but this first year that’s what made the most sense."

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Five things to watch: UCLA at USC

November, 25, 2011
11/25/11
12:56
PM PT

1. EMOTIONAL CONTROL
There is a lot riding on this game for UCLA with Pac-12 title game implications, trying to show the gap between the Bruins and Trojans has closed and UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel possibly coaching for his job. Add in the traditional bragging rights associated with the crosstown rivalry and UCLA is going to have no shortage of emotion going into the game. The question is, can they channel that emotion into good play. The Bruins are still a young team learning how to play on the big stage and didn't handle it very well earlier this season when they played a big-stakes game on the national stage at Arizona. The game will get out of control early if the Bruins again get overwhelmed by the moment.


UCLAUSC2. PRO-STYLE QUARTERBACK
Having to face one of the nation's top quarterbacks is nothing new for the Bruins with USC's Matt Barkley the sixth quarterback among the top-20 in passing yards UCLA has faced this season. UCLA has fared pretty well against the pass considering the competition, giving up only 216.5 yards per game through the air. Houston's Case Keenum, the national leader in passing yards, is the only quarterback with a 300-yard game against the Bruins. Barkley, No. 15 in the nation with 3,105 yards passing, has five 300-yards games this season. What will make Barkley isn't much of a threat to run, but he's difficult to defend because he generally gets time. USC has allowed only seven sacks this season, which is third fewest in the nation. The Bruins have only 12 sacks, which is No. 111 in the nation.

3. DEEP COVER
UCLA's secondary will be put to the test against USC's prolific receiver tandem of Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. UCLA has had troubles against elite-level receivers at times this season, giving up 100-yard games against four different receivers this season. Pass interference penalties have also cropped up more than the Bruins would like. Woods averages 107 yards receiving per game and Lee averages 83 and is coming off of a 187-yard game last week at Oregon so the pressure will be on cornerbacks Aaron Hester, Sheldon Price and Andrew Abbott to stick to those guys.



4. MINIMIZE MISTAKES
Penalties and turnovers have been troublesome for UCLA in recent weeks and the Bruins can ill-afford to have any of those types of momentum-killing mistakes this week. UCLA has been penalized 21 times for 193 yards the last two weeks and ranks among the bottom 25 in the nation in penalties and penalty yards per game and only 11 teams in the nation have fumbled more than UCLA's 13. Last year against USC, Johnathan Franklin fumbledat the USC 32 late in the first half of a 7-7 game and USC's Malcolm Smith returned it 68 yards for a touchdown and a 14-7 lead. Later, with the score still 14-7, Richard Brehaut fumbled at the USC 37 yard line killing an opportunity for UCLA to tie the score. The Bruins never recovered in a 28-14 loss.


5. BROTHERLY LOVE
Two sets of brothers will square off on opposite sidelines for the Bruins and the Trojans with UCLA safety Tevin McDonald and running back Malcolm Jones trying to get the best of their older brothers, USC safeties T.J. McDonald and Marshall Jones. The McDonald brothers are starters, but the Jones brothers play on opposite sides of the ball and have the potential to clash on the field. It adds a unique element to the rivalry that normally divides only a city, but the past two years has divided at least two families and will make the holiday season less cheerful for one side of the dinner table. It's the second week in a row a UCLA game has become a family affair. Last week, UCLA receiver Taylor Embree got the best of his father, Colorado coach Jon Embree.

It's all academic for 13 Bruins

November, 17, 2011
11/17/11
6:29
PM PT
UCLA running back Malcolm Jones heads a list of 13 Bruins football players who earned Pac-12 all-academic honors, the conference announced Thursday.

Jones, a sophomore with a 3.20 GPA, was named to the first team. F-back Anthony Barr and punter Jeff Locke earned second-team honors. Barr has a 3.14 GPA and Locke, a first-team selection in 2009 and 2010, has a 3.63 GPA.

Ten UCLA players earned honorable mention nods: quarterback Kevin Prince, kicker Tyler Gonzalez, linebackers Sean Westgate, Eric Kendricks, Phil Ruhl, Aramide Olaniyan and Jared Koster, long snapper Kevin McDermott, defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa and offensive lineman Chris Ward.

Run game carries on without Franklin

September, 25, 2011
9/25/11
8:24
PM PT
CORVALLIS, Ore. -- If UCLA's running game is the engine that drives its offense, then Johnathan Franklin is the spark plug that gets it started.

He's the team's MVP from last year after a 1,127-yard rushing season and was the leading rusher in every game last year.

So when Franklin went out because of a hip contusion Saturday at Oregon State, there was some reason for concern that the UCLA rushing attack might run out of gas.

The concern was for naught.

Derrick Coleman, whose role has been the pounding, short-yardage back, showed he could carry the load of a lead back when he rushed for 100 yards in 20 carries after Franklin left the game early in the second quarter. And Malcolm Jones, who had only one carry this season coming in to the game, proved a worthy backup to Coleman with 38 yards in nine carries.

Add in the production from F-back Jordon James, who carried for 25 yards on consecutive sweeps during a fourth-quarter scoring drive, and it all added up to a running attack that showed it could survive without its leader. UCLA ran for 211 yards, the third time in four games the Bruins have gone over 200 yards on the ground, and defeated the Beavers, 27-19.

"I don’t worry about who is back there running," offensive coordinator Mike Johnson said. "You just call the runs and let those guys go. We’ve got a couple big backs and a couple of scat backs. We’ve got guys who can go in there and handle the load. If Johnathan is out, you definitely miss him, but I think the other guys are capable."

(Read full post)

Practice report: Wednesday quick hits

September, 21, 2011
9/21/11
8:08
PM PT
UCLA had a high energy level for a practice Wednesday and the players set the tone by huddling together in the middle of the field as they would before a game and bouncing up and down singing a song.

The spirited practice also featured a few minor skirmishes as well as a fairly major shoving match between Cassius Marsh and Torian White that resulted in White throwing his helmet to the ground and having to be restrained by teammates.

"Another great practice where we got lots done coaching our tails off, playing hard, people angry, people fighting," coach Rick Neuheisel said. "It’s football and it warms your heart if you’re into that sort of thing and I’m looking forward to a spirited game on Saturday."

A few tidbits:
  • The quarterback reps again went mostly to Richard Brehaut, though Kevin Prince and Brett Hundley also got a fair share. Hundley seemed a little more involved with the run game, indicating that his package of plays will focus on that part of the offense when and if it is unveiled.
  • With Brehaut getting the starting nod at Oregon State, he's looking to become more of a leader, but Neuheisel says he wants Brehaut to take one step at a time. "I want him concentrating on doing the little things right in terms of the position," Neuheisel said. "As he does that, his confidence will soar, the team will look to him more and that leadership piece will fall to him naturally."
  • Kicker Kip Smith dressed but did not participate as he continues to nurse a hip flexor injury. Punter Jeff Locke is in the kicker's role for now. He made two of four field-goal attempts in early practice drills, missing badly for 30 and 35 yards but drilling a 40-yard attempt.
  • The two-minute drive at the end of practice stalled near midfield, a good sign for the defense because the offense has been scoring touchdowns on a regular basis. Locke attempted a 57-yard field goal but missed. Neuheisel lamented the inconsistency on offense this season. "We make lots of plays that have been on SportsCenter and things like that, we just don’t make them as consistently as the good teams do and that’s what we have to do," he said.
  • Malcolm Jones, who has only one rushing attempt through the first three games, also was more involved in the offense and Neuheisel said he expected to have Jones more involved on game days going forward. "Given the situations thus far in games he has not gotten as many carries as we would have liked him to have received, but we still have nothing but high regard for Malcolm and his talent and think he can be a huge addition to this team not only this year but in the future," Neuheisel said. "We’re early in the season and there are lots of chances and Malcolm will turn into a very valuable guy here very shortly."
  • Safety Tony Dye sat out once again as he recovers from "stingers" but all signs are that he will play Saturday at Oregon State.
  • Cornerback Jamie Graham dressed in shoulder pads and cleats and did some running on the side for the first time since August surgery to repair a torn meniscus, but he said Tuesday that he's two weeks from returning to game action.
  • Freshman defensive lineman Kevin McReynolds has a concussion and did not suit up for practice as he begins the concussion protocol.
  • Cornerback Andrew Abbott is still out because of a concussion and says he is definitely out for Saturday and is unsure if he'll even make the trip to Oregon State.

Five things to watch: Texas at UCLA

September, 16, 2011
9/16/11
6:47
AM PT
1. QUARTERBACK SHUFFLES




Both teams enter the game with question marks at quarterback. Kevin Prince and Richard Brehaut have been in a six-week competition for the starting job, yet neither has been able to claim it outright. Prince, who appears to be the choice to start against Texas, can't stay on the field because of injuries. Brehaut has shown flashes of excellence, but sprinkles in too much inconsistency. They may split time or alternate or one may play the whole game. Oh, and don't forget true freshman Brett Hundley. He's supposed to have a package of plays ready to run, but we haven't yet seen it in a game. Across the field, last year's starter Garrett Gilbert was replaced after a game and a half by the tandem of Case McCoy and David Ash. McCoy,the brother of former Texas quarterback Colt, is the more seasoned of the two, but Ash may be the more talented and is definitely the more athletic. He's only a true freshman, however, so don't expect him to have everything down just yet. They are slated to split time.

2. CHESS MATCH




This game will be far different from last year's 34-12 UCLA victory because of coaching staff overhauls on both teams. The head coaches, Rick Neuheisel and Mack Brown are the same, but both teams have new offensive and defensive coordinators. That means you can throw last year's film out the window because both teams are running different schemes. UCLA's offensive coordinator Mike Johnson is adding a pro-style section to the Pistol playbook and seeking more balance. Texas co-offensive coordinators Bryan Harsin and Major Applewhite are trying to add a power running attack. UCLA defensive coordinator Joe Tresey is looking for a fast, aggressive tempo while Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz is looking to confuse and dictate the opposing offense. But with so much newness on both teams, they are both still trying to find their identities. That means the normal cat and mouse game between the coaches will be at a heightened level for this game as they try to read one another.

3. PISTOL WHIPPED

When these teams met last year, UCLA rushed for 264 yards--the most rushing yards by any team against Texas last season. UCLA's Pistol attack, a zone read-based offense, was so effective that the Bruins needed to pass only nine times for 27 yards and still won, 34-12. The Bruins still use the Pistol, though it is only a component of the offense this year, and will almost assuredly try to see if it can be effective again. The Bruins will want to control the clock with running backs Johnathan Franklin and Derrick Coleman doing the bulk of the work. Quarterback Kevin Prince had 50 yards against Texas last year and is also an effective runner. Expect to see more of Malcolm Jones and Jordon James, too, especially if UCLA runs 56 times like they did last year. Texas is certainly studying what went wrong against UCLA's run game and it's defense, currently giving up only 86.5 yards rushing per game, will be out to shut down the UCLA backs.

4. KICKING GAME

UCLA's kicking game is a bit of a question mark as we head toward game day. Field goal kicker Kip Smith made two field goals last week against San Jose State, but sometime between Saturday and Tuesday he began feeling tightness in his kicking leg. He sat out almost all week of practice and with backup Joe Roberts also injured, coach Rick Neuheisel brought in soccer team manager Tyler Gonzalez to try out. All this after Smith had seemingly turned a corner after struggling through training camp. The oddsmakers have Texas as a 3.5-point favorite, so a field goal could very well play a major role in the game. Punter Jeff Locke would be the field goal kicker if Smith can't go and Gonzalez would probably be available as an emergency replacement. But Locke has been off a bit in his top skill. The Pac-10 leader with a punting average of 45.84 last season, his average is only 37.4 so far this season. Locke also handles kickoffs, but none of his six kickoffs went for touchbacks last week.

5. GETTING DEFENSIVE

UCLA's defense has been a major disappointment thus far, giving up 469 total yards against Houston and 202 yards rushing against San Jose State, one of the worst rushing teams in the nation last season. They've had problems with missed tackles and letting quarterbacks scramble for big yards--especially on third downs. That combination could spell trouble against a Texas running attack that is averaging 197 yards a game this season. Both Texas quarterbacks are athletic enough to do damage with their legs and David Ash in particular is a legitimate running threat. Leading rusher Malcolm Brown is the right combination of size and speed to cause problems for a struggling run defense. The Bruins have vowed to play with more energy and passion this week and must keep containment in the pocket and also shore up some holes in the middle of the defensive line in order to prevent Texas from gaining control of the clock and the game.

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2013 TEAM LEADERS

PASSINGATTCOMPYDSTD
B. Hundley369248307124
RUSHINGCARYDSAVGTD
B. Hundley1607484.711
P. Perkins1345734.36
RECEIVINGRECYDSAVGTD
S. Evans4770915.19
D. Fuller4347111.04
TEAMRUSHPASSTOTAL
Offense196.6251.6448.2
TEAMPFPAMARGIN
Scoring36.524.112.4