Jim Mora not emphasizing ‘payback’ against Stanford

— Many Bruins still have last year’s back-to-back Stanford games fresh in their minds: UCLA’s 35-17 loss at home followed by a 27-24 heartbreaker in the Pac-12 Championship. Head coach Jim Mora is trying to make sure it doesn’t become their primary focus this weekend.

“I hope that — I think somewhere deep down in their psyche is payback, payback, payback,” he said. “But if you make that your main motivation, I think you make a mistake. You have to focus on this game, this year, and what it’s going to take to win this game, this year.”

His role as a coach will be to talk to the team the right way in order to instill calm heading into the weekend.

“You don’t necessarily whip them into a frenzy on a Tuesday,” Mora said. “You let it slowly build so you create the right mindset going into a game.”

— Defensive end Ellis McCarthy is expected to play at Stanford after sitting out last Saturday with a head injury. Continue reading

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Jim Mora: DE Ellis McCarthy doubtful for Saturday

— According to UCLA head coach Jim Mora, nothing about Cal quarterback Jared Goff’s film makes him look like a true freshman.

“His poise for his age and his experience (stand out),” Mora said. “His ability to get the ball out of his hand quickly and throw accurately. His decision-making. I think he’s a really good football player.”

— Defensive end Ellis McCarthy returned to practice after suffering a head injury against Utah last Thursday. He did light work on the sideline and is still doubtful to play Saturday. Continue reading

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Notes: Ellis McCarthy injured, Brandon Willis playing OL

— Ellis McCarthy missed both Monday and Tuesday’s practices with a head injury. Mora said the starting left end is improving, but not yet asymptomatic. If he isn’t cleared by Saturday’s game, freshman Kylie Fitts will see increased snaps.

Running back Jordon James (ankle) is still doubtful to play against Cal. Considering how capable Paul Perkins is as well as the depth the Bruins have at tailback, I’d be very surprised if James gets any carries.

— Buried on the depth chart, junior defensive lineman Brandon Willis asked coaches for a chance to play on the other side of the trenches. He started taking some snaps at guard today, and could be used there in late-game situations or in an emergency.

“It was his idea to go over there and give it a shot,” Mora said. “He could be a two-way player for us. … He’s our Ironman.”

“The kid wants to help the team. Because really, who wants to be an offensive lineman?,” Mora joked. Continue reading

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Notes and quotes: UCLA 58, Nevada 20

– UCLA’s 647 yards of offense against Nevada Saturday was the ninth-highest total in program history. It was the most by the Bruins since last season’s 36-30 win over Nebraska.

— Quarterback Brett Hundley missed on a few deep throws, but was otherwise excellent in his first game as a team captain. He opened scoring with 37-yard run, a zone read that echoed his collegiate debut. He had two rushing touchdowns in a game for the third time in his career (also at Colorado, vs. USC last season). His 274 passing yards also came with a pair of touchdowns.

— The UCLA defense struggled to contain Wolf Pack quarterback Cody Fajardo early on, something head coach Jim Mora attributed in part to “first-game jitters.” The Orange County native had 77 of his 106 rushing yards in the first half, and finished with two touchdowns.

“We have to fix that,” Mora said. “I don’t want to put it on the players, necessarily, jumping out of gaps. We have to do a better job coaching it. We have to look hard as a staff.” Continue reading

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