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UCLA FOOTBALL FYI

UCLA probably will have Jordon James back against Arizona State

The running back has been recovering from an ankle injury but could be ready to play Saturday.

November 21, 2013|By Chris Foster

UCLA probably will have running back Jordon James available for Saturday's game against Arizona State at the Rose Bowl.

James, who was fifth in the nation in rushing when he injured an ankle in the Bruins' fourth game, made it through a full week of practice.

"Last week when he was going to his left trying to catch a screen pass, he couldn't put his right foot in the ground and burst off it," said Coach Jim Mora. "This week, I haven't seen him limp or favor it at all."

James has 481 yards rushing — 424 in the three games before he was injured against Utah on Oct. 3. He sat out three games, then reinjured the ankle against Colorado. He has not played the last two games.

"I probably made a mistake by letting him play against Colorado; that's on me," Mora said. "He wanted to play, but sometimes it's a coach's job to protect a player from himself."

Running back Malcolm Jones, who took a hit to the head Friday against Washington, has been cleared to play. Tackle Simon Goines, who is coming back from a knee injury, is also expected to play.

Receiver Devin Fuller, who leads the Bruins with 40 receptions, will be a game-time decision because of an undisclosed injury.

Jack back?

If James and Jones play, the Bruins will have three experienced running backs available. Paul Perkins is expected to start.

So where does that leave linebacker-turned-running-back Myles Jack?

Still in the backfield at times.

Jack, a starter on defense, has 179 yards rushing and has scored five touchdowns as a running back in short yardage situations the last two games.

"That package has been effective for us; it's just a matter of how much do you use him," Mora said. "Last week in the fourth quarter, he was creased. It was hard for him to play defense."

Arizona State Coach Todd Graham expects to see Jack in about 15 plays on offense.

"If he did it full time," Graham said, "he would be one of the best backs I've seen."

Jack says he has only one play in the package: either run right or run left. Whether the Bruins have added wrinkles during the past week remains to be seen.

At some point, there's also a chance Jack could be used in yet another way. Mora said during training camp that he might use Jack to return kickoffs.

What a drag

Taylor Kelly, Arizona State's quarterback, has — or, rather, had — an interesting hobby: drag racing.

Kelly would race with family members in Idaho during the summer, until Graham found out about it.

"Coach Graham retired me," Kelly said. "When he found out, he sent me a text: 'Hey how would you like me going out and sky diving?'

"That ended it."

Baby step

UCLA has moved forward in building a football training facility at Spaulding Field, where the Bruins practice. The school has hired an architect. Now about $50 million needs to be raised to complete the project.

chris.foster@latimes.com

Twitter: @cfosterlatimes

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