VIDEO: Mora Friday Morning

Coach Jim Mora talked about how the team did in the mostly situational practice, Eddie Vanderdoes doing more team periods, and more...

Opening statement:
They came out with a lot of energy today, which is what I was hoping they'd do. We jumped right into a 'move the ball period', right after special teams, and got about 35 plays of situational work in. I'll kind of call out a down and distance and the field position. The offense will sub, and the defense will kind of match their sub, and we kind of guy quick. I think it's a really good way to start practice after the afternoon off. We went up to Bruin Woods yesterday at Lake Arrowhead. And it was pretty darn cool. First of all, it was nice and cool up there. Our guys got a chance to get in Lake Arrowhead. We got a chance to do a meet and greet with some UCLA fans. It was kind of a spur of the moment deal. Will Peddie set it up and did a great job. I think our players appreciated that. We did some two-minute, end of the game situations today, some 2-minute and 4-minute, where we were either behind or had the lead and trying to get those guys to think instinctively about how they're going to react in certain situations. And what I saw today was real improvement over last time, just in terms of knowledge of the situation and understanding of how we're supposed to act in that situation. We're practicing stuff that may or may not come up, but if we're practicing, than we're well trained in it. We did the young guys moving the ball at the end. What we're trying to do is develop that depth and I think the more we can get the young guys into those situations like we did today, where it's a whole bunch of young guys out there, you don't see coaches on the field, and we're doing the substitutions from the sideline and kind of forcing them to be out there on their own, I think you're going to see those guys make progress. Simon Goines, I think he should be back out there tonight. We gave him trouble because Tom Brady didn't miss a practice with his little knee thing, but Simon did. He's feeling good, he rode the bike. Eddie Vanderdoes is back out working. As you guys noticed, he didn't quite understand the tempo there and he got a little aggressive so we sent him off for a couple plays, but he came out and he told me after practice he feels good. I think we just have to work him back in at a snails pace and at a pace where we don't overload him too early. We just keep making progress and that's what we have to do.

On Vanderdoes coming back:
It goes back to our summer workouts, in talking with Coach Alosi. He said 'Eddie is the type of guy, that if you're doing a med ball drill with the wall, every time, Eddie is trying to knock the wall down.' That's just Eddie's personality. So I don't even think he's trying to show us anything. I think it's just him instinctively. Then I say he needs to slow down, and I see him walking. So there is a happy medium there. Let's find it and we've got to learn it. I would much rather it be where he's going too hard and you have to pull it back a little bit then having to always be on him to go faster. I'm excited to watch him play.

On if he thinks the team is mentally tired:
I thought it was really good today. Yesterday, I thought we were really mentally tired, but today, I thought we were sharp, mentally. The players were, they were on it and they did a good job. Some times what I'll do is huddle them up, and I'll give them the situation and ask 'what do we do here. It could be a situation where we say 'no mas'. There is a minute left in the game, our opponent doesn't have a timeout. We break one, or on defense, we intercept it, we don't want to score in that situation. You score, kick the extra point, you kick it off and you give your opponent the ball. Instinctively, what you do when you intercept it is you try to score. So working on the little things like that. We worked on that fast break, which we used on someone last year against somebody, might have been Oregon State. That whistle play now, if there is less than 3 seconds and you spike it, they're going to run the clock out. So now you have to have a play down the field. You don't have a chance during a game, to stop play, and explain it to them, so you have to do it out here. And you just have to ingrain it in them and I think they're getting there.

On forcing his quarterbacks to throw interceptions in those drills:
They didn't like it. I had to get Jerry (Neuheisel) to do it, and he threw it and was like 'I really hate that. I really hate that feeling. It's kind of like I'm trying to find that situation, where we let them score on defense. Remember the Green Bay-Denver Super Bowl. But to get your starting defense out on the field, and say today, on this play, we're going to let them score is contradictory to anything that they would think. So it's dicey and we haven't done that before. It doesn't look good on TV, but if it pays off and you win it looks good. It's the mindset, 'what do you mean let them score, what are you talking about.' So you have to go slow with that one. We're going to vote on captains this afternoon at our 2p.m. meeting. We won't announce them for a couple of days. We'll announce them to the team, probably when we get back to the school Sunday. It will be interesting to see how we go with that. I'll be interested in seeing how the vote goes.

On if he'll use his veto power on captains (which he did with Brett Hundley last year):
I don't think this year. It was different last year with Brett. I think he'd just been named the starting quarterback. It just felt like it would be too much on his plate. We're going to do it different this year though, than we have. I think this year we're going to go with three offensive captains and three defensive captains and every week name a special teams captain. You know, when you don't have a Jeff Locke, and you don't have a Kevin McDermott and you don't have a David Allen, we had some really prominent special teamers, Dalton Hilliard. Guys that were really established. This year, we're going to be so young on special teams, I can't really identify anyone and I don't want to force the issue.

On if he'll need to tutor the captains after the Jeff Locke/ASU situation last year:
After that Arizona State game, they put a rule in where they come in to the locker room and ask you what you want to do. He (Jeff Locke), didn't get it wrong. They got it wrong. I'm going to protect him even though he's a Minnesota Viking now.

On if he's got an update on the kick return situation:
No. My attention right now has been more on the punter and the kicker and the snapper rather than the returner. Because I think we have some guys who can do it. I think Shaq can do it, Randall can do it. I think a couple of those young guys, Darren Andrews, Jalen Ortiz might have a chance to do it. I think when Thigpen comes back, he can do it. I think we may put Steven Manfro back there again, even though last year, he had a couple of mishaps on punts, I think he learned after those things. I don't think we'll settle on one guy until game week. Right now, more of my concern is on who's going to snap it and who's going to kick it.

On the longsnapping:
I don't think we're even close to where we need to be. The operation between the snap, the hold and the kick has to be absolutely flawless because that's where your kicker gets his rhythm. And right now, it's not flawless. It's not a Kevin McDermott to Jeff Locke operation yet. It's guys that haven't done it much. I feel really good about Jerry Neuheisel as our holder. And I think having a quarterback as our holder will enable us to do some fakes, break the formation and do things like that. I think we just need to find the right snapper. Longo's doing a good job, I just want to see more consistency out of him.

On what the biggest loss from Johnathan Franklin is:
I think a lot. Take talent and experience away from it and leadership. And how you define leadership and how he defined leadership, was his example. Of work ethic, of attitude, of always jumping into special teams drill. Of going full speed all the time, always being upbeat, bringing guys together. You know, Johnathan on campus was a different kind of guy. He was high profile, but never stand-offish. He was a great ambassador I thought. He would talk to anybody. I think we have some guys who have those qualities. And I think they'll start to come out. I think Brett has those qualities. But Brett has a little bit more on his plate because he's the quarterback. There is more going on in his mind on a daily basis with regards to playing football. But I think you have to let that stuff kind of happen. You have to channel it in the right way but you can't force it. (With his game) Pass blocking. I think one of the reasons that Johnathan is going to be such a great pro is that he can protect on third down and you're always looking for that guy. In the pros, the blocking scheme is so much more complex than in college. And the defenses that you're facing and the pressures you're facing are more complex. And Johnathan can decipher that very quickly and get the right guy. And we have some guys that haven't done it as much. I will tell you this, Jordon James is doing an excellent job in pass protection right now. So we'll miss that. Johnathan had great hands coming out of the backfield, catching the ball and he was good inside the five. Even though he wasn't a big guy, he could find the crease and get into the end zone. Johnathan did a great job his senior year, taking care of the football. I think he fumbled once time. We're going to miss him a lot. But we can't keep looking back, we've just got to try and develop guys in that place.

On defensive guys playing in offensive packages:
We haven't put Cassius Marsh, or Anthony Barr or Myles Jack in that spot yet. We will do that as we get closer to the season. Right now, we just need to develop the schemes. We have an idea of who we want to use in certain schemes. And special situations, but we haven't worked those guys in yet.

On how Kenny Lacy did with the 1s:
He did o.k. He struggled a little bit. He took a lot of reps and he wore down. I think he felt the pressure a little bit, but I think it will be a great growing experience for him. Just like with Caleb, you see Caleb have a kind of a marginal day and then he spikes again. When you have a young, talented guy like that, it's fun to get them in there, because you can see the upside. But at the same time, they struggle at times and they feel a little more pressure when they've got Brett Hundley behind them, when they're with the ones. But we'll get them more work.

On Jeremy Castro:
He's not been cleared by the university yet.

On if he expects him soon:
I don't know. And quite frankly, I'm not really allowed to talk about it other than to say he's been cleared by the university. We hope the best for him.

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