Mora's Sunday Teleconference

The head coach says Devin Lucien will be out 8 to 10 weeks, talks about Brett Hundley's issues with sliding, and discusses UCLA's blitzing strategy...

Q: When are you going to teach Brett Hundley to slide?

A: I don't want him to slide. I want him to dive. And I'll tell you why. Steve Young told me this a long time ago, when I was fortunate enough to work with him as part of the staff with the 49ers, that he felt he could get the extra yardage and protect his body and the ball better if he dove rather than slide. I don't know that you'll ever see a shot of Steve Young sliding. Same thing with Michael Vick. Those guys were always going to propel themselves forward, protecting the ball away from the defender. Protecting their body. That's what I'm trying to get Brett to do. And that's just the next step in him evolving as a quarterback. I've talked to him about running to win. Instead of running just looking for a place to slide, run with some more aggressiveness. But there's a fine line between exposing yourself to hits and trying to be careful and get some extra yards. You've just got to learn it, and he will. It's just a matter of repetition.

Q: How does it look on film at the moment? What's his progression on that at the moment?

A: Of his sliding? He got better. I think he understands exactly what we're talking about, it's just getting it into practice. Getting him to do it in games a little bit. It's not a huge concern of our right now, obviously. There's other things that we're more concerned about. It's something we would like to see him improve on, but it's not something you can really practice. You've just got to feel your way through it.

Q: If there's one guy on this team you feel you can't lose, is it Brett?

A: Well I don't want to lose anyone. We want to see him continue to develop and if he's not playing he's not going to develop. But I think there's just a real fine line between being aggressive and taking care of your body. He's just got to find that line for himself, and he's working toward that.

Q: Do you have an update on Devin Lucien?

A: Yeah, his clavicle is broken, and they're going to do surgery this week, so he's going to be out, I think , anywhere from 8 to 10 weeks potentially.

Q: How is that impacting your receiver rotation?

A: I don't know yet. I feel good about the guys we've got. Obviously we'll miss him because he's a playmaker and a developing player and it'd be great to get him more time. But I feel good about the young guys, and Jerry Rice Jr. played really well yesterday. Jordan Payton played well. I think Shaquelle Evans and Jerry Johnson are doing a good job. Logan Sweet got some time in there yesterday. So we'll be all right. We'll be OK.

Q: How about Aaron Hester?

A: He's OK. He's fine. I don't even know if he got treatment after the game. He got a little treatment today, but I don't think it's anything that'll keep him out of practice. Besides Devin, we came through the game very healthy again.

Q: This is all pretty new to you, I assume, the attrition part of college football, because in the NFL, you'd just go get another guy.

A: Well, you do if you've got the cap space. We've got our resources here, we've got our reserves. It's not something that we have the luxury of worrying about, because it is what it is. Hopefully our developing young guys can step and do a good job. It was good to see yesterday Marcus Rios going in there for Hes, and it was good to see Jordan Payton get a lot more time yesterday in rotation for Devin. It's good for our overall development as long as we can be productive and efficient to win games.

Q: You mentioned last night that you'd like to see some things accelerate with Brett and his development. What are some of those areas?

A: I don't know if there's anything specific. One thing is, like you said, knowing when to try to get the extra yards, and when to slide. Maybe keeping his eyes up field when there are people coming to rush a little bit more. I think those are things that are going to happen just through experience. I don't want anyone to lose track of the fact that he's played five games now in college football and he's done a remarkable job and he's just going to keep getting better and better with experience. There's always little things though, that you see on film. Maybe throwing the ball a little quicker here or there, or read his progression a little more thoroughly. But like I say, it's all very positive with him. All very very very positive. He's doing a tremendous job.

Q: What was the impetus for playing Ellis McCarthy on the offensive line?

A: Well, we had him in there last week in practice some, with the initial thought that he could do some short yardage and goal line. And then when we weren't sure what Jeff Baca's situation was going to be, it was "OK, let's get him some work there" because he's done it before, he looks like a guy who's got the potential to do it, and then obviously when Jeff played and we didn't get into any situations where we would need Ellis until the end, we thought, well, let's get him some snaps. Let's get him some repetitions there and see how he does, how he looks, and how he likes it. And we also got him some snaps on defense, which really isn't easy to do, to play both sides. But he got out there and did a good job. So I don't know where we go from here. We haven't talked about it yet. We haven't talked about whether we're going to give him more reps on offense or leave him on defense, but that's something we'll decide tomorrow when we start our game planning.

Q: Do you have an update on Javon Williams and Jeremy Castro?

A: I do not. I would like one. If you could find one out for me, that'd be great.

Q: You guys had twelve tackles for a loss last night. Can you talk about how important those are for keeping momentum on your side?

A: Remember last week when we were talking about getting into third and manageable on our offense to be able to convert? I think it's the same for our defense. If we can get them into third and long situations because we can create negative plays on first and second down, then it's just going to help you get off the field. So, we try to play a penetrating and attacking style of defense. That doesn't necessarily mean a blitzing style of defense, but just a penetrating attacking style. And so, when we see those kinds of numbers for tackles for loss, that's encouraging.

Q: Are you guys trying to mix up where and when you're bringing the pressure from more than you were early on in the season?

A: No we haven't changed anything at all. You know, I read your post last night, or today, this is Peter right? We actually haven't changed anything at all. We can bring either outside linebacker or either inside linebacker. We typically rush four. So one of the outside linebackers is typically our fourth rusher. It's dependent on our call, our formation. It could be dependent on hash. It could be dependent on formation strength. Or we could just call it. We could determine before our defensive call which one of those four guys we want to be the fourth rusher. It's essentially like if you're playing a 4-3 defense and you're rushing those four guys. So it's really like, when we bring one of those guys, it's not a blitz, it's not a pressure, it's just that's kind of your 4th a man. When we bring both, we consider that kind of a pressure type defense. And we do that on occasion. We'll mix it up. We really haven't changed much. It's just last night, that left tackle of theirs, 53 I think his number is, I think it was 53 or 59. Whoever their starting left tackle is, on Anthony Barr, he's a really good player. And Damien Holmes was having some success on their right side, our left side. So we just kind of played to that a little bit with our calls.

Q: Do you expect Jordan Zumwalt to practice this week?

A: I don't know yet. I'm waiting to hear tomorrow. Hopefully, I think it's just a matter of whether or not he can wear his helmet comfortably and whether his wound is healing. But I won't know until tomorrow at some point.

Q: Speaking of third down conversions, you guys were 7 of 15. Is that a number that you're happy with from last night?

A: Yeah, I'd be happier with 15 or 15, but 7 of 15 is an improvement. We're just still looking for ways to improve and stay on the field.

Q: Do you think that was just a matter of getting in more manageable third downs?

A: Yeah, that absolutely. And good execution, good protection, good play by Brett. But still, when you look at the film really critically like we do, we just left a lot out there. And you see our potential and what we're trying to do as a team. You asked me about accelerating Brett, but it's just about as a team trying to create a sense of urgency to reach our potential as quickly as we can. And then play at our potential as often as we can.


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