Last year the mantra from UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel was, "run the ball or die trying." The results: Taps were heard more often than the Bruins' fight song.
On Tuesday, there was a pulse.
The Bruins' offense improved in their second mini-scrimmage, with freshman Malcom Jones a big reason the running game found its legs. Jones had 43 yards in six carries, including a 23-yard run where he deked two defenders.
"He has that unusual, great ability to lean forward," offensive coordinator Norm Chow said. "Great running backs, like LenDale White, always have that great ability to be moving forward, so when they fall, they will get two or three more yards."
Jones was part of a three-man rotation, along with Derrick Coleman and Johnathan Franklin, at running back.
"I feel like I'm ready mentally," Jones said. "I feel like I'm up there at the college level, the speed and pace of the game."
Jones said the biggest lesson learned is, "You can't get the big run every single time you touch the ball. You can't be cautious, but you have to be aware of your surroundings and be ready to cover up."
The Bruins had 77 yards rushing during the red-zone scrimmage, a considerable improvement from Saturday's lost-in-the-wilderness performance during the first scrimmage.
Quarterback Richard Brehaut threw two touchdown passes. Twice the Bruins converted on third-and-long plays. Jones skittered outside for 23 yards on a third-and-20 play. Franklin made an impressive 17-yard run on a screen pass on third-and-10.
Franklin also scored on runs of three and five yards.
True, the first-team offense did go against the second-team defense at times. But moving the ball was a "confidence builder," Brehaut said.
Said Neuheisel: "We made some plays. When you're in the offensive business, you have to make some plays."
Smith back, Prince trying
Quarterback Kevin Prince tested his strained back muscle a bit more Tuesday.
Prince tossed the ball for five minutes on the sideline and ran seven plays — all runs — with the offense in 11-on-11 drills. But, Prince said, "throwing the ball is not there."
The upside was, "I'm able to run some plays, it's progressing," he said. "Before, when running, even jogging, it hurt. I can get up to full speed now."
Neuheisel was "hopeful" that Prince would get some playing time during the Bruins' scrimmage Saturday.
The news seemed better about wide receiver Josh Smith, who has been slowed by a groin injury throughout training camp. Smith went through a full practice Tuesday, including the scrimmage.
"It was like double-dutch, everything was turning faster," Smith said. "But I put the percentages on my side by being studious and paying attention while I wasn't practicing."
Tight end Cory Harkey and safety Stan McKay, who had been out with concussions, were cleared for limited workouts Tuesday. … Freshman safety Dietrich Riley had an interception and forced a fumble during the scrimmage.… Defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa sat out practice with a hip flexor.… Defensive tackle Justin Edison left the scrimmage with what was believed to be an ankle injury.… Patrick Larimore (hamstring) did some individual work and may participate in the scrimmage.… Running back Jordon James (hamstring), defensive back Alex Marcarenas (hamstring) and tight end Joseph Fauria (groin) are unlikely to play in the scrimmage.… Cornerback Marlon Pollard, a redshirt freshman, has left the team and will transfer.