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By the end of last season, UCLA's top ball-carriers were a quarterback and linebacker.
UCLA featured arguably the best running back in the nation during the 2012 season in Johnathan Franklin. Obviously, replacing his 1,734 yards and 13 touchdowns via the rush would not be easy, but offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone faced additional roadblocks throughout 2013.
The Bruins lost Week 1 starting running back Jordon James to an ankle injury early in the season. Upon his return for the final two games, he averaged just 3.4 yards on 16 carries against USC and 1.8 yards on five rushes against Virginia Tech.
With since-departed Malcolm Jones also suffering a late-season injury, then-freshman linebacker Myles Jack became the Bruins' most reliable running back.
Jack told me in April he will continue to carry the ball in 2014, though not at the expense of his production at linebacker.
"Coach Mora is going to make sure my offensive role doesn't take away from my defense," he said.
Establishing a clear-cut No. 1 running back is essential—not only in that it would save Jack for his primary role, but it would also alleviate pressure on quarterback Brett Hundley.
So, who is the leading candidate?
James went for 100-plus yards in his first three games, but must regain his stride. Paul Perkins performed admirably down the stretch, but his ability as a full-time No. 1 option is uncertain. Craig Lee is another option.
Mora can provide some insight into the running game next week.