VIDEO: Mora on First Practice

Coach Jim Mora talked about the difference in his second spring practice, how the players now know the tempo, and how they have to work around being thin on some units...


JM: okay, it was a good start to spring. A lot different than last year. The first day. Obviously there's more familiarity with the way we like to do things and the tempo we like to work at. And I thought that the players came out here today and worked well. And, you know, obviously we've got a long ways to go, but it was a good start for us. They were into it. It's fun. So it's good to be back out here again. That's what we like to do. You know, all of us, we like to be on the grass, coaching and playing. And so when you get that opportunity, you feel a little spark in their step. Okay.

Q: guess I'll start it off. What are your expectations for this season?

JM: well, I haven't gone that far yet. My expectations are to have a good practice every day right now. That's what we look at. It's spring right now and so what we have to do is make improvements every day and that's basically it.

Q: and how did you think today looked? It was the first practice.

JM: well, I was impressed with the way they practiced today. You know, I mean, obviously, it's not perfect and there's a long ways to go, but compared to where we were a year ago at this time… they understand the expectations and they understand the tempo and the pace we want to work at and we were much more efficient and not as many mistakes, which there shouldn't be, so we just have to keep working that way.

Q: is the secondary depth a concern? Or do you just kind of look at it as the fact, you know, that you're going to have several guys coming in the fall and you just have to get through this spring?

JM: well, it is what it is. You know, there's nothing you can do about it. We've got four really good players coming in, in the fall, in the summer. And until they get here, it's good for everyone to get the work that they're getting, you know. So it's exciting to see Dietrich [Riley] back out here. Randall [Goforth] did a nice job. Anthony Jefferson's getting more work. You know, we hadn't seen Ishmael [Adams] out here for quite awhile and he looked good although he's got the red jersey but he still moved around well so it'll give some of the guys a chance to get more reps and develop.

Q: what did you see from Dietrich? I don't know how much you guys got to watch him specifically but just being his first time back…

JM: well, he looked comfortable and I think the fact that last year he was able to do a lot of the scout team work and the non-contact stuff. So he was out here getting himself familiar with the… reacquainting himself with the movements that you need to be able to execute to play that position and the communication and things like that so he fit right in today. You know, he wasn't rusty. He looked fine. Now, I think the big step for Dietrich is going to be when contact starts occurring because he has to work his way through that emotionally. It's different when you start hitting people.

Q: are you conscious of trying to ease the team back into practice mode a little bit more? Maybe with the…

JM: no. We try to just jump in and go. You know, really, that's kind of our motto… honestly it's our philosophy. Just don't pace yourself. Go. And I think that we can do that now. You know, there's really no reason to ease into it because they know what they're doing. And they understand, like I said, the expectations. Yeah, we're light at a couple positions. You know, we're a little bit light on the offensive line. We're a little bit light in the secondary, but we just… we got to become accustomed to it. We just got to go out and practice hard and play.

Q: what do you see from Fabian Moreau since you're so shallow there?

JM: he looked good today. You know, one day. He made some good plays in 1-on-1. He understands how to play the position much better. You know, that was kind of a shocker to him last year. And you know, we're in the middle the season, it probably wasn't quite the middle but it was… we're in the season and we say, "hey, go over there and play some corner" which is really foreign to him, but he's worked hard and he looks a lot more natural at that position. He's got the length you like, he's got the speed and quickness and change of direction you like at that position. I think for Fabian, it's just getting experience playing at the position. But I thought today he looks so much more natural than he ever did last year.

Q: how did some of the freshmen look today?

JM: well… the only freshmen… you mean like the new guys that are just here for the first time? And I guess we could consider Jeremy [Castro] a freshman. Jeremy did well. You know, it's his first day out here with this type of tempo and the speed that we go at so it was a little bit of a shock to him. Kylie [Fitts]… can you imagine being in Kyie's shoes? He hasn't even attended a class yet. He moved into his dorm this weekend. He's out here. He's supposed to be in high school, and he's out here running around with these guys. And I asked him afterwards how it was, and he said it was good. He said, "I just have to adjust to the size, speed, and tempo." But I think he did pretty well. Now, he has to go to a couple classes. So he's going to be… by the end of the day, he's going to be blown out, you know. It's going to be interesting to see how he is tomorrow. If he can get out of bed.

Q: how far off do you think Eldridge [Massington] is? From getting rid of the red jersey and going full-on…

JM: my gut feeling is that we'll probably see him in the red jersey the entire spring. I think that we have to make sure that we're doing the right thing with him. He's a young player. He's a talented player. He hasn't had this injury before and so we want to make sure that we don't force him on the field too soon. I think if he can do more and more every day but stay in that red jersey, he'll gain confidence in his knee. He'll still be getting the work that he needs to get. You know, the mental work. And then when we get to San Bernardino, hopefully we can just turn him loose.

Q: what were you expecting from Brett Hundley today, first day back? Are you expecting him to just hit the ground running and pick up where he left off?

JM: yeah. really honestly, yes. Yeah. And I think he did. He's worked really hard this winter. You know, these guys have had a lot of 7-on-7 sessions by themselves, and he's been a real leader with that. And I think the chemistry with the receivers is much stronger than it's ever been. And he just looked in command and in control today. Not saying every throw was perfect or every play was perfect, but the aura that he presented to everybody was, "hey, let's go. We understand what we're supposed to do. Let's do it." And I thought he handled it well, and I expect him to get better every day in that area.

Q: you ready to name him the starter?

JM: we're penciling him. We don't need to go through all that this year. Unless you guys want to.

Q: how is his punting?

JM: we are looking for a punter so if any of you guys can punt… we don't have a punter on the roster right now.

Q: Coach, how does that affect the team, if Hundley is established.. the quarterback competition this spring.

JM: well, there's just… there's no uncertainty as to who's going to be your starting quarterback. So, you know, last year at this time, it was really a three or four man kind of competition. The receivers… didn't always… they had to adjust to four different guys throwing the ball to them and so what you want to do is establish a chemistry on offense, not only between the receivers and the quarterback but the [running] back and the quarterback. And the cadence and the communication and all those things. And it's different with every guy. It's just a little bit different. So now that Brett's a starter and he's firmly established, I think it'll just help us build chemistry as an offense and consistency as an offense.

Q: and then also, Ellis [McCarthy] looked like he had some conditioning work. Was that a conditioning-related? Injury-related?

JM: well, he had the knee. He had the surgery… the scope going on after the season. He should be back out here in a day or two, but we wanted to just ease him back in. You know, make sure that he's where he needs to be physically before we put him back on the field, but he's fine. He just has to… we just want to make sure he's strong and healthy… He doesn't need any more setbacks. Okay? Alright, thanks everybody.

Bruin Report Online Top Stories