Wednesday Report: UCLA coach Jim Mora

Opening mark:
A broken record. It was good work today. I like their attitude. They’ve come back form a tough one on Saturday and refocused. They seem pretty good. You saw Darius Bell make an appearance out here. He’s still real sore. He’s got some swelling above his clavicle. So he’s out for this week as I mentioned yesterday. With him it’s just a matter of how quickly he can get over being sore and ready to play again. What you’ll see is an increased role for Devin Fuller. You’ll see a little bit of an increased role role for Kenny Walker. We use Steven Manfro in there some. Joe (Fauria), obviously it’ll be tougher to spell him. He’s gonna have to take more plays, but I think he loves that. I think Torian’s bounced back well. You never know until you get to a game but he seems emotionally good. He’s been out here working on technique things that gave him a problem Saturday night. These guys pose a huge challenge to us up front because they are a very good front. They do some things that challenge you. They’re veteran and they know how to move. They’re just really quick off the ball. It’s a good challenge coming off of a tough game. I think it’s good for us at this point in our development especially for this young offensive line. It gives them a chance to go out there and fight again, and hopefully it makes us a better football team. It won’t be easy, but that’s OK.

On how difficult it is to mimic what Utah nose tackle does up front:
It’s impossible. The guys’ a great one. He’s a great one. I don’t throw that term around loosely. He’s one of the best I’ve seen. I’ve seen them all. He’s something else. He wears these tiny shoulder pads. He’s mean looking. He’s quick and he’s fast and he’s aggressive and he’s nasty. He’s something special. I’m looking forward to watching him, but hopefully we do a good job against him.

On whether he commands a double team:
As much as you can double team him. Every play you’re just not capable cuz of scheme, but as often as you can get a double on that guy you do it. The problem is No. 91 he’s darn good too. They’re gonna pull doubles off of the nose sometimes because you have to get a double on the end. What we have to do is this, we gotta go into this game with confidence. We can’t go in this game intimidated. We have to go in there believing we can win with our technique. We have to understand there’s going to be some tough downs and they’re going to make some plays on us. When they make some play son us we we have to have the resiliency to just keep coming back, and have pops of our own. Then we have to be able to capitalize and get a drive going and not turn the ball over like the other night.

On how interchangeable the receivers are:
Oh goodness. They’re all over the place. When I look at them sometimes you’ll see … like Steven Manfro for instance. You see him in the backfield, you see him in the slot, sometimes you see him out wide. Same thing with Shaq. Shaq will be out at X, he’d be at Z, at the Y position sometimes at the F position. We can move them around a lot. The thing you have to be careful with is the young guys who haven’t played a lot. A guy like Jordan Payton. If you try to move him around too much and make them learn too many things you hurt his ability to be good at any one thing. But as he gets going he’ll be able to do that. We just have to be careful. As a coach you always see all these possibilities out there, things a guy can do, but you have to be careful especially when they’re young.

On what he misses in Darius Bell:
He’s mature. He’s got a mature personality. He’s a real calm guy. So when everything is breaking loose in there he keeps it calm. He’s a good blocker. The guys really like him. He has an engaging personality. A lot of guys kind of flock to him. And then he does some good things on special teams. So, we’re going to miss him but just like when Devin Lucien went down and Jerry Johnson went down and Jordan Payton stepped up. Someone else ahs to go in and play and do a good job for us. It’s a great opportunity for someone else, but we’ll definitely miss him. It’s amazing how well he’s adapted to that position being a quarterback. He looks very natural. I love good blockers. I think good blockers show toughness. I like the way our receivers block. I get fired up in our blitz drills when Damien Thigpen steps up in there and tries to block Anthony Barr or Jordan James does it or Johnathan Franklin, to me that shows the toughness of the team.

On the importance of the defensive backs to bounce back:
Big time. Big time. We’ve gotta help them as a defense. We have to continue to get pressure. We have to do a good job in our underneath drops, we have to help them in good calls at the right situation, but they have to make plays. I think they’ll respond, I do. What I’d like to see is a higher level of consistency in the play. Not so up and down. That’s a group that with three seniors should be able to play with a level of consistency that’s higher than has maybe been shown at this point. That’s what we’re asking them to do.

On them having short memory:
I think some things linger no matter what. But you have to have what I call athletic arrogance. I don’t mean an arrogant person, but believe that you can’t be beat. I like it when a DB gets beat and they look at their shoes like their shoes let them down, or look at their hands like, ‘Who are you guys.’ The great ones do that. Now, internally they’re saying, ‘Hey man, I’ve gotta get a foot on the ground. I have to plant.’ Even if a guy beats them it’s like, ‘I can’t believe he beat me. He’ll never beat me again. Let’s go again’ like that mentality in a defensive back. I’m not talking about an outward arrogance but an internal believe in their athletic ability. You always try to devlelop with these guys, and at this age they’re still developing. We’re trying to help them get that, but in order to get that you have to have success.

On considering adjustments, personnel or schemes wise:
We always do. Whether we’re playing really well or struggling we’re always trying to create competition and get the best mix of players on the field to give us success. The last couple of weeks we’ve been getting Fabian Moreau and Marcus Rios a little bit more time at corner. That’s to create competition. Also, they need repititions. Next year these two guys (Price, Hester) will be gone and if we have the opportunity to get them in there we will.

On the challenge associated with bringing a freshman in a position like that:
Short term memory. Lack of experience. Not having seen something. As much as you prepare each week for a game you’re going to get unscouted looks. Everyone is going to game plan and there’s going to be things you haven’t seen on film that happen in a game. Having the background and knowledge, the experience to be able to adjust quickly and make the right decision to make the right play. Tha’ts always a challenge when you play a young guy. You see that on the offensive line right now. Every week they’re getting better. Every week they’re seeing more. Every week they’re creating a back log of information that they can draw upon in a game. But also every week they’re seeing new things they haven’t seen before. It’s challenging to them. It’s a good thing for their overall development. It’s just a tough thing when it’s happening. It’s the same thing with young corners, it really is.

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