Tuesday Report: UCLA coach Jim Mora on a physical practice and challenges for the O-Line against Utah.

Opening remark:
Just a good start to the practice week. I thought they came back today focused and ready to go. We just have to put a few more of those together and we’ll be ready to go Saturday. We’re excited to be back at home. It’s our first game with the full student body in session. That should be exciting for our kids and exciting for our fans.

On tackling more at practice:
No, not really. We really just emphasize swarming the football. We kinda changed the way we practiced a little bit in terms of reps. Just trying to get an emphasis on swarming the football defensively. It was a little more physical today but it wasn’t by design. I think it showed they’re serious and focus about rebounding from a loss.

On whether the offensive line needs simplifying:
More than simplifying the scheme it’s playing with great technique. Not getting yourself in a bad position because you use poor footwork or your hand placement isn’t good or your communication is off. Giving yourself a chance by using good technique. Just executing as we want.

On the challenge of playing a veteran defensive line:
You emphasize the fundamentals. You try not to make it too big for them. I think sometimes you can over coach in terms of emphasis on the other guy rather than emphasis on yourself. I think Adrian (Klemm) does a really good job of bringing it our fundamentals, our technique, our calls, playing the way we’re supposed to play, and not making it so much about them. I mean, they are really, really good. Like I said yesterday you watch their nose tackle play and you think you’re watching a five-year NFL veteran. That’s how good he is. We can’t worry about that. We have to take care of what we do and do it as best you can. i think that’s the way you have the best chance to succeed.

On Jake Brendel making line calls:
He’s good. He’s improved. And it helps him to have Jeff (Baca) in there because if something isn’t exactly right and he doesn’t see it exactly right, Jeff’s right next to him. And you’d be amazed. Like, a lot of times in the secondary — because those are the two places where you have the most communication, the offensive line and the secondary, and in the secondary you can see it when you watch a game. It’s hard to see what’s going on with those five guys. But the communication in the front is amazing. It’s intricate and it’s detailed and it changes all the time when you’re playing a defensive front like theirs where they do move around a little bit. As the ball is being snapped your call can be changing. So those guys have to really be in concert. When you’re a veteran offensive line that’s easy because you work together. When you’re young, in that split second if you don’t quite get it you’re beat. But having Jeff in there helps because at least we’re a little bit quicker with the calls. It’s a real challenge. It’s what it is. It’s going to help us get better.

On finding the right mix and matches in personnel at this point in the season:
I think it depends on the position. I think positions that depend on real cohesiveness like the offensive line or the secondary is pretty difficult. Probably the offensive line is the most difficult. The other positions you can kind of plug guys and get through it. But the offensive line, it’s tough. They have to work in concert on every single play. Even in the secondary, there are four or five or six individuals doing their separate thing. But on the offensive line it’s one. So that’s tough. Other positions I think you can do it.

On whether that makes it hesitant to make a move on the offensive line:
Where there has to be a move to make. But we’re playing right now with the five guys that give us the best chance to be successful as we see it. So we’re going to stick with those guys. We’re going to keep working hard to get them better and playing as one. You see improvement. Maybe it wasn’t evident in the game on Saturday night but you see it out here. What we have to do is just get it to translate more consistently to the field on Saturday.

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