Mora on Wednesday

Jim Mora talks about how Angus McClure performed in his first year as defensive line coach, and how UCLA will replace Johnathan Franklin at running back next year...

Jim Mora talks on Wednesday:


JM: I don't really have anything to add. Kind of worn you guys out all year.

Q: you ever see a punter that works as hard as Jeff Locke?

JM: yes, I have and they're all in the NFL which I think bodes well for Jeff Locke and his future. He's a unique guy. Reminds me a lot of Morten Andersen and just his work ethic. I don't know if Morten will get into the Hall [of Fame] because they're a little reluctant to put kickers and punters into the Hall of Fame. But he's certainly one of the best ever. And Jeff's got all of those qualities. He works out on the field and off the field. He's a great mentor to these guys. He's been fun to be around this last year.

Q: can you talk about the job Angus [McClure, Defensive Line/Recruiting Coordinator] has done this year? This is his first year kind of coaching the defensive line…

JM: I think he did a really great job. I think the first thing he did was connect well with the players and gain their trust. Certainly, when you're shifting positions from offensive line to defensive line, there might be a little apprehension initially, but Angus is a really good football coach. And he understands the line play from both sides of it. So I think, besides just being a really good technician, he was able to give them a perspective that's unique given the fact that he's coached offensive line. But I've always thought that good coaches are good coaches. And no matter where you put them, they're going to work hard to learn the techniques that are going to make their players successful at that position.

Q: Coach, what's your emphasis right now to get them ready for this bowl game?

JM: well, just practicing. Today [12-19-12, Wednesday] was like a typical "Thursday practice" for us. Just trying to stay focus. Keep the sense of urgency up. We still have a long ways out until we play the game so you just have to work hard to keep them focused.

Q: with Johnathan [Franklin], is it impossible to expect that you guys will replace him with just "one guy"? Will it be running back by committee when he's not here any more?

JM: well, we've kind of done it by committee any way. But to replace his production is going to certainly be difficult. He's unique. We know what he is: he's the single season rushing leader and a career rushing leader at UCLA. So it's not like someone can just step in and do that again. But we have some guys here that are really good players. And we'll rotate them through and find the best spots for each of them. Johnathan is one of a kind. With just like Jeff Locke, same thing. I feel lucky to have the chance to coach him for a year.

Q: with Devin Fuller, are you pleased with what he's been doing at wide receiver? I know he's talked about maybe giving it another go at some point at quarterback.

JM: he's our starting slot [receiver] right now. So we're very pleased with him. Very pleased. I think he had 7 catches in our last game, and every day he comes out and gets a little bit better. He's got all the physical tools that you need to play that position. And I think because he played quarterback, he has somewhat of a unique perspective in understanding coverage concepts, and I think that helps him as a receiver.

Okay? Thanks.

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