UCLA Offensive Coordinator Sees All Five Running Backs Contributing

Aug. 16 -- UCLA offensive coordinator Kennedy Polamalu spoke following Day 2 in San Bernardino, commenting on Josh Rosen's progress, the running backs and more...

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On his first time as a playcaller:

It's a team.  We put it together as a staff.  What we're trying to do is find a rhythm and matchups. Hopefully we'll get them and get some explosives.  Other than that, it's our execution, our system, I feel pretty good with the operation.

On if he'll script plays:

We'll have a certain number just to see if what we saw on film is the same.  If it's not, we have the answers to counter.  Most teams are going to practice on what they see. And they haven't seen anything from this offense yet.  It could go anywhere from 10-15, depending on the defensive fronts.  See if they even change personnel.

On his biggest offensive influences:

Everyone that I've come in contact with, from players, I had Norv Turner, Coach Robinson in running the ball at every level, to one of the great coordinators here in Homer Smith.  We've had Terry Robiske, who's been in the NFL for a long time, Mike Shula, a good friend, who's doing it in Carolina to Dirk Koetter in Tampa Bay, Norm Chow, Ted Tollner, a lot of systems and simple language to get your players to play. Let them play and have fun and get some explosive plays out of it and what we're calling.  

On if his offense will be a blend:

Yes.  And we've done some great things in the past, the past three years with Noel Mazzone. Those are really good things and we're still doing a lot of good things here.  It's a blend but it's everyone. You have to look at your personnel. We have our big offensive line and a pretty special kid (Josh Rosen) calling the plays.

On Rosen's role in the play calling:

He is. He's a bright young man and he knows how to get us out and run a proper play. He's pretty bright in understanding that.  Coach puts us in a lot of situations with down and distance.  Learning here is your outlet, but if you can't get it out, change your protection, change the run direction.  If our guys can't get the technique or angle.  He's vocalizing and using his command.  And he has more concepts than he's had in a long time.

On Mike Fafaual:

Mike is bright and knows how to get rid of the ball. The more we rep and repetition we have in the system, the more comfortable they are and we can call a concept. It might have different personnel. And they're getting there.

On Ish Adams in the offense:

We're expanding it and I want him to see it. We're finding ways to get our playmakers the ball.

On Nate Iese in the offense:

It's a big part of our offense.  We have a lot of our route combinations, you have to win at the point and blocking. If we run away from them, he has to cut off. Usually those d-ends are pretty good players, who he goes against. If we can keep their linebackers on the field, with him, we have a pretty good athletic kid there. Coach Scherer and that group have picked it up. And it's a good package having a tight end available. In that scripting, you see if they'll go in the nickel pack.  Or they'll have their base pack.  Now it's going to be interesting. 

On how much new stuff he's teaching and implementing:

We've pretty much had our menus in, now like most teams, we put a little window dressing in.  It's the same to our quarterback.

On flexibility in the offense:

I think it's very important for the development of a young man like himself, that he has to see the big picture.  Not just, half the field is open.  But he sees the coverage, hey we're painting a picture with this matchup.  Now he sees that matchup and where he places it.  Where he places the ball in every coverage. 

On how much of the offense had Rosen in mind:

A lot. At the next level, you have to be able to call plays and change plays.  But also be able to run the football at the next level, to help him, we can't just let him drop back so people can get to him.

On if audibles are his call:

We've compacted it for him, not to get out, this is what he can get to. The other thing Coach Mora and Coach Marques Tuiasosopo, we have to keep him on the clock.  If he doesn't, you have to live with where your hot is.  Otherwise we get a delay. He's learning to get everyone together.  It's fun, in two minutes, we haven't had that because we've been in no huddle.  And if there is a timeout or clock stoppage, he'll look to the sideline and we'll give him a play.

On the running back competition:

Really good. You have three vet guys who have been in the stadiums and in the huddle. Then the two young freshman, Brandon Stephens and Jalen Starks, have done a nice job.  Really good IQ, all five, all over 200 pounds. They're going to put some physical behind their running ability. They're going to give us that edge in gaining yards.  Then we can play action and run the ball.

On if all will play:

I would like that, but you never know. Are they capable? Yes.

On how it will shake out:

I always go by feel and experience. I would like to have one, but the others know they'll play. I know the ball is not heavy, but it is a lot of responsibility and you have to jave a lot of stamina to carry it.

On if one has separated himself:

No, they're all pretty equal.  It's a process.  We're keeping it consistent.

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