VIDEO: Mora After First Practice

Coach Jim Mora talked after the first practice in San Bernardino Wednesday about how the team looked different, the freshmen, the Navy Seal experience and more...

On Eddie Vanderdoes:
I just had a gut feeling all along that he was going to be able to participate this year.  I don't know why I ever had that gut feeling, other than I felt like, when it all came out, to those who were making the decision, that they would recognize that this is a young man who was genuine and pure in his intentions the whole way through.  And I felt like, because of that, people would recognize it and they'd say 'you know what, we're not going to penalize him, we're going to let him play'.  And that's what happened.  I think he was honest all the way through, forthcoming and I'm glad people recognized that.

On the speedy decision by the NCAA:
To you it might have. After his appeal, I think they decided, right around in one day.

On the impact of Vanderdoes' personal interview:
I don't know because I haven't' talked to anyone at the NCAA. I haven't' talked to our compliance people about it.  Heck, I haven't even talked to Eddie about it, other than just to say 'Hey, I'm happy for it." I haven't asked him about the details about it at all.  I don't know if I ever will.  But it would seem just because the decision was made so soon after, he was very honest, and very forthcoming and people recognize that.

On how much it helps the defensive line:
It certainly helps us in light of the fact this past week, we decided that Owa's not going to be able to participate this year.  He's just quite simply not ready to go. Physically, he's not where he needs to be. Emotionally, it would be just really difficult for him to overcome what he's gone through. He's had two surgeries. We were very hopeful that he'd be with us when he had that second surgery, as I said, it wasn't as bad as they thought. But everybody heals at a different pace, and he's just not ready.  And so because we don't have Owa, it's just critical that we were able to bring Eddie in.  Now Eddie is young.  As good as he was in high school, this is just a different level.  So I think we have to be careful with how much we expect of him immediately.  Our expectations are going to be high, but all we have to keep in mind he's a freshman.  We're going to have a whole lot of young guys this year.  You see a bunch of raw talent, especially on defense, but they're going to have to perform.  We've got to do the right thing, bring them a long, ask them do the right thing, putting them in the right position to make plays, not overwhelming them but being demanding of them, the whole thing. 

On the difference between this year's team and last year's:
This team just looks different to me.  I don't know how you guys saw it.  But it's bigger, it's more physical looking.  You could tell the work they've done with Coach Alosi is paying of and that's just one year in.  If we can keep developing this way, we can reach our goals eventually.  We're a long way from where we want to be.  But we look different.  At least my impression.  Same guys in a lot of places, but better looking.  I like our freshman class.  In all my years of coaching college football, it's the best looking team I've ever seen.

On Sealii Epenesa:
Eli will play both.  If you look on a depth chart we use internally, he's listed both at nose and at left end.  Ellis McCarthy will more inside.  Eddie Vanderdoes at outside.  With a freshman, I think it's really important to put them somewhere and let them play there, and develop and digest it before you ask them to do multiple things.

On the freshman defensive backs:
We'll mix and match, but today it was the way it worked out (all being on the same unit).  Those four guys are all going to have to play for us this year.  They're all going to get to play for us this year.  So we have to push them along at a pretty rapid pace.  They're a talented group.  Physically talented.  A lot of skill.  It's a matter of owning them up.

On Darius Bell:
He hurt his wrist a couple of weeks ago.  He'll be alright.  He did it a couple of weeks ago.  You know about Eric Kendrick's (deal). 

On Kenny Walker:
He's out with a back injury and he's redshirting.

On Eldridge Massington:
I didn't watch him today.  But he did everything as far as I know, so I think he's going to be ok.  There were only 30 plays so it was hard to watch for me to watch 105 players but I think he's going to be ok.

On when Priest Willis and Craig Lee reported:
Craig Lee reported on Sunday and Priest met us up here (Tuesday). 

On Willis' participation
He did not participate (in Navy Seals).  I'm not sure if he's been cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse, I haven't talked to people at UCLA.  He's been accepted into UCLA a long time ago.  They have thousands of young guys to go through.  You want your guys to be the priority.  The reality of it is, that the guys back there though, they don't really care about.  I'm not going to see that they don't care about Priest Willis, but to them its justy a name, but to us its like hey, come on hurry.

On Scott Quessenberry:
We'll start him out at guard with the thought that he'll eventually play some center but for him right now, we think the best place is that right guard spot.

On Ellis McCarthy:
Did you see him lay out for that interception?  Pretty awesome.  He was moving better, lighted on his feet, quicker, better endurance.  He's made the adjustment and I think he's' more settled in.  I don't think last year at this time he was quite ready for the rigors of college football.  Thought the season, we probably did him a little disservice by moving him from defensive end and nose and then we toyed with him at offensive guard and looking back at it, I don't know if that's fair.  But that's our fault and he did a great job this offseason

On Torian White:
The other guy who's transformed his body is Torian White.  At times last year, he was playing at 265 pounds and he's' 290 pounds now.  His body fat is low for a 290 pounder.  Simon Goines as well.  Simon looks totally different.,  A lot of guys do.

On his second time around San Bernardino:
It's the same mindset really, but there is more familiarity for us as coaches and for the players that have been here and how we do things in this environment.  One thing right now we don't have to be as concerned about is the heat.  The objective, wasn't to come to an environment that was stifling hot as it was.  That wasn't why we came to San Bernardino.  They were other reasons.  This year that doesn't appear to be the case.  90 degrees, or 92. Last year we were talking 105.  We'll have more flow to our days. I love coming up here.  I think its a great campus. Its perfect for what we want.  We're isolated but were not so far away that the kids family can't come out and watch us practice.  We have great dining facilities, outstanding dorms, we've got a good locker room, the fields are great, we have a lot of space, the people on this campus are incredibly accommodating to us.  I think it's a perfect environment for what we're trying to accomplish  I like it a lot.  I like it a lot.

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