Offensive Coordinator Kennedy Polamalu Talks UCLA's Rushing Struggles

Oct. 11 -- UCLA offensive coordinator Kennedy Polamalu spoke about the team's inability to run the ball this season, his confidence level in the scheme and more Tuesday ahead of the matchup against Washington State...

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On how tough it's been on him:

The expectations, you love it, you love the challenge and to go over the expectations. But we're going to keep teaching and coaching. They're trying and they're young and that's not an excuse. We're going to keep executing. You see some really good things and some things we'll improve on and the only way you can do that is repetition and repetition.

On what needs to happen:

Teaching, a different way of looking at things. Trust has to come across the board. It's ok to get the ugly three, you don't always have to make the big play. That's the thing with the running game, you want the opportunity to make the big break.  We'll keep teaching and it's close. We're working towards it and everyone is grinding. I don't want them to press. Understand, the hole isn't always going to be there. Live to fight the next battle.

On why he feels they're close:

Because there are some good things, when you see it, that we're real close, one step, one block. When you look at over the years, running the ball is not always going to be perfect. One guy makes the play, breaks a tackle, one guy blocks two guys, one guy misses a tackle, that's why I believe it's close. The guys are committed to it and have been out here working on it and I believe they're close.

On if the offense is still the right fit:

Oh yes. This offense is a system of what they've done well in the past and what we believe will carry us in the season, not just one game or one opponent, but the whole season and I believe that. The guys have bought in. The coaches put them in position and we just have to execute.

On if he's been in a season this late with running struggles:

You go through with different game plans and different personnel. You have it where you wish you had more rushing yards and it pops.

On what they teach:

Always fundamentals. What happens sometimes, you get caught up in the game plan, but its still fundamentals. You simplify the process. We always want to keep it flowing.  Always simplifying the task. That is fundamentals, all the way.

On Josh Rosen:

You have to speak with Coach (Mora) on that, but he was focused. He knows the game plan and he was out there with the guys.

On Mike Fafaul:

Very high on Mike. That's not just me, thats his teammates, the staff. Mike has done a great job, he's a veteran, he stepped in and did a decent job. We have to help him around. We're very confident in Mike getting the job done.

On Nate Starks earning the primary nod:

He brings that toughness. He's solid in pass protection. We have to help them in the run game.  We have to consistently move the chains and eliminate the negatives, the big runs will happen.

On rhythm with running backs missing games:

Good question. Rhythm is a big deal. I hope to have them all available this week.

On having a featured back:

Again, we're always looking. I want competition every day. That competition is doing everything, on the field, off the field, how you prepare for the opportunity. The young guys are still learning and we'll keep teaching.

On wanting his players to enjoy it even when losing:

It's the competitor in them. You have to enjoy it. Things aren't always going right in life, but you have to compete.  It is still here, UCLA, it's a joy, to be around your teammates. I've said it before the game and after. This is sometime in your life you'll look back and say 'wow.'

On if he's still enjoying it:

Oh yeah, I always love this. I get to coach football with some really good young men and a great staff. It's going to produce wins.

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