Mora's Sunday Teleconference

Jim Mora talks about the celebration of the Nebraska win, how Brett Hundley's ankle is feeling, and preparing for Houston this week...

Q: Reviewing the tape, was it as good as it seemed live?

A: It's always a little different when you look at it on film, because you're able to pick up on some things you did a little bit better than expected, and maybe you pick up on some things you didn't notice that you need to improve.

Q: What falls into those categories?

A: Our pass protection was excellent, better than I thought. I felt that Brett had a lot of time back there, but when you look at it on film, the five offensive linemen and the back, which we didn't typically keep back there, did a nice job. We tackled better than it appeared, although we did miss some tackles, so we need to continue to work on that. Our effort, we've got to continually impress upon on players our standard for effort, that's all 11 every play. And then, eliminate the penalties at critical times. They're going to come back to get you if you don't take care of them, so we've just got to focus on being fundamentally sound, and get in the right position so we don't have penalties, so we don't have pre snap penalties.

Q: How important is it to reiterate to these guys that following up a victory like this is as important as getting a victory like this?

A: I think that they've heard it. They heard it yesterday after the game and they heard it today. My gut feeling is that they understand it. They were very focused today, very focused. But it's always important, I think, to validate these things.

Q: How do you validate it?

A: By winning the next one.

Q: Are you the type of guy who appreciates the recognition of getting ranked, or would you kind of rather fly under the radar?

A: It's not something I've thought about, nor will I really think about it. To me, personally, there's no significance in being ranked after two weeks. Now, for our fanbase, for our alumni, for the exposure it brings our school and our program, I think it's a good thing. It's a great thing. But for our football team, it doesn't matter.

Q: In terms of great things, putting together a season where you can get 8 or 9 wins, what will that do for the program?

A: I don't know, I'm not going to think about win total, I'm just going to think about how we can beat Houston. Every time you go out and you win a game, it confirms the things you were doing, the things you were stressing, the things you were emphasizing and working on were the right things, and you get more buy in.

Q: I was talking more about the outside, with the ability to show progress and that sort of thing.

A: I think anytime you have a win like we had last night, and it's on national TV and you have a lot of highly ranked kids in the building, it helps us. I think they felt the energy and they saw the enthusiasm. They saw the performance. Winning is always a good recruiting tool. Moving the ball for 650+ yards and having the ball for over 90 offensive plays is always a pretty good recruiting tool for offensive players. And then coming out and playing inspired defense in the second half is always a pretty good recruiting tool for defensive players.

Q: And to have that done over a long period of time, that would build wouldn't it?

A: Yeah, certainly.

Q: What have you seen that you might be able to put your finger on for the slow starts of the defense the last two weeks?

A: Quarterbacks that are damn good runners. I'm not certain you can call it a slow start. You can score points in college football. That's a really good offense. How many did they score in their first game? They're obviously capable of scoring a lot of points, and I think it's important at times to give credit where credit is due. I think there's some credit due to Nebraska's offensive line, backs, receivers, and that quarterback.

Q: How was Brett Hundley's ankle feeling this morning?

A: Good.

Q: Did he have to have any X-Rays or MRIs?

A: No.

Q: There were three swing passes to Johnathan Franklin in the second half, did you guys see something in the defense, or was that by design?

A: No, that's just a part of our play package, we throw a lot of those. It just depends upon coverage where the ball goes.

Q: Some of the defensive guys were saying that you didn't make too many adjustments in the second half, they just played better. Do you think they were trying to do too much early?

A: No, we just boiled it down in terms of our call structure. We didn't pressure, I don't believe, one time in the second half. We pressured in the first half and gave up some plays. We didn't feel in the second half it was necessary to pressure that quarterback. He wasn't having the success that he had the week before through the air. What was more important was that we play fundamentally sound, gap control defense and keep our eyes on him, and not give him escape lanes where he could make big plays with his legs. Basically, we just backed off on the pressures, and by pressures I mean more than 4 man rushes, and limited our calls to those that we really feel good about, and let our guys go out and play. They did a heck of a job with it. They just went out and played good football.

Q: Will you talk to them at all today about them now being the ranked team and possibly being hunted by the underdog this week?

A: No.

Q: How's your first NFL Sunday in 25 years that you haven't been involved with the league?

A: That's a good point, I didn't even think about that, because it is. I was involved with TV stuff the last couple of years. I don't know. I heard the Saints got beaten, because Devin Fuller is a big Redskins fan, he had his Redskins shirt on. And I haven't followed any of the other games. I'm sure when I go home tonight, my youngest son will have a game ready for me to watch. He always does.

Q: On the safety by Datone Jones, was that just a good read, a missed block?

A: Sure, they were running a scheme where they would turn the defensive end loose and then they'd run their option off of him, and that was really the same play where Taylor Martinez went for a 92 yard touchdown on. We just played it right, so Datone had the quarterback and there was no hesitation there in what he did. He just fired through, and he was not blocked by design. He just did what he was supposed to do, but boy he did it in an impressive, intense manner. It was a heck of a play. There was just no hesitation in what he saw and how he went for it. That's just a function of him understanding the scheme, being locked in, and making a really good play for us.

Q: Two freshmen in the secondary at some point in the second half when you were in your dime package with Randall Goforth and Ishmael Adams, were you nervous or comfortable with them in there?

A: I was confident in them. Ish is playing down in that nickel spot, so he's a little more protected. Randall is playing on the back end, where a mistake can be a little more threatening. They both did a nice job. Randall had his hands on some balls. Those are some balls he can catch. He's got really good hands. He played receiver in high school and we thought about playing him at receiver here. Those two guys are going to continue to get better for us. Once I saw Randall kind of get into football, really once I saw him practice for a couple of days, and spent a little time with him before the games, I knew that he was ready to go. I didn't feel like the stage was too big for him. That's why we recruited him. We felt like he could excel in an environment like last night's. We played a lot of young guys, needless to say.

Q: The penalties, is that guys being too aggressive? What's your theory on why those are adding up?

A: There are a lot of different reasons. Some of them are aggressive penalties, like Damien Thigpen's, running into the returner. That's a judgment call. You're supposed to give him a yard, and we looked at the film and it's right at a yard, so you can understand why the official called what he did. It's hard to tell him not to go and do what he did. It just goes against your basic instincts as a football player. So those you can kind of accept. But the pre snap penalties that we would sometimes get on offense, like a false start or an illegal formation, although I don't think we've had an illegal formation, those are the ones that can be frustrating because those are concentration penalties. Those are the ones that we really have to focus on. Or the illegal block in the back on the kickoff after safety, that costs you field position. You worry about those because those are judgment errors. Our kids really understand it and I really believe they'll improve. They take it seriously. They don't laugh at things like that, they don't say, "Oh well, I'll get it next time." They're very serious about it.

Q: What do you say to guys today that kind of drove the point home that this game is over?

A: We have a 24 hour rule. We enjoy it for 24 hours, and then we get on to the next one. Or if we stumble in a game, we'll think about it for 24 hours, and then we'll get on to the next one. And that's just kind of our rule of thumb. We'll see. I think they understand that, and I think that they'll regain their focus very very quickly.

Q: Did you get anybody hurt last night that you're concerned about getting back for practice?

A: No. We should get Sheldon Price and Darius Bell back for practice on Tuesday.

Q: Have you had any chance to watch anything on Houston yet?

A: I'm getting ready to, but I haven't had a chance yet.

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