VIDEO: Mora on Thursday

Head coach Jim Mora provides an injury update, gives his thoughts on the new ejection rule in college football, and reiterates that Priest Willis is, in fact, a corner...

Jim Mora talks on Thursday:


On Simon Goines' knee:
It's minor. He just hyper extended it a little bit. He's ok. No MRI. He's ok.

On Brett Hundley:
Brett is doing good. He's had a great camp so far. He's making progress every day. I'm excited about the direction he's headed in. He just needs to become a better decision maker, when to throw it away, when to get out of bounds, when to slide. Things like that. Just natural progression. The more a young guy plays, the better he gets.

On the five running backs:
We know what they're going to do. All five are going to play. You're not going to have Johnathan Franklin but you're going to have a cluster of guys that can all get it done.

On the defensive back lineup:
It's probably becoming a little more muddy with Johnny Johnson going down. I like the group, it's a talented group, it's just completely inexperienced as we all know. But I see progress out of a lot of the young guys, you see Priest making big strides, he's really talented. To me, Tyler Foreman has really improved the last couple of practices. I don't know how he fits into the rotation or if he does. The real surprise probably in the secondary is Jayon Brown. His moving from linebacker into the secondary, how he's adapted to a position that he's never played before. If we were to go out and play a game tonight, he'd probably be our starting nickel. So that says a lot about where he is, but it says a lot about the lack of experience.

On the high tempo offenses:
I know the national champions don't do it, so maybe people will start copying that. I don't know where it is, we'll be interested in seeing where it affects the NFL, like with Chip Kelly.

On the Clowney Rule:
I'm not a fan of it. I think it's really difficult and I think it puts a burden on the officials. I've been doing this a long, long time, and I've seen a lot of hits that look one way in person and they even look different in review and replay, then they do in 24 hours. I think what is difficult is to judge intent, for the official on the field and for the replay official. The ramifications are so drastic. You're talking about kicking a kid out of a game. The way it can affect his team, the way it can affect his career. I don't like it at all. I think it's, in my opinion, like I said, I've been coaching for 29 years, it's the worst rule I've ever heard. And I'm not overstating it. People above my pay grade made that decision so we've got to deal with it. But Jadeveon Clowney, if anyone thinks that wasn't just a beautiful football play, that was a beautiful football play, by a beautiful football player. I just thought it was an amazing play by an amazing athlete. And I understand player safety. You've been around me enough to understand how important that it is to me that a player is safe, especially when we're talking about head injuries, because those are lifelong injuries. But I also think that the rule, the ramifications, the penalties are so drastic. If they get it wrong, then you come back on Sunday and say 'man, I shouldn't have kicked this kid out of the game.' Well these kids only get so many games. They're not professional athletes, their career may not go on for 10 more years, it may only go on for 3-4 more games. If its the wrong guy. And to penalize them for something that they potentially didn't do, I think is a real tragedy. And if it affects the outcome of a game, I think it's even worse yet, so we'll see how it goes. I know the officials will do the best job they can. We've had the officials out here and they seem to have a pretty good grasp of it, although we had a play out here with our officials that they said that a hit would have resulted in an ejection. They came back to me about 45 minutes later and said 'you know, we thought about it, and it wouldn't result in an ejection.' So, ok, do I now get to bring him back in, say 'go get your stuff back on and came back out.' How does that work? I don't like it.

On if he talks about it with specific players, like Anthony Barr:
We talk about it as a team, we go through the hits. The NCAA put out a great video with Kirk Herbstreit, talking to the players, showing examples of what was legal and what would be deemed illegal, and what would be an ejection. It's still not crystal clear. But it's a rule that we have to respect and adhere to. I'm just hopeful in none of our games, where something happens, one of our players gets ejected, that's A, and then the worst part is if they come back and say 'we screwed up.' Those kids don't get the game back, there are no do-overs. I would imagine that the prudent officials, and I think our officials are very good, and would err on the side of not ejecting. Enforce the penalty but not ejecting. It's just too drastic.

On adding another review:
Well they have a review, it's reviewable. You would not get ejected without a review. The play would happen, you would review it, and if they decided that the play wasn't a malicious hit to the head, it wasn't launching, his intent was not to make the kind of play that should result in an ejection, the penalty would stand. The problem is, the emotion and the passion on the field, the intensity on the field that the players feel and the officials feel, I think it's hard to diagnose that and it makes it hard. But like I said, it's a rule we have to live with, we don't like it, and agree with it, but we have to go with it.

On the strength of the defense:
I think our front seven. We've got a good group of defensive lineman, we've got a really good group of linebackers and we can rush the passers. We've got to overcome that lack of experience in the secondary. Thankfully, we've got a good pass rush, because your coverage's' best friend is a pass rush and we've got to get there and get to the quarterback.

On the biggest improvement with Devin Fuller:
Well he looks like a receiver, rather than a quarterback trying to play receiver. His routes are much better. His change of pace in running his routes are much better. He's in and out of his breaks a lot cleaner. He seems to catch it much cleaner. You'll see every once in a while, he'll bobble a ball, but not often. I think now, he's got better body control running his routes. He's a fabulous athlete and he's got incredible skills. Sometimes, maybe, you don't appreciate it as much because he makes it look so darn easy. I think in the Pac-12 championship game he had 7 catches, and he was just starting to learn the position. The thing is about Devin, he could probably be one of the best safeties in the country if he played that. He was a heck of a safety in high school. But we're not looking to that. I shouldn't have said anything.

On Thursday's practice:
I think we hit a little bit of a wall. We worked hard last night. We went hard yesterday, but it will be interesting to see how we get over it and how we get through it and I think we will. I think the timing is really good. You have to push these guys and see how far you can push them. But you have to be smart. You get a feel for the energy of a practice but they've been really good. They were fine today, they were trying, but it's a little bit of a wall. Yesterday's practice was long and grueling, but get back at it, and I think we'll have a lot of energy tomorrow. And once we get back to campus, that will give us a little bit of a boost. I like where we're at right now.

On the injuries making him question how often they go live:
Yes. It's a delicate dance. And that's why yesterday, we went with the young guys scrimmage. Guys that really haven't played as much in games. The young guys need to get that work. They need to get that speed and collisions. They need to feel what it's like at full speed and live. But I don't want to put us in too many situations where there are 22 UCLA Bruins going after each other. If you had a scrimmage against another team or a preseason game against another team, you'd have 11 UCLA Bruins on the field at one time. So your chances of someone getting injured are cut in half. When you're scrimmaging against each other and you have 22 UCLA Bruins going against each other, it doubles your chances of someone getting hurt. We're going to try and see if we can get some preseason games next year, we'll suit you guys up.
 


Bruin Report Online Top Stories