Let us begin with the tremendous work we are seeing on the field by RB Paul Perkins, RB Jordan James, and true freshman RB Nathan Starks. At the beginning of the season, we wondered if Starks would even get to see the field, but with the help of Perkins and the outstanding work of our new running back coach Kennedy Polamalu, Nate is not only seeing the field but is becoming that missing piece in our running back crew. Starks has gotten the ball 21 times for 104 yards, scoring two touchdowns. But most importantly he brings that power and size that has been needed, and makes shifting Myles Jack over to offense unnecessary.
When he talked with the media, Starks credits Perkins for being his second Coach P:
Paul is actually one of the first running backs I got close and talked to when I got here. He’s a great leader and a great mentor to the game. I listen to everything he tells me. He teaches me how to read defenses. He’s like my Coach P away from Coach P.
And once again, another Bruin demonstrates a great and mature attitude about his role on the team:
I know I’m not going to get every snap in every game. But it’s a great learning tool just to get a few reps, and hopefully prepare me to be an every down back in the future.
Here is the full interview, courtesy of Jack Wang, Inside UCLA:
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Speaking of powerful running backs, UCLA great DeShaun Foster has also been working with our RB's and special teams. Foster shares some of his memorable moments as #26 in his record breaking 301 yard, four touchdown game against the Huskies in 2001. He talks about how the team came together after 9/11 and how many former Bruins, like Freddie Mitchell, joined these Bruins for the game. He gives a lot of credit to the offensive line and just loved how this team seemed to click.
Thanks to the official site for these great and memorable moments.
Here is the 2nd TD he scored in that game where Foster shows off his power! (Sorry that it is grainy but's that how it was back in the day):
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Moving on, NFL analyst Charles Davis wonders if Brett Hundley will reconsider his plans for the 2015 NFL draft. While we know the answer is "no", Davis talks about the difficult "balancing act" Brett has had this season trying to impress scouts while being the best he can be for the team. Davis echoes what many of us have said, that there is no setback in showing the power of you running ability:
The truth is, though, that a QB who can run is no longer frowned upon at any level. In fact, utilizing a QB's athletic ability in that way is being encouraged in the NFL more now than at any other time in the league's history. It used to be said that the QB should only run out of sheer fright. I don't think people look at it same way anymore when you see the damage being done by dual-threat guys.
He also sees that Brett has realized this and notes that he has started to run more frequently and has really helped the team by doing so. As we say here, "Let Brett be Brett!".
Helping Brett, along with the running backs, is the much improved offensive line. This week it was announced that Jake Brendel has been named to the CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-District 8 Football team along with 23 other players. Jake is not only doing great things for our team, but has made the Athletic Director's Honor Roll several times during his time at UCLA and carries a 3.39 GPA as an Economics major. His name will now appear on the national Academic All-American ballot, whose first team will be announced the first week of December. Good luck and congratulations Jake! You can see the complete list here.
The trending story of this week's game seems to be that both teams have two-way players, who are good. Really good and they are, of course, Myles Jack and UW's Shaq Thompson. If you haven't read enough about it, you can get Sport's Illustrated's take on it or read about it at Fox News, CBS Los Angeles, the Tacoma News Tribune, okay I think you get the point. This seems to be a big story that could end up being a non-story when all is said and done. Or not.
Ryan Kartje at the OC Register has a really nice read about Eric Kendricks' "last hurrah" as a UCLA football player. (That makes really makes me sad.) It has a really nice beginning which shows how committed Eric is to his craft and to his friends and family:
The first thing UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks does when he wakes up each fall Sunday is watch tape of the Bruins’ game from the previous night.
Next, he looks for the Eagles game, to watch his brother, Mychal, play linebacker. Then it’s on to the Vikings, to watch one of his best friends, former UCLA star Anthony Barr, do the same.
Here come's the misty eye'd bit:
He willingly talks of the idea he’ll soon be done, how it’s "sinking in a little bit," how he’s "feeling a little different," and "leaving it all on the field," as any college senior is wont to do.
It is a really nice article and I highly recommend checking it out.
Looking around the webs, Chris Foster has a look at Devin Fuller who is "looking to break loose" this Saturday. It also looks like Thomas Duarte will play tomorrow, so Brett will have that big inside receiver back along with Mossi Johnson who has been performing really well. The Seattle Times columnist Jerry Brewer takes a look at the necessity of dismissing Husky CB Marcus Peters. And Rick Neuheisel isn't buying that Coach Mora won't be emotional when he returns to Husky Stadium.
In case you missed The Drive on Wednesday, they had a beautiful piece on Brett Hundley and "the best and greatest dad in the world". The full episode will not be available for a couple of weeks, but you can get a taste of it now. Speaking of Brett, wow he will be leaving us too. What an amazing man he has been for our team, our program, and our university. Someone more talented than moi should really start putting together a highlight video to pay tribute to one of UCLA's all-time great quarterbacks!
Okay, that is all for the today. Have a great evening and as always...