While Myles Jack stole the show, the linebacker’s running back emergence came about in large part because UCLA’s top back was sidelined with a lingering ankle injury. Come this weekend, however, that should no longer be the case.
Following Wednesday’s practice, head coach Jim Mora declared Jordon James “fine,” presumably meaning the running back will take the field in Saturday’s game against Washington.
James missed three straight games after suffering a high-ankle sprain in an Oct. 3 win over Utah. He returned for the win over Colorado last Saturday, but rushed for just eight yards on six carries. He subsequently sat out the Arizona game this past weekend as well.
The first three games of the season, prior to the injury, he averaged over 140 yards per game. Despite essentially missing an entire month of the season, James’ 471 yards leads all Bruin backs.
While James is returning to health, another pair of tailbacks are dealing with their own injury issues. Steve Menfro has already been ruled out of the UW game and Damien Thigpen is a game-time decision, both situations courtesy of ankle injuries. Those two have combined for 131 yards and tow touchdowns on 35 carries this season.
As for a repeat performance from Jack — the Pac-12’s Offensive Player of the Week — in the backfield, especially given the dings their depth at the position has taken? “He’s a linebacker,” Mora flatly stated.
Well see about that.