VIDEO: Mora Previews Spring

Jim Mora previews spring, discussing the dismissal of Tevin McDonald, players who will be held out for the spring with injuries, and what the depth chart looks like...

Jim Mora talks spring practice:




Transcript

JM: … and I appreciate it. And we're excited to get going. Spring ball. We will have one in the books by this time next week. And we've got a lot of work to do. And a lot of decisions to make. We've got some changes that need talking… to get out of the way first. Some roster things.

Ricky Marvray [WR] and Jerry Rice [Jr., WR] have both decided… and they decided this really right after the season, that they were going to graduate, get their degree from UCLA, and use that remaining year of eligibility that they have to go play elsewhere. Maybe they can have a very productive final year of football. So we'll miss them, but we're excited about them and extremely excited that they're going to graduate from UCLA. Get their degree here. It's really important to both of them and their families. So we're wishing them the best. Constant contact with both of them. And trying to help them get situated at a place where they can have a really productive final season.

Todd Golper [LB], his plan all along was to graduate and then move on in life and start his life's work. So he treated last year as his senior season all the way around. So when you see those 3 players not on the roster, that's the reason for it.

This will be the first time that this has been announced, and it's very unfortunate, but Tevin McDonald [S] has been released from the team for a violation of team policy. And so, unfortunately, Tevin will no longer be with the UCLA football team.

We've made some position switches. Very minor ones. We're going to start out with Simon Goines playing left tackle and Torian White playing right tackle. You know, when you look at our offensive line, we have the three freshmen playing last year, Xavier Su'a-Filo was a sophomore, and then Jeff Baca was the only player that left the program. So we'll start the spring out with Alberto Cid at right guard. But just like every position on this team, we're going to encourage competition and promote competition. We think competition will bring out the best in everybody so it's really a day-to-day proposition at every position but certainly at that right guard spot. But Alberto Cid will start there.

We have some players that will be out for spring. The one that will probably surprise people the most is Owa [Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DE]. He's going to miss spring. Owa had surgery on his hip. He had, I guess what would be comparable to a rotator cuff injury that you have in your shoulder, in your hip. He had it taken care of very soon after the bowl game. His recovery is going great. He'll be ready to go for summer camp. But we're going to hold him out of spring.

The other one that might be a little bit of a surprise is Marcus Rios [CB]. I don't know if you guys remember last year during the season that Marcus missed a couple of games with a sinus infection. It reoccurred after the season. He spent a considerable amount of time in the hospital while they tried to get it under control. They did get it under control. He is doing fine. But he lost a considerable amount of weight. He wasn't able to go through our offseason conditioning program. And so, what we need to do with Marcus is slowly bring him back. Build him back physically. And it would not be prudent to put him out on the field at this time. He physically is not ready to do that. But he's making tremendous strides. He is regaining his health, but it's really unfortunate. Because he essentially lost a whole quarter of school and wasn't able to go through these offseason workouts but, you know, Marcus has a great work ethic, and he'll push through it and he'll be fine when we come back for summer.

Damien Thigpen [RB] obviously is not going to be able to go through spring, but he's recovering nicely. He's working hard. I don't know exactly when he'll be back but I don't know if it'll be the start of summer camp or at some point into summer camp, but he is making nice progress.

Colby Cyburt [OL] has still not recovered from a back injury. He had a procedure right around Christmas time. He's not able yet to practice, and he's out for spring. Willie Green [LB] is still rehabbing from the knee injury that he suffered. He's doing well. Working hard, but he's not going to be able to go through spring. Will Oliver [OT] had the shoulder surgery late in the season last year. Was out for the bowl. He's not quite ready to go yet as well. And then Lacy Westbrook [OL] has not yet been cleared to participate so that's 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7… 7 players that will not be participating in the spring. There'll be other players that will be limited in some form or fashion. There'll be some that are limited early and work back into the meat of the practice as we go. And we'll be, you know, prudent with them, but we'll also push them.

I think… we have a lot of goals for this spring. Certainly, we've got now a year in the system, offensively, defensively, special teams. So what we need to do as a football team and as a staff is I think we need to increase the intensity. We need to increase the sense of urgency on our team, and I think we need to apply more pressure to each other to maximize our potential to the football team. And so that will be part of the focus. We know what we're doing now. We understand the schemes. We understand the calls. We understand the adjustments. So there'll be less tolerance from the staff to the players amongst the staff, amongst the players, for mistakes being made. You know, we have to find a way to reach the next level. We have to find a way to go into a game like the Stanford game. A PAC-12 Championship Game where we're playing for the Rose Bowl and not make the couple of mistakes that we made that really affected that game. So that's just going to be a real point of emphasis. We have to develop a maturity on this team that allows us to function at a high level in a high pressure environment. And that's players and coaches. I include all of us when I talk about increasing the intensity and the sense of urgency and applying pressure. So we're excited about that. I know our players had a real good winter quarter. They've done an excellent job in the classroom. And Coach [Sal Alosi - Strength & Conditioning Coordinator] has done a tremendous job with them and their attitude. He's a hard man to please as we all know. None of us have ever seen him smile. I actually got a couple smirks out of him this winter when he talked about the attitude and the work ethic of our players. For him to be impressed is a good thing, but that being said, we have to continue it and that's our goal. So we're excited about it. Our second spring. Kind of know what to expect. That doesn't mean there's going to be a comfort level. We won't have a comfort level. We'll try to make it as ugly and uncomfortable for all of us as we can possibly can so that we can promote growth.

Any questions? Fire away.

Q: with the depth being what it is, will you be able to go kind of as physically as you did last spring?

JM: we'll do what we can. I think we have to be conscious. There are some positions where we just don't have a lot of depth. But we need to be able to practice physically. We need to see how our running backs function. You know, a guy like Paul Perkins [RB] who hasn't had real game reps, we need to see how he functions in an environment where people are going live and tackling live. So yeah, we'll get as physical as we can be, but we're not out there to try to get guys hurt. We want to keep them as healthy as we can. It's a violent game. It's a physical game. Guys are going to get hurt, but it's our goal to practice as hard as we can and still stay healthy.

Q: can you explain the process of getting Malcolm Jones [RB] back into school and what your expectations are for him?

JM: yeah, that's good. There's been a lot of questions about Malcolm. Malcolm came to me really right when we returned from winter. Right when we returned from the holidays. And he came in and he said, "you know, I feel like I maybe made a mistake. Was hasty in my judgment and I'd like to return to the team." [audio difficulties] our focus was on the [audio difficulties] that we were trying to bring into this program. I told him that at this point in time, we did not have a scholarship for him but we welcome him back as a walk-on. He's a good kid. He's a good football player. Sometimes you get derailed when you're young so I don't think any of us wanted to hold the fact that he left the team against him. We all wanted to give him that second chance because of the type of kid he is and because we believe in someone earning a second chance. So he's going to start back with us, spring quarter. He's a walk-on now. He's not on scholarship. I have not made him any promises. But, you know, I kind of feel like Malcolm's going to have a renewed sense of intensity and urgency and the things that I was talking about. And I'd love to see it. I'm excited to see him play. I've been asked questions by fans, "is he a running back or is he a linebacker?" I never even knew that Malcolm played linebacker. To me, he was always the Gatorade Player of the Year at running back and so we'd like to see him reach that potential. I'm excited he's back and I think his teammates are excited he's back.

Q: what's his eligibility? I mean, he played a game last year but did he get that year back? Or did he lose…

JM: not right now, Peter. I think we have to investigate that and approach the NCAA. I think there are some special circumstances there and hopefully they take them into account, but we haven't started that process yet.

Q: who are the guys you look at seriously at running back?

JM: seriously, at running back? Well, Jordon James will start out as the #1 running back. Paul Perkins obviously will get a lot of work. You know, Steven Manfro will be limited because he's still coming off the shoulder, at least early in camp. He'll be able to do things, but there'll be things that he'll be held out of. Contact things, right now, he'll be held out of. So I'll say those three guys, right off the bat, along with Malcolm. There are really… you know, I don't want to eliminate anybody from the competition. I don't think that's the right thing to do.

Q: who else would figure into things?

JM: well, Ryan Davis and Melvin [Emesibe] and you know, we've got Rosy over there playing a little T, a little F. But I think, you know, if you're looking at the guys that get the bulk of the work, it's going to be Jordon. It's going to be Paul. It's going to be Malcolm. And then when Steven and Damien Thigpen come back, hopefully in the fall, it'll be those 2. So I think there's 5 guys there that will try to fill the gigantic shoes that Johnathan Franklin left in his locker.

Q: do you anticipate one main back next year? Maybe not of Franklin's status, but one main guy and the other guys subbing?

JM: I think it's probably going to be more by committee. You know, I think that when you look at that group, Chris, when you see Jordon James, you see Paul Perkins, you see Steven Manfro, and you see Thiggy and we'll see where Malcolm is… you know, between those five guys, I think we'll be able to get quality reps out of all of them. If one guys emerges and just takes the position and runs with it, then we'll move in that direction but right now, it's just competition. We'll see where we are as we go.

Q: do you see 1700 yards in that group?

JM: I hope so. I hope we see more than that. It's going to be tough for anyone to come in and do what Johnathan Franklin did. He had one of the greatest careers as a running back in the history of UCLA and there's been some awfully good ones. So we if can get it done by committee or by a single player, we'll take either.

Q: how's everything looking with Ishmael Adams [CB] for spring? Is he going to be limited?

JM: he's going to be able to do everything but contact. And at his position, being that he's a corner, I think that we can get him in almost every drill and limit the contact on his shoulder. So if we go through a period that's live, then you won't see him in there, at least early in spring ball. But as we go, we'll see where he is. He looks good. He's lifting. Physically, he's back where he was, but he's just not quite ready for the full deal yet.

Q: you talked about running backs but is that quarterback situation maybe the urgency this spring?

JM: I believe so. At the backup position. Well, I think first of all, we'd all like to see Brett [Hundley] take another big step forward, and I really think he will. I think just the fact that he was able to go through an entire season playing every game, have some success, obviously experiencing some failures. There's going to be a huge jump in his level of ability, just from absorbing all that through the course of the winter. I'm excited to see him go out there. And see what kind of command he has for the offense and how much he's grown. I think it's also important that we identify his backup. You know, right now, you look at Jerry Neuheisel, T.J. Millweard, and Mike Fafaul as the three guys that'll be here spring and will be competing for that second spot. Then when Asiantii Woulard gets here in the fall, that can change. I've said it, you guys know this, I've said it many times. I like Jerry Neuheisel as a quarterback. I think he's got a lot of really great qualities. He was a freshman last year. Did some good things in practice. Sometimes struggled. We'll see what kind of progress he made.

Q: without Tevin, where do you see the defensive back corp. standing as it is right now?

JM: well, we're really light at that safety position. And then with Marcus out, we're light at the corner position. We've got reinforcements coming in the fall in the form of the four really good players that we signed, but they're not here yet and so… I think one interesting thing is to see how Dietrich [Riley]. He's been cleared. He's been cleared for everything, and he's really excited about getting back and getting involved. You guys were at practice during the fall. So you saw him out there working the scout thing stuff. We got the red jersey on him. They wouldn't let him put shoulder pads on, but at least he was out there, moving his body in space, getting mental reps. In his mind, he's told me that every time he approached a guy, he was making a tackle. So he was trying to get that… get a little bit of the feel for what it's like to put your body on someone's back without actually doing it. I know he's a really good player. I hope that he's able to play to his ability because he could really help us. Randall Goforth and Dietrich will be the two starting safeties when we start on Tuesday. Behind them, you know, we've got Brandon Sermons and [audio difficulties]… we're light at that position. We can always move Anthony Jefferson in there. But like I've said, we've got some reinforcements coming.

Q: saw Taylor Mazzone listed at quarterbacks coach. What does that mean for the Y position? Does that kind of float under [Eric Yarber - Wide Receivers]?

JM: it floats under Coach Yarber and Noel [Mazzone]. We just really felt like Taylor has a unique skillset to coach those quarterbacks. This is a guy… he's only 25 years old. You know, just about to be 26 and there's pro quarterbacks that are seeking him out for advice in the offseason. Matt Barkley chose to work out with Taylor Mazzone as he prepares for his pro day and the draft. I think that says a lot about Taylor. So we want to make sure we get him as much time with Brett and Jerry and Mike and Asiantii and T.J. and those guys as we can. So Coach Yarber will take care of the inside receivers. Noel will take care of them. When we meet, I'm not talking about individual, when we go through meetings, a lot of the time, quarterbacks and receivers are in the room together because there needs to be that synergy between the two groups. So there won't be a huge change. There were times last year that Taylor was having some offline meetings with Brett as it was. Brett would come up and seek him out, say, "Hey, can you spend a few minutes here, watching some film with me?" Talking mechanics. Things like that. Taylor's a heck of a good football coach. I'm excited about him.

Q: is his recruiting job now quarterbacks only or is he…

JM: no. Recruiting… here's how we recruit. And this will be great because I know people have questions about it all the time. Believe it or not, every once in awhile I do go to the message boards. We recruit by area. So coaches have areas. And then what we do is we crosscheck. So let's say you have the Inland Empire. But you're also the defensive back coach. You're going to recruit in the Inland Empire, but then you're also going to have a hand in the recruiting of all the defensive backs that we're after around the country. But your primary job is to take care of the Inland Empire. If I'm the offensive line coach, you're the Inland Empire coach, but you've got a couple of good offensive linemen in the Inland Empire, then I'm going to come in and help you with that. So it's always a team effort when we recruit. It's never just one guys recruiting a particular position. So Taylor, he has an area. And then he will also be heavily involved in quarterbacks. Recruiting quarterbacks, scouting quarterbacks is unique. It's different. It takes a different eye. Not everybody can see a quarterback… can see what you need to see in a quarterback to tell if he's going to be successful or not. Taylor has that eye. Noel has that eye. You know, I probably don't have that. I looked at defensive players for most of my career. So those are the guys that will make most of the evaluations at quarterback.

Q: Jim, has Devin Fuller decided not to pursue quarterback any more?

JM: no, Peter, what we'll do. And you guys will see it. Spring's a little different than the fall with regards to [audio difficulties] And Steve has the guidelines. We eliminated some stuff. Just to give you guys a little more flexibility to report on things. You're going to see Devin working at receiver primarily but we've also got a package where he plays quarterback. So we're going to make that… really it's not compromising. He's comfortable playing receiver. He realizes he's got a tremendous future playing receiver but he's got a pretty unique skillset too when he's got the ball in his hand back there and so we're going to try to utilize that. One of the problems with that, when you do something like that, you take a pretty darn good player off the field in Brett Hundley. So we just have to be judicious in how we use it. Maybe it's a situation where they're both in the backfield together. Where one's a receiver. You might see Brett lined up at receiver on the play. Don't know that he's going to run a fly route or not. But you know, we'll try to be as creative as we can be without moving too far away from what our foundation is.

Q: with Tevin… was that the same violation that kept him out of the bowl game or was this a different violation?

JM: I think all I'm allowed to say, Peter, is it's a violation of team policy. That's all I'm legally allowed to say.

Q: do you know what his plans are?

JM: I do not. I spoke to him. Obviously, I'm very close with his father. Spoke with his father. We just wish him the best.

Q: you've got a lot of offensive linemen over the summer. Thought there might be a lot of attrition there or…

JM: well, there could be. You know, you're right. We've got quite a group. We felt like, going into this recruiting season, last year's recruiting season, that was a position we really needed to add depth to and quality to. We were about to get a heck of a class. We'd like those guys to come in and be competitive right off the bat and apply pressure to some of the guys that are here already. I don't know if "attrition" to you means guys leave the team and go somewhere else or they just don't play, but we're going to always look to find the best guys and get them on the field.

Q: I mean, [audio difficulties]

JM: well, that wouldn't be my decision. That would be their decision. We're not trying to force anybody out. We're just trying to create the best team that we can. The most powerful offensive line that we can.

Q: you mentioned Lacy. He's in school? He's with the team? Working out?

JM: well, Lacy and Jeremy Castro [LB] both started in winter, along with Eldridge Massington [WR]. So there's really three new bodies. Eldridge will be out there doing some things, but not everything, at least early in practice. Jeremy is cleared. He's doing great. And then we're still working through Lacy's issue with what happened to him last summer. But all three of those guys are in school and are doing well. They participated in the winter program with Coach Alosi.

Q: where's Eldridge stand with his knee?

JM: he's doing well. You know, he's a young man. You've got to remember this kid's really supposed to be in high school still. As a matter fact, I'm going to let him miss one Friday meeting when he goes back for his senior prom. I think there's probably some uncertainty for him. You know, he's never been hurt like this before. And so what we have to do is we have to make sure we do a really good job of building his confidence back up as we get him back on the field. Not treat him with kid gloves but just do the right thing with him. Not put him in situations where he's exposed to injury unnecessarily. Build his confidence as we build the physical part up. Boy is he a hard working kid. He's a great kid. His teammates love him. I've heard from professors on campus already and the tutors and the people in the academic part of the building just talk about what a great kid he is. And what he did, coming in as a high school senior, the winter quarter, as the only guy really, because Jeremy and Lacy, they knew those other players on the team. That was hard. He just… [audio difficulties] great kid. I'm excited to see him play.

Q: with Brett, what's the most important for you to see kind of improvement-wise out of him, especially just in the spring?

JM: I think probably decision-making. You know, quick decision-making. Being able to make the right decision in an instant. No hesitation. Whether it's delivering the ball to a particular player down the field or taking off and using his legs. I think those are the things that we'll look forward with Brett. I think he'll feel much more comfortable in our scheme. He studied it hard through the offseason. Each of our coaches went back and did what we call a [audio difficulties] and created a plan of action for our players. So we went back and we evaluated where they were, what their strengths and weaknesses were, and then created a plan for how we were going to move them forward and get them off the mark. Brett… He's a great student, he's a great leader, and he's a film junkie. I mean, he can't get enough. And I think that's really going to pay dividends. He's going to make big strides this spring.

Q: that's something you did with all the players?

JM: yeah, all the players. But Brett, Brett probably came in about four times. He's always watching film. He's always on the laptop. He's always self-evaluating. He's always trying to get better.

Q: do you have a sense of who's going to be the #1 guy opposite [Anthony] Barr right now at outside linebacker or is it kind of up in the air?

JM: well, we'll start the season… one of the position changes I didn't talk about was Keenan Graham. We're going to play him at defensive end. And he's looked good in offseason workouts. We're going to start the spring with Aaron Wallace at the left outside linebacker. And Anthony at the right outside linebacker. Nate Iese will work there. Jeremy Castro will get work there. Kenny Orjioke, right now, he's listed behind Anthony, but he'll get some time over there. A.O. [Aramide Olaniyan] will get some time over there. And then when we get to the fall, we've got Myles Jack and Deon Hollins coming in so we've got a really good linebacking corp. We just have to find the right guy to play opposite Anthony.

Q: do you anticipate the freshmen defensive backs pushing for returning spots?

JM: yes. I want them to push. I want every freshman to come in here with the mindset that I'm going to push it to earn that starting job. But when you look at the position, in particular, we need guys that can come in and be ready to play. We recruited four athletes that we think are capable of coming in and contributing at some level right away. Maybe as a starter. Maybe as a backup. I wouldn't be surprised if all four of those guys had an impact this year.

Q: Jim, sorry to keep harping on the Tevin thing. I mean, was this a surprise to you? This is a guy that you brought to [audio difficulties]. He was one of your team leaders.

JM: just disappointing to me. I'm disappointed for Tevin. I've known Tevin since he was a young boy. I probably met him when he was five. So just on a personal level, it's disappointing. I care about him. And I hope that everything turns out well for him. He's got a great family. He's got very supportive parents, and I know that they'll find the right avenues for him to have success. He's a good kid.

Q: how do you plan on practicing punting this year?

JM: you guys. Every day we'll rotate. That's a great question. I'm looking at our depth chart here and I don't see a punter on there. But you know? Ka'imi [Fairbairn] can kick it a little bit. And Justin Moreno can kick it a little bit. And Mitch Johnson, he's been working on his punting. We've got a JUGS machine out there. We can do that.

Q: How's your leg?

JM: my leg is awful. So, we'll manage.

Q: have you considered seeing if the NCAA will let you use the JUGS machine during games?

JM: hopefully, the young men we have coming in will be, you know, up for the challenge. It'll be hard to replace Jeff Locke, but I think he's a pretty good player. So we just have to get through this spring. It'll give Ka'imi, it'll give Justin, it'll give Mitch, and you know, I think Nate Iese [LB], he punted a little bit in high school. You know, they're going to be coming out of the woodwork. You know that. "Hey Coach, I can punt. I can punt." But we've got, like I said, we've got reinforcements on the way.

Q: can Brett punt?

JM: Brett did… hey. Brett did a pretty good job with those little quick kicks last year. Didn't he put a couple inside the 10?

Q: do you know who your long snapper is going to be?

JM: we'll start off with Christopher Longo. He's a good long snapper. And remember, he's coming off a knee. You probably didn't know this because he was last year's backup, but he blew out his knee in practice and so he had surgery. But he's good to snap and he can kind of cover down a little bit. He can't do a lot of cutting. But he was a highly regarded long snapper, coming out. We've also got a walk-on coming in the fall. He's a pretty highly regarded guy. Was offered scholarships in a couple of places. I don't know if I'm allowed to use his name. So nothing's official yet. I'll tell you, that's 2 positions that people maybe kind of gloss over. We talk about running back, we talk about quarterback, we talk about defensive back. But you think about how productive Jeff Locke was for us. You think about how consistent Kevin McDermott was for us. And those are two players… those are big shoes to fill. They really are. You can't have a mistake. You only get so many repetitions in a game and every one of them is critical when you're a long snapper or punter. And then Jeff was also our holder. So really it's three positions we have to replace. Jerry Neuheisel has worked on his holding so I think he'll probably be a guy that we'll work in there. There's a lot of questions, you know. There's a lot of unknowns, but the thing I do know is every day, we'll go out there and it'll be competitive and it'll be intense. And our players have talked about it. I've used that term of applying pressure to each other. Applying pressure to try to be great. And not accepting average. And not accepting mistakes. I think that's just a great attitude that they've adopted. I'm excited to see it on the field in games.

Q: a little anxious?

JM: a little bit, yeah. It's fun. We've altered our spring practice schedule this year. As you guys know, last year we went 5 weeks. This year, it's 4 weeks. The first week, we'll have 3 practices. We'll go Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. And then after that, we'll go Monday evenings. We did that so, you know, people can maybe get off work, recruits can come in and watch. You know, generate some buzz Monday evenings. We'll go on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7AM. Our guys like to work early. I like to get them up early. I like to get them on campus. I like to get them going. And then Saturday, the midmorning, more scrimmage type things. So there'll be really 2 opportunities for fans that want to come out and watch it and 2 days where it'll probably be quiet in there.

Q: what's kind of the stump speech that you have to use and balance between… [audio difficulties] and just balancing the two things?

JM: well, you know, in my mind, we're doing the right things in the right way. We're on the right path. We're heading in the right direction. But we've got so far to go to become the program that we aspire to be, and that's one that can win the tough games. You know, can find a way to beat Oregon State, who at that time wasn't necessarily thought to be a great team, and who ended up being a pretty darn good team, but it was one of those games… wasn't it a 1-touchdown game? We need to find a way to win that game. We need to find a way to not have a game like we had at Cal. A blowout. We turned the ball over six times. We didn't play well. We've got to find a way to not make the mistakes or even better, to make the plays in the PAC-12 Championship that Stanford made but we didn't. And I think we're making progress in that area but we've got a ways to go. We're a young team. It's still a new system. You know, I don't like to say, "I want to preach patience" because that's not my nature. You know, I want to go for it all the time, but it is a process and it does take some time. We're hopeful that it's a very limited amount of time.

Q: what was your reaction when the schedule came out and you saw back-to-back weekends in Palo Alto and Eugene?

JM: I thought it was… honestly, I like that challenge. I do. I love that challenge. I think it's something… you know, we don't like to look too far ahead. You know, we try to take it one game at a time, but I could tell you that when we get to that 2 week stretch, I'll probably package it to the players. You know, where normally we'd just talk about the game we're about to play, and depending on how the season is going at that time, if the season's going well, then that's an opportunity for us to take it a real step forward. By going on the road against two of the premier teams in college football, certainly in our conference, and having a chance to be able to win it. If you want to establish yourself as a top-notch program, that's what you have to do. But you know, I think we all feel that we're heading in the right direction, but man, the destiny is still pretty far out there, but we're going to see how fast we can get there. And that's up to the coaches, the players, the administration. We like the excitement that we generated last year. But nobody is satisfied with the way the season ended. Nobody's satisfied with only 9 wins. There's a real sense of urgency here. And I think you'll feel it when you see us out there practicing.

Q: what's the biggest difference for you, entering this spring, as opposed to last year?

JM: I know our players better. You know, I know their capabilities. Probably know their limitations. Maybe know what buttons to press. Know how they react to the pressure that we apply. Understand the mindset of the college athlete. What motivates them. A lot better than I did last year. Just more familiarity with our players. More familiarity with the college game. The schedule. What you can demand from them. What you can expect from them. I'm excited about it. I'm excited to go out there and see the progress that we've made without ever going on the football field between that Baylor game and April 2nd. I think there'll be a lot of progress that's been made. I know it's a different looking team when you look at them on the hoof. Physically, they've transformed their bodies. Coach Alosi's done an amazing job with them. They've done an amazing job of just really digging in and accepting what he's asking. It's made an impact on them. They're bigger, they're faster, they're stronger, they're more flexible. We're a leaner football team and we have to be that. We need to become more physical. When we played Baylor, quite frankly, they were a more physical football team than us that night. I think that stuck in everybody's crawl around here. All our players, certainly all of our coaches. It was a bad night. It was a great lesson.

We're good?

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