Mora's Holiday Bowl Teleconference

Jim Mora talks about the benefits of an extra game, the match up against the Baylor Bears, and how the team is doing getting through the mourning process...

Q: What do you think of the match up?

A: I haven't given it much thought, quite frankly. I just heard about it a little bit ago. Been pretty busy preparing for this banquet but I'm sure it'll be an exciting game to play in and an exciting game to watch.

Q: What do you know about Baylor?

A: I know that RGIII went there, because my son told me that. That was my son's favorite player in college football last year and that's one of the reasons he wears a Redskins jersey around. I know Mike Singletary went there too.

Q: Getting that chance to go out there again, what does that mean for this team coming off that tough game the other night?

A: You know, I just ran into a number of the seniors going into the banquet—they're all kind of filtering in right now—and I was interested to see what their mood would be, you know, coming off the tough loss and the disappointment of not making it to the Rose Bowl. But to  a man, they were all excited about getting to play one more time and to play in the Holiday Bowl. I just think they like to play. They like to play together, to compete together, and that was the sense that I got. That they're excited.

Q: Do you like the idea of staying in Southern California for this bowl game?

A: I love the idea of staying in Southern California for this game. I'm excited about it. I think it'll give our fans a chance to come down and watch us play one more time. It's just a quick drive down there. It's a great stadium. It's where I started my coaching career. It's called Qualcomm now, but it used to be called Jack Murphy Stadium. I think it'll give us more exposure. I'm really excited about it.

Q: You get 15 days of practice, do you not?

A: We do. Correct.

Q: That's something that would also come in handy down the road, I would think.

A: It will. I addressed this a little bit with somebody after the game, but you know my mindset. It's hard for me to look too far down the road, but certainly with the extra practices, it's almost like an additional spring. Now, we won't go at the pace we went in the spring, at least in the early part of our practice schedules. What we'll probably do this week is just get a few days in of skills and drills work which will count towards our practices, and then after finals, in that last one and a half to two weeks, just hit it hard in preparation for Baylor and just getting our team ready to go.

Q: Did you guys want Alamo over the Holiday, or was there any thought to push for it?

A: No, like you said, the only thing we can control is going out on the field, doing our best, and trying to win. After that, it's out of our hands. Once we didn't win that game and go to the Rose Bowl, that was the only thing we could have controlled, so after that, it was whatever decisions were made were made, and we'd be excited no matter what we were doing just to get the chance to go and play again.

Q: Do you think your team is well prepared for a shootout?

A: Given the fact that we play against teams like Arizona and Arizona State, and I think USC opened it up pretty well. I don't want to leave anyone out. Houston, and Nebraska…I mean, we've been in some games like that this year. We've had a lot of experience against the style of offense that you're describing. So, I think we can win them when they're tight and I think we can win them when they're wide open. And that's one of the things that I really respect about these players. They just go out and compete regardless of the opponent and regardless of the score, and regardless of the location and regardless of the style of the opponent we are playing. They just go out and compete.

Q: You mentioned the mourning process after the loss. Does it make it easier to have this banquet and this news so soon after the loss?

A: [Sighs/Laughs] Yeah, but it doesn't help a lot. Losses like that stick around for a while. When you get that close and you work that hard, it's tough, but you have to move on. The important thing is that the players move on, and judging from their mood tonight, they're ready to move on. That's the important thing.

Q: I guess it's another one of those benchmark "why life is different in college football" kind of things for you. In the pros, if you lost a playoff game you'd be done right now.

A: I know. I had to adjust my thinking. After that game, and what we were playing for, and we lost, for a long, long time there it felt like the end. And then you slowly come to realize that there's another game that you get to play, and you get jacked up again. You love to compete, and I love coaching these guys, so it gives me 15 more practices to be around this team.

Q: You've got 25 days before the game and 15 practices. Have you thought about a schedule yet?

A: I have, but very preliminarily. I meet tomorrow morning with the staff, and we'll lock it in and let you know as soon as possible. Probably not much this week unless it's toward the weekend, in regards to a full on practice. And then next week is finals, so the guys will be locked into that. And then we'll get right back at it as soon as finals are over, I would assume, two weeks from yesterday. Then we'll really hit it hard.

Q: 7 AM again?

A: That's a good question. I don't know. I thought about that. I haven't decided yet. We'll probably make some adjustments to that. Unless you guys want it.

Q: I think you have about six guys on this call who would vote for "No."

A: [Laughs] What time do you guys want to go?

Q: How will playing so close to home help you as opposed to playing in Texas?

A: Well, I think that it gives our fan base a chance to more easily get to our game and more easily support us. We love to play in front of our fans so I think that's the primary thing. We don't really care where we play and who we play or things like that, but it's always awesome to play in front of our fans.

Q: Would you say the opponents are faceless and nameless?

A: Right now, they're the Baylor Bears. Later on they have to become faceless and nameless. Right now it's Baylor, and congratulations to them as well. We look forward to a good match up. 

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