Jim Mora talks after Thursday's practice:
JM: Okay, what we did today was try to simulate… kind of a mock game I guess is what you would call it. So we did a lot of situations. We did the kicking game. We finished it up with the young guys' scrimmage again. I thought it was really productive. I thought their energy was great, and I think it's the right way to end this weekend and head down to San Diego.
So the tradition there at the end is the senior carry-off. And one more new thing for me which is awesome. Just shows how much these guys care about each other and respect the work that the older guys have done here on this field for the last 4 or 5 years. Just another great thing about college football.
We're excited to get down to San Diego. Guess we're a week away. So it's going to be fun.
Q: how much have the seniors meant to you for the season?
JM: More than I would have ever imagined. Given the fact that I've been with them really for less than a year. You just get really close to these guys, and they're just a great group of kids. I think a lot of them have tremendous futures. Some in football. I think all of them have tremendous futures. Some of them not in football. This has been great for me to be around these guys and just their pure passion for the game. And then the way they responded to everything we've asked them to do without any questions asked. Every day, they just come out and work their tails off and go about their business in the right way. And it's been maybe overstated but it's been inspiring to me to be around them.
Q: how much did you rely on them? Being that it's your first year, not knowing a lot of the guys before you got here.
JM: quite a bit. I spent time talking to a lot of those guys. I spent a lot of time with Jeff [Locke] and with Jet [Johnathan Franklin] and with DA [David Allen] and Damien [Holmes] and [Andrew] Abbott and I could just name them all. There's really 19 of them. I relied on them a lot. I had a lot of questions for them. About how they've done things. What needed to change. What didn't need to change. They've proven themselves to be trustworthy guys so when they give me advice, which I'm not afraid to take, it's something that I can put stock in.
Q: was that your idea?
JM: no, they've been doing that. I think they've been doing that for years. That's what they told me. That's what I was told. So that's a good tradition right there. Those are the kind of traditions you like.
Q: you're a week away from game day. Is it time to ratchet up the intensity a little bit?
JM: yeah, we'll go down there tomorrow [12-21-12, Friday], but we won't practice. We'll take the bus down there tomorrow. And then Saturday morning we'll start really getting into game week, but it's still… Saturday's like a Monday for us in terms of our typical game week preparation so it's really a bonus day. So we won't do a whole lot on Monday. Really just kind of run around and get used to the environment. And [Sunday] will be like a Tuesday and that's when we'll really hit hard. You're going into an unfamiliar environment. There'll be a lot of distractions. Good distractions, you know, positive things that we get to do. Bowl events. But at the same time, we have to find a way when we're in meetings, when we're on the practice field, to narrow our focus. And I just have confidence that these guys can do that.
Q: it's been 3 weeks now since you guys have played. Is it tough with the switch and to get back into competitive mode?
JM: well, that's why we did what we did today. It was pretty physical. It wasn't "live" for the most part. There were some live periods in there, but I thought it was important that one week out, that we get into game-like situations as much as we could. So that was the plan today which was to do that. And I think it helped us. I would not have wanted to go down to San Diego without having to a day like we had today know.
Q: and that's the last time you're going to be in game-like situations before the game or…
JM: no, I mean we create game-like situations in practice, but today was more scrimmage-like conditions. So that's what I'm talking about.
Q: so does the excitement around the team feel a little more palpable now that you're actually about to go down to San Diego?
JM: yeah, today was the most energy that they've had really since those 2 Saturdays when we had the kind of the scrimmage situations. I think it'll really hit them tomorrow when we get down there, and they're getting into the hotel, and there's a little reception with the mariachi band and the welcome dinner and things like that. I think at that point in time they'll really feel like, "okay, we're at a bowl." It's a great place to go. San Diego is not a place to "have to" spend a few days so we're excited about it.
Q: is there really a mariachi band?
JM: there will be a mariachi band, yes. When we get there.
Q: win or lose next week, what do you take away from the season?
JM: I don't know. I haven't thought that far down the line. For me, it's about winning next Thursday, and then after that, we'll evaluate the season. I mean, you evaluate it on a daily basis, but sitting back and looking at the long-term? I'm a short-term guy. I want a win on Thursday. And then we'll sit back and see.
Okay? Thanks everybody. Appreciate it.
VIDEO: Mora on Thursday
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