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Bruins trying to beef up running game

Derrick Coleman and Johnathan Franklin look good running the ‘pistol' offense during scrimmage.

April 20, 2010|By Chris Foster

UCLA guard Jeff Baca looked up and saw tailback Derrick Coleman's backside 20 yards down the field during a live scrimmage during Tuesday's practice.

"That was awesome," Baca said. "You make a block, look up and see your tailback in front of you, then one guy misses him, and he's gone. That's encouraging."

Coleman's 39-yard touchdown run is why the Bruins have made the change to the "pistol" offense this spring. UCLA averaged a woeful 3.5 yards a carry a year ago, underscoring the need for a consistent running game.

Coleman broke two long runs, with a 45-yard burst to go with his touchdown. Johnathan Franklin also shot through the line for a 30-yard gain.

"This offense is more vertical," Coleman said. "Last year we ran some outside stuff, where you used your feet a little bit. This offense the running game is going north."

Whether it continues that way, or heads south this fall, remains to be seen, as is the question of who will get the bulk of the carries.

Coleman and Franklin have been getting the majority of the work with the first-team offense and both offer unique skills.

Franklin has the speed, which he showed with his burst through the line on his long run Tuesday. Coleman, who is 231 pounds, has a power style that seems well suited for the "pistol."

Asked what made Coleman effective, Coach Rick Neuheisel said: "The downhill motion, the heaviness, and the ability to move piles. If you got some girth to you, like he does, you can move that pile and gain some positive yards."

Bruins coaches will wait until August before deciding on the three running backs who will get the majority of playing time. They are eager to see recruits Malcolm Jones and Jordon James.

"We have a wealth of riches, yet we're not sure who's the best," Neuheisel said.

Security breach?

A newspaper photographer wearing a yellow poncho with "Fight On" in red letters on the back, worked UCLA's practice Tuesday.

Long snapper Christian Yount, spotting it, shook his head and said, "That's just wrong."

Quick hits

Wide receiver Nelson Rosario, who hyper-extended his left knee Monday, was held out of nearly every drill. … Darian Cooper, a 6-foot-3, 275-pound defensive tackle from Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha High, visited practice. He has been offered scholarships by UCLA, Michigan, Penn State, Illinois and Maryland.

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