Paul Perkins on running back competition:
Q: here with Paul Perkins. So how does it feel to be participating in spring practice for the first time?
PP: wow. Putting the pads on. It's been great, man. One of the things I have to work on this season is definitely ball security because I can't hurt my team by putting the ball on the ground. I'm just thankful for all the guys that come out here and help me move along from redshirting to playing this year.
Q: ball security. Was that trouble for you last year on the scout team?
PP: no. I'm just making sure. I have to be positive that… can't hurt my team in any form or fashion.
Q: you know, JetSki [Johnathan Franklin] had issues with fumbling for his first three years here. Have you talked to him about that at all?
PP: I definitely will because it definitely wears on your heart. I just have to pray about it and talk to Jet about it because he's been in my same shoes.
Q: so that's… I mean, that's one thing. But where do you feel the rest of your game is? I mean, balance, your vision, that sort of thing? Do you feel you're pretty well off for a redshirt freshman coming in?
PP: yeah, I think I'm doing pretty good. I just have to work on my footwork. Some technical stuff. And then as I grow up as a running back, all that stuff will come.
Q: what kind of feedback from Coach [Steve Broussard, Running Backs] about your running style and that sort of thing?
PP: Coach Broussard. He's a great guy, man. He's always going to be honest with me which I need. I need to work on my pass-blocking skills. Because being I didn't really block too much in high school so coming in and blocking these bigger guys is definitely a challenge.
Q: so I remember watching you in fall last year and you had a pretty impressive fall and you were running really well. There were times when we were watching and we're like, we're not sure if that's Franklin or if it's Perkins. Was it disappointing at all for you to then redshirt and not play? Did you feel that you put in enough work that you could've played last year?
PP: it's all in God's plan. If he wanted me to play, I would've played. But I'm definitely glad that I did redshirt because I have a year under my belt from learning from one of the greatest running backs to ever come to UCLA.
Q: do you feel… physically, have you put on weight or done anything in the offseason?
PP: yeah, I'm 198 so I feel pretty good. I mean, I don't feel too much of a difference, but I can definitely throw my body weight around a little bit better.
Q: ready for 25 college carries a game, man?
PP: yes, sir. Yes, sir.
Q: this competition right now, I mean, you're going up against Jordon James, a guy who's going to be junior, you're going up against Malcolm Jones, a guy who's going to be a senior, where do you see yourself stacking up there? Do you think you've got a pretty good shot at getting the starting spot?
PP: these are all great running backs. I wouldn't be surprised if either one of us, any of the running backs become the starter. But whoever becomes the starter, we're going to compete regardless of who's starting, who's playing. That's what's going to make all of us great.
Q: I know Coach Mora has told us a couple of times that it's probably likely going to be running back by committee this year just given that nobody's been a starter before. Does that change your outlook at all? Does that change your mindset at all, going in thinking that's going to be the case?
PP: no. I came in here ready to compete with the mindset to just work hard. [audio difficulties]
Q: have you talked to Brett [Hundley] about playing together in the same back field?
PP: I don't talk to him. Just kidding.
Q: "you don't talk to those quarterbacks. Why would you do it?"
PP: I've definitely talked to him about it. He's given me advice on how to weigh the pressure from outside. I just lean on him for helping me with the plays and grow a lot in the offense.
Q: do you feel that you've got a pretty good handle on the playbook at this point? Do you think you're an expert in it at this point?
PP: I'm not an "expert", but I definitely have a grasp on it.
Q: gotcha. And for you, I mean, academically, I mean, this whole year… this whole year, this freshman year is kind of getting acclimated to all the academics. How do you feel you did your first year getting a handle on that stuff?
PP: oh, I did great. I was on the honor roll for the first two quarters, and I'm looking to do it again this quarter.
Q: is that a big goal for you in your family?
PP: oh yeah, it has to. Can't bring home no dummies.
VIDEO: Perkins on Competition
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