Mora's Sunday Teleconference

Jim Mora tells the media bout Damien Thigpen's ACL tear, discusses his thoughts on the scenarios for the championship game, and also talks about Shaq Evans...

Q: How long did it go for you guys last night?

A: I just hung out with my family. I didn't even watch any football.

Q: You guys have done well with this expunging the last game quickly. Does this game become a little more challenging for the guys to do that? This is going to be a game that they talk about the rest of their lives…

A: Well, as long as they talk about it after the season's over, I'm OK with it. I don't want to hear about it this week. They've got until after our meetings tomorrow morning to be excited about it, and then they've got to get back to business and getting ready to play an outstanding Stanford team. And so, the reason I don't think it will be hard for them is I think they're excited about the position that their hard work and their focus has put them in. I don't think they want to waste that opportunity.

Q: Is motivation any issue, knowing that you've already secured a spot in the Pac-12 Championship game?

A: No, because I don't think that's this team's motivation, and that's to win as many games as they can, and go out and perform at a high level every Saturday and I think their motivation is to win every week. I don't think their motivation at any point this year, ever, was just to beat USC and just to win the Pac-12 South. That's not the sense that I got from being around these guys.

Q: What do you make of all the scenarios that are going to be kicked around this week about who and where you'll play?

A: I'll be completely honest with you, I have spent zero time on the scenarios. I couldn't even tell you what the possibilities are. I don't really care. I just want to beat Stanford. I want to play well. I don't know. I don't have time to worry about that right now. Plus I've been with recruits all day.

Q: How are things looking with Damien Thigpen?

A: Not real good.

Q: Anything with MRI's or anything like that yet?

A: Yeah, he tore his ACL.

Q: What do you lose with losing him?

A: Oh goodness. A big time playmaker in the run game and the pass game. You know, our top returner. That spirit and toughness that he brings. But, we've got to move on, and some one or a combination of people have to step in and pick up the slack and I'm confident that people will do that.

Q: How does that affect your running back rotation? Does that mean Jordon James picks up more carries?

A: Yeah, you know like what we did when Thiggy was out last week, which was Steven Manfro will get time at running back, so I think we're in pretty good shape there.

Q: You know coach, I know you have said that you don't pay attention to the scenarios, but going back to the NFL days, were you ever in a spot where the matchups in the playoffs were maybe more advantageous for you to lose a game toward the end of the season in terms of playoff pairings or seedings or what have you?

A: Are you serious?

Q: Yes.

A: No.

Q: I think what he's asking is, if you could either play Stanford or Oregon in that game and you could have an impact on that…

A: Are you talking about thinking about losing a game this Saturday?

Q: Well…

A: No, no, no. Come on. Jiminy Christmas. If I thought that way, I should never be in this business.

Q: Jim, can you talk about the development of Shaquelle Evans? He looked like the No. 1 receiver on Saturday. Is that kind of a role that you see him filling?

A: You know, we like him a lot, and I think he's really developed into a good player, and I think he's continuing to develop into a good player, and has a chance to be really special. I don't know that we have a No. 1 receiver. Each design of a play has a particular route progression, and the way that the quarterback reads a progression is based upon coverage. I can tell you that if there is a chance to get Shaq into a progression where he is the No. 1 read, without screwing other things up, then we'll try to do that. But we feel good about Jordan Payton, and we feel good about Jerry Johnson. We feel good, obviously, about Joe Fauria. We feel good about Devin. We feel good about Darius Bell, and he should be further along this week. We're hoping to get Devin Lucien back. We feel good about all of those guys. I've been really impressed with the way Shaq's performed this year.

Q: Has Devin been cleared for anything yet?

A: He's getting closer, Chris, but he's not cleared for full contact. We're going to get him a little contact this week, but you know, we've got to take it slow with him. He's so anxious to get out there and play. We've got to make sure that thing's completely healed before we put him out there and endanger him. And, we don't want to open him up to making that thing more severe, as much as he wants to play and as badly as he wants to be out there as much as you'll hear him say that. We have to protect him from himself a little bit. We've got to get Kenny Walker back too.

Q: How do you feel about the kick return game, with a couple new faces there?

A: We had Roosevelt Davis back there and we had Devin Fuller back there, and neither of them had had a snap all year, so we hadn't even given them work at practice. We'll give them work at practice this week and that's going to help us have a little bit more productivity.

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