VIDEO: Mora On Practice Altercation

Jim Mora talked about ending practice early due to a fight between some players, how he wants his team to handle situations like this, the team's leadership and, actually, he talked a little bit about the practice, too...

Opening statement:
Typically we don't talk at the end of evening practice, but with the way practice ended, I thought I would and explain what happened. We had a real good practice, really good, we started with a live goalline period and the intensity was high. And then, I'm a guy, as you guys know, who doesn't like fights. I think we had a fight there and I decided to stop practice and run them, and that was the end of it. They had a little team meeting and we'll come back here tomorrow and get it again. You get into training camp, and you've had a number of practices like this, I think the intensity gets ramped up, but I think it's very important to be able to maintain our composure and knowing to back off. Especially when you're talking about the possibility of guys getting hurt. The two guys involved were skill position players and all it takes is one of those guys to break a finger and we've got problems. I think part of it is learning discipline. We ran a little bit and we'll get back after it tomorrow.

On if there will be discipline to the players involved:
No, no. It's football, stuff happens. You can't just let it go. At least I don't think you can let it go. I don't like the adage, 'it's football, it's just football.' Well, it is football and there are going to be fights, but that doesn't mean you just say, they're o.k. I never subscribe to that theory. I think some coaches like it, but I don't really like it.

On if it allows for leadership on the team to step up:
Yeah, I think so. What you're looking for at camp, especially when you lose guys like Johnathan (Franklin) and Datone (Jones) and Dalton (Hilliard), you're looking for guys to step up and grab the team. SO I can walk out of here, and lets see how they react. I was watching them. I wanted to see how they react. Sometimes it doesn't look good. Sometimes things out here look a little ugly. But it's all part of trying to learn and come together as a team. Like I said, it was a great practice, and I was about to end it anyway, took the pads off. But I just don't like the fights. I don't like them. I never have, and I don't think I ever will. We've got to learn to push past that. I don't want them hitting each other or saying negative things to each other. So we just have to avoid that. It was a good chance for me to make a point of emphasis. It was a tough practice. We have to learn to handle ourselves in a pressure environment. I'm not disappointed about it, it was a great learning experience. Those guys walk off the field together, they'll go eat together, it just doesn't happen (off the field). When you've been on a football team, it is intense out there, it is emotional and it is passionate. They're competitors and they hate to lose at anything. You'll have these passions that flare up but you have to be able to back away and I think we need to learn that. Things don't carry over. They get over it quick. They get along with each other. I don't worry about it.

On practice to that point:
The focus. I like the focus. We came out of stretch and went right to live goalline. That was just one of those situations, where ok, fast start, put the ball down and let it go. I thought the offense looked really good in that period. I think the defense was caught off guard a little bit, it was their first real chance to tackle live. I liked the competitiveness. I thought that Brett (Hundley) was on fire. The concentration was good. We were going at a fast pace. Unfortunately, we had the skirmish at the end and we decided to end it.

On some linemen going out:
Caleb (Benenoch) got short of breath, I think he's ok. He had his chest tighten up. We think he'll be ok and it doesn't seem like anything serious. I'm not sure about Alex (Redmond). You know how careful we are with concussions. I haven't talked to Ant yet, so Imp not sure why or who went out. I know this, with us, if a guy shows any kind of concussion symptoms, we're going to yank him. We're not going to put him back in there. And our coaches are really careful about that too. I don't know why our offensive lineman seemed to be dinged. I don't know the answer. I wish I did know the answer. You watch the film and ask 'are we doing something differently then we've done in the past as coaches? No'. The equipment is better, and they're biggest faster and stronger, but I don't know. It's a little concerning. I worry about those guys and head injuries. At times, I think there is a fear factor with these kids. They're still young, they're still maturing. Maybe they haven't had a headache when they're playing and maybe they overreact, but if they overreact that way, we have to overreact on the side of being cautious. And that's what we're always going to do. If they're not overreacting and it really is something, we don't want to make that mistake ever.

On the athletic trainer, Anthony Venute:
What I think is great about Anthony Venute and the attitude of our staff is we get them out. Rather then keep them in there, rub a little dirt on there, get back out there. That compounds the problem. Caleb, he's ok, so right now, our first five is fine, they're intact. We'll see where Alex is. Poasi has missed a couple days, but I don't think his is real serious. I mean, they're all serious, but something that is going to keep him out for a long, long time. We just have to evaluate it as we go. Doctors were up here today looking at those guys.

On Thomas Duarte:
I think Thomas felt good tonight. I'm not sure how much he did in teamwork tonight in terms of him being in there, but I know halfway through practice, Anthony came up to me and said he was feeling pretty good.

On Eddie Vanderdoes:
He's doing better. They took an x-ray and nothing that you wouldn't expect out of a kid that plays football. Its just a matter of that thing calming down. He's been working on the side with the strength and conditioning coaches, doing some stabilization, stretching it out, loosening it up, he feels better. His emotional outlook seems to be better. He doesn't seem so concerned now.

On other dinged up players:
Cassius was practicing, Eric Kendricks was out here this morning running around and looked really good. Jordan was back. His wasn't a hamstring, he was dehydrated. He's so lean. He might have told you it was a hamstring, no one ever knows what Jordan is going to say. He's funny. He jumps offside twice. Then 30 seconds later, he's over there singing and dancing. He says 'I'm just having fun, it's football, I'm just having football.' You like a little of that. We'll get Eric back out there. The first step for him is individual. Then 7on7 and 1on1 and then get him into team as he feels more comfortable. The plan is for him to still be ready to play against Nevada, and he said he's doing well and he tells me he's feeling better than he has in months. So we'll see, but it's just strengthening right now.

On Kylie Fitts:
I think Kylie really benefited from the spring. Getting in there in the spring, he was a fish out of water the first couple of days. He's hovering around 270, 275 and he's got real strong hands. He fits right in with that group. He doesn't look like a freshman. You look at him, and Eddie and Kenny and it's a good looking group, a good looking young group anyway. Our seniors are Cassius and Seali'i. I think one of the keys is getting Eddie back out here soon. There is a learning curve that you go through. The speed of the game, the size of the players, the effort you go through to play at a high level. Some of these big guys are used to playing against 180, 185-pound offensive linemen in high school and there is not many of those in the Pac-12 so it takes a good deal of energy and they have to learn how to do it and Eddie needs that work, but Kylie has adjusted and he's a good player. Kylie has always been mature. He's a quiet kid. He approaches his football work with a real level of maturity the whole way. But I think the thing he's understanding is the energy that he has to exert every play in order to compete and it's never going to be easy at this level. I think that is part of maturing. I think he can go in and play and be productive. I think if we have eight guys on the line that can play, we'll be happy.


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