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Spaulding Report: Will Bolu Olorunfunmi Be The Guy in the UCLA Backfield?

After Wednesday’s practice, Coach Mora and players spoke to the media about their goals for the rest of the season, stopping Brandon Dawkins, having a #1 guy in the backfield, and more.

NCAA Football: UCLA at Texas A&M
Look for Bolu Olorunfunmi to get the most reps in the backfield after his performance against Stanford.
Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, after watching the film of the Stanford game, Mora insisted that the UCLA backs had left "100 yards on the field."

If you didn’t believe him, take a look at this column from Daily Bruin writer Matt Cummings, with gifs of Nate Starks and Soso Jamabo missing or hesitating to get into holes opened up by the offensive line.

Guess who didn’t have that problem? Bolu Olorunfunmi, who lead the backs with 11 carries for 51 yards at 4.6 yards per carry on the game.

I’m guessing that’s who Jim Mora was talking about when he said the other thing that stuck out to Bruin fans after Monday’s press conference: That the RB rotations would no longer be equal. "You’ll still see all three," Mora said. "But you’ll see less of two and more of one."

Here’s guessing Bolu will be the new lead back in the UCLA backfield, a move that the coaching staff hopes will shore up some yards in the run game.

Olorunfunmi was mum on the decision when he met with reporters on Wednesday. "Right now, we don’t really have any idea about that," Olorunfunmi said. "Whoever gets called, you know, we’re all prepared."

Mora said that anytime there are going to be changes in playing time or number of carries, or when a starter is being replaced (though Mora doesn’t believe in starters, just like he doesn’t believe in depth charts or a pro-style offense), those players have to understand why the decision is being made.

"They might not like it, but you have to be honest with them. You have to let them know, this is why we’re doing this," Mora said on Wednesday. "I think if you do that, then once again, they embrace it a little bit more quickly."

Now, about those 100 yards left on the field...

"It was just pretty much our eyes, you know, just kind of knowing safety fits, and knowing linebacker fits, and knowing how they play and everything," Olorunfunmi said. "It’s just things that we got to, you know, continue to get better on day by day, and game by game."

Spying Brandon Dawkins

Against BYU, the Bruin defense shut down running QB Taysom Hill from getting yards on the ground, largely because of the spy-job done by linebacker Jayon Brown. Brown told reporters Wednesday that he liked being in that role against a dual-threat QB.

"Just having that position gives our D-line the freedom to work their pass rush, and just know that I have their back," Brown said.

Does he anticipate spying Dawkins on Saturday night?

"Possibly," Brown said, coyly. "Depending on what he calls, so, hopefully."

"Two Plays Away from 4-0, Top Five in the Country"

Despite heartbreaking losses to top ten teams Texas A&M and Stanford and a 2-2 start to the season, QB Josh Rosen said that the team can still achieve all of its goals.

"We're pretty much two plays away from 4-0, top five team in the country," Rosen said. "We just gotta take each week as it comes and just win out for the rest of the season."

Rosen is hoping for a rematch with the Cardinal in the Pac-12 championship game.


Unlike last year's team which was decimated by injuries, especially on the defense, the 2016 squad has been profoundly lucky. Eli Ankou left the Stanford game with an elbow injury, but is working back and Mora hopes he'll be available Saturday night against Arizona.

Check out more from Jim Mora, Josh Rosen, Jayon Brown, and Bolu Olorunfunmi below. Videos are courtesy of Thuc Nhi Nguyen of the LA Daily News.

HC Jim Mora:

QB Josh Rosen:

LB Jayon Brown:

RB Bolu Olorunfunmi: