UCLA’s outspoken Myles Jack vows to tone it down against Washington

UCLA linebacker Myles Jack runs during the Bruins' victory over Memphis on Sept. 6.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Before his turn facing questions from reporters Monday, Myles Jack got some advice from a member of UCLA’s sports information staff.

It took nearly two minutes to go over the ground rules. Clearly, UCLA’s football team is playing Washington this week.

Jack has been known to be outspoken on the field, which occasionally has drawn the attention of game officials. The sophomore linebacker drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty Saturday against Arizona, for example. And Jack has a history with Washington.


Jack played at Bellevue (Wash.) High, only a boat ride away from Husky Stadium. He chose to play for UCLA, though, and seemed to rub it in a year ago when, after a scoring a touchdown as a running back, he looked at the Washington bench and licked his fingers like that was “um, um, good.”

“That was just emotion, like you saw last week,” Jack said. “It was immature, looking back on it. My emotions were running high and I felt it was appropriate.”

Jack had a huge game against Washington last season, starring at linebacker, rushing for 59 yards, and scoring four touchdowns in a 41-31 UCLA victory.

He acknowledged then he held animosity against the Huskies and said “the feeling was mutual.”

This year, he’s promising a new attitude after receiving two major penalties that contributed to Arizona’s only scoring drive Saturday.

“You’ll see my emotions tested at a high level,” Jack said. “I promise you I won’t do anything that puts seven points up on the board like I did last week. You have my word.”

Which doesn’t mean Jack will be seen but not heard during the game.

“I’m sure buttons will be pushed,” Jack said. “I may push a couple buttons myself. As far as 15-yard penalties and stuff that hurts the team, that won’t happen.”

Washington fans may not be ready to forgive.

Jack said that he hears about choosing UCLA when he goes home. There is also a group who tries to bait him via social media.

“People are always going to say stuff,” Jack said. “It’s just part of the game. You just got to take in stride. It means I’m doing something right.

“I won’t say I’ve become a target, but people are going to test me. I’m working on not saying anything. If you say something to me, I’m going to say something back. If you don’t say anything, then I’m going to be quiet the whole game.”

Mirror image

Jack and Washington’s Shaq Thompson have a lot in common. Both are linebackers who have been used as running backs.

Thompson had been playing both ways, but was a running back exclusively against Colorado last week. He finished with 174 yards rushing.

“Kudos to him,” Jack said. “I guess it’s just me and him doing that right now. He knows how it feels to go back and forth, learning two different playbooks, playing over 100 snaps.”

Thompson has scored four touchdowns on defense this season. He has 356 yards as a running back and has scored two touchdowns.

Jack has 79 yards rushing and two touchdowns this season.

“We should start our own little group, make T-shirts, profit from it when we get to the next level,” Jack said.

As for Saturday, Jack said, “Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to tackle him and he’ll get a chance to tackle me. That’ll make the game interesting.”

Same old line

Running back Paul Perkins said he was unaware he had eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing this season until he got back to UCLA’s sideline Saturday.

“One of the linemen told me,” said Perkins, who never misses an opportunity to praise the members of the UCLA’s offensive front. “They’re counting. They know my stats better than I do.”

Perkins’ season rushing total reached four digits when he gained four yards on his second carry against Arizona. By the end of the game, his total was 1,074.