Monday Report: UCLA Coach Jim Mora on Colorado, the student section and practice schedule change.


Hat tip: BruinSportsReport publisher Edward Lewis

Opening remarks:
We evaluated the game and the way we can improve. Our intention is to apply those moving forward and get on to Colorado. We’ll have meetings with our players this afternoong to start presenting to them a scouting report and game plan formation for them.

On Colorado’s win:
It’s a great come-from-behind win against a Pac-12 opponent. I think that boosts your spirits. They had a couple tough losses now they get to come home after a win. That’ll help them emotionally.

On Colorado struggling before the win:
We really try to stay away from looking at a team’s record. We try to stay away from a team’s emotional state. That takes the focus on what we need to do which is prepare as best we can. I’m sure there’s alwayas a little bit of that but we do the best we can to keep our focus, to win a football game each week.

On any anger after losing and whether it can be good:
I think that it can motivate you if it’s channeled in the right direction. I think it can absolutely do that. What’s important is you learn the lessons of why it happened on Saturday. What happened to affect the outcome of the game and the way it came out. You apply those lessons and move forward. The motivation has to be more internal than external. If you become a team that’s motivated by what happened the week before you can find inconsistencies.

On the challenge of playing on the road in almost a month:
It’s always a bit of a challenge going on the road. It’ll be a little bit of a hostile environment. Colorado is not an easy place to play. I’ve been in that stadium since I was a kid. My dad coached there so I remember running around that stadium. But maintaining the focus. When you go into an unfamiliar environment it’s always a challenge. I think our team has a level of maturity and I think we’ll handle it the right way.

On the new practice schedule:
We gave it a lot of thought in the offseason in terms of the best approach to practicing during the week. These kids have a lot of things they have to balance. Certainly school is a priority and classes start for them on Thursday. You know, football study, their tutoring and all those things, and having some time to just download a little bit. So we figured the best way to approach it this year was to practice in the morning, get them up and get them going early when we really got their full attention. Then they can attend their classes during the day. Then we’ll get them at the end of the day for another hour and watch practice film. So we kind of ensure that we get them on campus, get them to practice, get them to class. I think they’ll be motivated to go to bed at an early hour because they have to get up at an early hour. It’s a little bit of an adjustment for us. They don’t have class until Thursday so we felt this was the perfect week to get them adjusted.

On injuries:
Jeff Baca, we’ll find out today or tomorrow for the status of the week. But things look very positive for him, but it’s not difinitive. Steven Manfro will practice.

On reaction after a defeat:
The defeat bothered them because they worked very hard. It’s important for them. When we met them this morning they were very focused. Not in the tank, not down. When we come back at 4:30 I expect them to have a little energy about them and then we’re on to Colorado. I think they’ll respond very, very well. That’s just my gut feeling. I’m excited to see how they’ll respond.

On the home crowd’s energy:
It’s great to play at home. I wish I had said this after the game, Someone asked me about the crowd. Our student section is amazing, considering we’re not even in school. I looked over there in the fourth quarter. When you’re walking down the sidelines to the north you can’t help but notice our student section right there and they were going crazy. It was awesome.

On what stood out about Colorado’s win:
What stood out was their spirit. The way they fought back on the road. It’s exponentially more difficult to fight back on the road they way they were down and get a win. That was really impressive to me. It says a lot about the character of the kids and their coaching staff.

More specifically?
I kind of just watched to get a general feel for them. They’re going to play some four-downs, some three-down on defense and get in some spread formations on offense.

On Colorado tailback Christian Powell:
He’s a back that we recruited. He was a fullback and they moved him to tailback. He runs hard. He’s hard to bring down. A good player for a freshman. This is not a back you’re going to block down. You’re gonna have to gang takckle him. He’ll break tackles. We have to improve on our tackling. It wasn’t up to par on Saturday.

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Conference Call: Jim Mora’s chat with beat writers

On the UCLA secondary:
We gave up one deep ball and we gave up one slant. We took a bad angle and they ran for a touchdown.

On getting help over the top on the slant:
We were in a defense where he was on his own out there and he’s supposed to have help in the middle of the field, and when the guy got inside him on the slant he tried to under cut it. He should have stayed on the up field shoulder and made the tackle. We’ve done a good job up to this point defending the deep ball and they got one in on us.

On what they saw that kept the rushing game grounded:
They weren’t doing anything special. Remember how we talked last week and Houston was bringing extra guys and penetrating. They were not doing that. They were playing us pretty much straight up in terms of not stunning and blitzing. They were playing their safeties tight. It’s almost a nine man front. I think really the bottom line is we struggled to move people off the line of scrimmage in the run game. We just struggled with the point of attack and get some cut off blocks, which is very uncharacteristic of the way we’ve been able to excute our running play this year. We have to make sure we get that squared away.

On losing leverage on the line when going deep on the depth chart:
Here’s the thing about that. It’s less about depth and it’s more about having an opportunity to prpeare during the week. Unfortuantely because of circumstances this week we weren’t able to get the two guys that play that position in the game any work at all because early in the week we were getting Greg Capella work, and when he went out and Jeff was scheduled to play then Jeff had catching up to do so we had to get Jeff to work. I think that everyone on our team is capable of performing and helping us when I think it’s really difficult for the players when they don’t get any work that they get during the week and then they have to go in and play now it’s expected of them but it is difficult especially against a really good front like Oregon State. It’s not an excuse we still have to get better and but it was certainly a factor. It’s unfortunate they didn’t get the work. If this is the NFL I would be less inclined to say, ‘Hey go out to perform’ but we’re not dealing with professional athletes here.

On Jeff Baca’s condition:
I think I will have a much better idea tomorrow. And hopefully a very clear picture of what the future is for him.

On the placcards:
We haven’t talked about that. I don’t think it was a big deal. I think we can function well without them. I’ll let you know when I talk to Noel about it.

On the tempo:
The tempo was okay. The problem was is that tempo doesn’t work like the tempo should work when you’re going three and out. You’re not stringing together any eight or nine play drives. But the tempo and the rhythm was good but it just doesn’t look good when you’re not sustaining drives. We were not put it together drives. Some of that was due to the fact that Oregon State did an excellent job of slowing down the game. They were snapping the ball inside of 10 seconds and sometimes inside of five most of the game. We have to do a better job of getting off the field on third-down defensively so we can get the offense the ball. And talking with Noel (Mazzone) today I think that we have to be realistic as coaches about just how fast we can go given the fact that we have a freshman quarterback, two freshman tackles and a freshman center in making sure that they see things the right way before the ball snaps. I think sometimes you can have the tendency that — if you’re so inclined — to get away with tempo rather than execution, so if we make such a huge emphasis on tempo rather than execution we don’t give our guys a chance to diagnose the defense before the ball snaps, I think we’re making a mistake.

On Sheldon Price’s coverage:
When you’re in bump and run and you put your hands on a guy, you play it perfectly. In terms of how you’re supposed to play it at the line of scrimage, and then they take a one step drop and throw a fade, that’s one of my pet peeves that I’ve always had with the rules of football. Being that I’m kind of a defensive back minded guy is that you can call pass interference on every single play. If every time a guy was in bump and run you just took a one step fade and you put your hands on them you’re doing your job. By rule you have to call it. My problem is there’s no way to teach around it if you’re going to be a bump and run team. It happens to everyone, it happens in the NFL. If you coach defensive backs we talk about it. How can this be an enforceable rule? How can we have a bump and run as part of our game plan if every time we put our hands on a guy — if it’s a one step fade — they throw the flag. Was it called correctly? absolutely. Did Sheldon play it right? Yeah, you couldn’t coach it to be played any differently. It’s an unfortunate situation.

On third-down conversions:
When you’re struggling to throw the ball on early downs you’re going to get yourself in situations that are tough to convert. It goes back to early downs. Against Nebraska we were 9 of 20, 5 of 17 last week, 2 of 15 and against Rice 2 of 11. You always have to go back to second down and see how that effects third down.

On the 24-hour rule, win or lose:
I’m not one of those coaches where you say let’s forget about it and move on. I think you have to let it seap in. It’s going to hurt a while because you put so much effort. I don’t want it to linger. There comes a point in time of the week where you have to get past it. We say 24 hours but this week because of our schedule change it’s going to be a challenge. It’s our job to move them past it. You don’t want to do it too soon and you don’t want to wait too long. It’s tricky.

On Greg Capella’s status:
A concussion. Still being evaluated. He was not at the game. We do not have an update on him as of yet. We hope to know something by Monday or Tuesday. We really need to know something by Monday or Tuesday. We really need to know something so we can plan. Hopefully he’ll be OK. With head injuries we’re erring on the side of caution.

On what he saw in the waning seconds of the game:
What I was looking at hard yesterday was body language and effort. We fought to the end. Our guys had good body language. They believed we were going to have a chaance to get it done. Those were good things. I didn’t see guys coming in and giving up at all. I didn’t get a negative vibe on the sideline. A lot of disappointment in the locker room. Very quiet. Everyone took it very serious and I think those are all good signs for us moving forward.

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UCLA Grades: Class in session vs. Oregon State

BRUINS’ REPORT CARD
Oregon State 27, UCLA 20
UCLA RECORD: 3-1, 0-1 Pac-12

QUARTERBACK: C
Bret Hundley made a valiant effort, but has to learn that throwing the ball away can sometimes be a good thing.

RUNNING BACKS: D
Johnathan Franklin, Jordon James and Damien Thigpen combined for 40 yards on 18 carries.

WIDE RECEIVERS: D
Too many dropped balls led to a stagnant offense.

OFFENSIVE LINE: D
Struggled moving guys off the line of scrimmage.

DEFENSIVE LINE: D
Never applied pressure Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion, who had a field day against the rest of the defense.

LINEBACKERS: D
Fell behind on plays and had too many missed tackles.

SECONDARY: F
Got burned on two big plays that helped the Beavers build an early lead.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D
Struggled to give the Bruins good field position on returns.

COACHING: D
There were no adjustments, and now it’s back to the board.

OVERALL: D

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POST-GAME THREAD: UCLA’s offense sputtered and the defense fell behind as Oregon State smacked the Bruins in front of a national audience. Players react.

UCLA head coach Jim Mora
Opening statement:
“That was a tough loss, obviously, but our hats are off to Oregon State. That’s a good defensive football team and a well-coached football team and they beat us. We have lots of lessons to learn from this. We’ll see how we handle some adversity. We got knocked back a little bit, so it’ll be a great lesson for our young men to respond to this. I expect that they will respond in the proper way, and we’ll be ready to go next week.”

On UCLA’s fake field goal formation:
“We thought we might have the opportunity to get something on them. But, when they shifted, we called the timeout.

On scoring 10 first-half points:
“We have to do a better job in the first half. Last week we played well in the first half. Our emphasis is to start fast, and we were not able to get that done. We have got to examine the film and figure out how we can get better.”

On Oregon State’s run defense:
“They have a very good run defense. They are big and physical up front. Some people call it a seven-man front, but it’s a nine-man front with inverted safeties. In run support, they respond very quickly and scouted the point and won the battle at the line of scrimmage, offensively.”

On responding to a loss:
“I just feel like we have to keep our eyes forward and work hard.”

On why the team did not perform as well today:
“We were playing a really good football team, and they were having success at the line of scrimmage. In the third quarter there was a critical time there with two takeaways with no points. That gave them momentum and energy and hope. We have to do a better job.”

On committing penalties at inopportune times:
“The personal foul [called against Kenneth Walker] – I’m interested to look at the film and see why it was called. Many times officials and coaches will have differing opinions. I don’t think that discipline is an issue here.”

On running back Johnathan Franklin:
“When you are struggling to move in a conventional way, which is your bellies and dips and inside zone plays – you’re getting little movement at the point of attack. You’ve got to find alternate ways to do that. We tried to find ways to get our offense going.”

On Jeff Baca’s absence:
“Jeff is a very good football player for us. He’s a veteran. Like I’ve said, he’s a glue guy. To say that was a reason that we could not get things done was an excuse. We won’t make excuses. When he is not playing, whoever steps in for him, we just have to do a better job.”

On dropped passes:
“I didn’t count the drops in the game. So many different things go into a drop – ball placement isn’t exact, a guy runs a route differently so the timing is off. Lots of that happened today. We have to focus on the ball, catching the ball, running the right route, and protecting up front so that our quarterback can step right into it.”

On Shaquelle Evans
“Well, he made big plays when he needed to. He was blocking downfield and he continued to do that. He’s a tough player. He took a wicked hit in the back where his helmet popped off and then I think he was stepped on. He was out for a play, by rule, put his helmet back on and came in. He’s a tough kid.”

On responding to today’s loss:
“I want to see how we bounce back. We’ll come back to work focused. We’ll use the next 24 hours to get over this. There are a lot of changes this week with school starting. There are schedule changes. We are asking a lot of our young men. They’ll respond. All indications from me being around these guys is that they’ll respond. So, we’ll get back to work.”

BOX SCORE
Oregon State 27, UCLA 20

Oregon State 3 14 7 3 — 27
UCLA 0 10 0 10 — 20

SUMMARY
OSU: Terevor Romaine 22 field goal
UCLA: Ka’imi Fairbairn 22 field goal
OSU: Brandin Cooks 75 pass from Sean Mannion (Romaine kick)
OSU: Marksu Wheaton 42 pass from Mannion (Romaine kick)
UCLA: Shaq Evans 65 pass from Brett Hundley (Fairbairn kick)
OSU: Storm Woods 2 run (Romaine kick)
UCLA: Hundley 1 run (Fairbairn kick)
OSU: Romaine 17 field goal
UCLA: Fairbairn 35 field goal

Records: Oregon State 2-0, 1-0; UCLA 3-1, 0-1
Attendance: 54,636

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POST-GAME PRESSER: Oregon State coach Mike Riley

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Opening statement:
“It was a great job by our team. I just loved it. I thought it was a whole team effort and defensively again we were remarkable. That was a really good group of offensive players and a good offensive scheme and I thought we just kept playing. When something bad happened, nobody blinked and somebody else made a play. I was just so proud of them for their resiliency, for playing hard and making plays to win the game.”

On Oregon State’s attitude and confidence:
“I think it’s part of our identity. They just work hard. There are some guys that have grown up a little bit, and we’ve had a good start. That’s what I’ll say right now. There’s a good mixture of guys playing in the games, which I love too. It’s nice to see so many guys having that involvement.”

On Oregon State’s two big touchdown passes:
“They were huge. You just need to get some big chunks once in a while. It’s really hard to just chip away all the way down the field and do that all the time. So to get some big plays was huge for us today.”

On quarterback Sean Mannion:
“I thought he played with poise. I thought he made some big plays, and for a young kid he’s really, really ahead of the game.”

On being 2-0 after a tough offseason:
“It’s great. That’s why the fall for football is the spring time of the year for us in reality. We get to start fresh and we get to make our own bed. So, we’ll see how we do and we’re off to a good start.”

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Countdown to Kickoff: Oregon State vs. No. 19 UCLA

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Oregon State QB Sean Mannion (above) is not a mobile quarterback, which can potentially result in overthrown and forced passes along with bad reads when the pocket collapses. Expect the UCLA defense to apply pressure and make Mannion beat the Bruins with his arm. If UCLA can throw Mannion off his game then it could become a trickle down effect, meaning the Beavers could have difficulty finding the end zone. UCLA has plenty of weapons offensively that can overwhelm an Oregon State defense that hasn’t seen a potent offense like the Bruins’. Let’s face it, Wisconsin’s offense is not much to consider given the Badgers only scored 26 points against Northern Iowa in the season opener. That’s right, Northern Iowa. On top of that, the Badgers only scored seven points against Oregon State. That’s right, seven. Look, the Beavers clinched a solid win over a ranked Wisconsin team, no disputing that. But let’s not pretend like the Badgers didn’t have weaknesses that were exposed. If Mannion is rattled by a determined UCLA D-line led by Datone Jones, then Mannion’s inability to roll out of the pocket, which could affect how the Beavers move the ball and establish field position. UCLA’s blitz packages could be too much for Mannion to handle, especially with Jordan Zumwalt and Anthony Barr coming off the edges. Oregon State’s seasoned secondary and power up front all but shut down Wisconsin, but this is UCLA’s offense, which is just a whole different animal. The Bruins have the nation’s leading rusher in Johnathan Franklin and the most prolific freshman quarterback in Brett Hundley. On top of that, you have a stable of running backs and an offensive line that will improve with the possible return of Jeff Baca at guard. UCLA’s focus is at an all-time high, as UCLA coach Jim Mora said earlier this week. The Pac-12 opener in front of a national audience is an opportunity the Bruins are not about to relinquish, and they proved as much against nationally-ranked Nebraska. This is a tough challenge for Oregon State, which for the first time in quite some time will play back-to-back nationally ranked teams to begin the season. Oregon State has faced Top 25 teams in consecutive weeks to open the year four times previous – 1950 (4 straight weeks), 1953, 1960 and 1968. The intensity is high. This is a Pac-12 opener. Now’s the perfect time to make a statement. Let’s roll.

RELATED LINKS

UCLA ready to give Oregon State a contest L.A. Daily News

Oregon State rundown: Sneak peek at UCLA The Oregonian

Mike Riley calls Beavers ‘professional practicers’ The Oregonian

Is kicking game a concern for Oregon State? The Oregonian

Oregon State rundown: Defense can’t give up big plays vs. UCLA The Oregonian

Mike Riley says matchup with UCLA tough across the board The Oregonian

Mazzone brings balance to Bruins Eugene Register-Guard

OREGON STATE vs. NO. 19 UCLA
WHEN: 12:30 p.m., Rose Bowl
TV: ABC/ESPN2
RADIO: KTLK 1150-AM

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UCLA WINS IF …
… the offensive line can revert back to playing with efficiency like they did against Nebraska, as in opening running lanes and cutting down on penalties.

… quarterback Brett Hundley can dissect the Beavers’ seasoned secondary and the Bruins’ stable of running backs can thrive off Oregon State’s smash-mouth style.

… the defense can force turnovers and stop the Beavers’ third-down efficiency.

TOP UCLA PERFORMERS
PASSING

Brett Hundley: 69-of-103, 827 yards, 8 TD, 3 INT

RUSHING
Johnathan Franklin: 66 carries, 541 yards, 8.2 avg., 3 TD
Damien Thigpen: 21 carries, 151 yards, 7.2 avg.
Brett Hundley: 28 carries, 171 yards, 4.2 avg., 1 TD

RECEIVING
Steven Manfro: 14 catches, 164 yards, 11.7 avg., 1 TD
Joseph Fauria: 9 catches, 122 yards, 13.6 avg., 3 TD
Jordon James: 9 catches, 75 yards, 8.3 avg., 1 TD

DEFENSE
Defensive end Datone Jones (13 tackles, two sacks)
Linebacker Anthony Barr (12 tackles, three sacks)
Cornerback Sheldon Price (four interceptions)

UCLA INJURY UPDATE
Out: None
Doubtful: None
Questionable: OG Jeff Baca (undisclosed)

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OREGON STATE WINS IF …

… quarterback Sean Mannion can build on last week’s efficiency in which he completed 62 percent of his passes against Wisconsin.

… if the Beavers can establish a run attack early.

… if the secondary can rattle Brett Hundley’s rhythm.

TOP OREGON STATE PERFORMERS (vs. Wisconsin)
PASSING

Sean Mannion: 29-of-47, 276 yards, 1 TD

RUSHING
Malcolm Agnew: 11 carries, 45 yards, 4.1 avg.
Storm Woods: 9 carries, 36 yards, 4.0 avg.
Brandin Cooks: 2 carries, 13 yards, 6.5 avg.

RECEIVING
Markus Wheaton: 8 catches, 87 yards, 10.9 avg.
Brandin Cooks: 6 carries, 80 yards, 13.3 avg., 1 TD
Colby Prince: 4 catches, 42 yards, 10.5 avg.

DEFENSE
Linebacker D.J. Welch (seven tackles, two TFL)
Defensive end Dylan Wynn (six tackles, one sack)
Safety Ryan Murphy (four tackles, one interception)

OREGON STATE INJURY UPDATE
Out: None.
Doubtful: None.
Questionable: S Anthony Watkins (hip), FB Clayton York (undisclosed).

PREDICTION
UCLA 28, Oregon State 15

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Quotables: Oregon State’s Mike Riley on UCLA’s D.

“It’s a nice package with the 3-4 that really suits their athletic ability. They look very comfortable in it. They got the right athletes. There’s no doubt about it those two outside guys 11 (Anthony Barr) and 35 (Jordan Zumwalt) are gifted athletes whether they’re pass covering or blitzing. They’re very athletic. Their interior guys are powerful. So, everybody’s going to have a decent matchup.”

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My Prediction: UCLA 28, Oregon State 15. Yours?

OK, the plan is to bring back the fan’s weekly Q&A where whoever can guess each weekend’s outcome the closest gets a chance to submit 10 questions for me to ask a player of their choosing. This is a feature Jon Gold started when he was on the beat, and it’s something you all seemed to really enjoy so why not bring it back. Post your predictions and let’s see who can nail the final score. For the record:

My prediction the last three weeks:
UCLA 31, Rice 13
UCLA 38, Nebraska 32
UCLA 48, Houston 10

The actual scores:
UCLA 49, Rice 24
UCLA 36, Nebraska 30
UCLA 37, Houston 6

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