VIDEO: Mora on Thursday

Coach Jim Mora talked Thursday after practice about Nevada preparation work, the difference this fall compared to last, and related an interesting story about the team in a hotel last year...


Opening statement:
We got some more Nevada work in and did some situational work and came out and had a good practice. I like where we're at, at this point, and we're getting healthy and I think we're getting our legs back and we're closing in on that first game and that excitement is starting to build so it was a good day for us.

On Anthony Barr:
He was here today.

On the overall health compared to last year:
A lot better, a lot less guys missing in San Bernardino. I think they're in better shape and they're bigger, faster and stronger. I think Coach Alosi has done an amazing job with them and I think they had a full offseason with him and knew what to expect, they got themselves physically prepared. We practiced basically the same, and you take last years schedule and match it with this years schedule, it's almost exact.

On the battles between Shaq Evans and Ishmael Adams:
I feel good because those guys get after it. Two very good players competing their tails off, you love to see that. A couple of starters in the Pac-12 that get the chance to battle every day and it's making them better. That's how it works. The 1s go against the 1s. Fabien is on the other side going against Jordan Payton and Devin Fuller and Devin Lucien. It's pretty typical of our practice.

On Devin Lucien toning things down:
He's growing up, he's getting older, he's experiencing what things are like. I've been really impressed with him from that standpoint, and from the way he's performed at this point. I think he's just growing up, I guess. I don't want it to sound like he was immature, but he's growing up. And it's good to see.

On the personality of each positional group:
Each group has their own personality on a football team. To me the goofiest is the offensive line. Nobody ever sees it because no one ever talks to them. They're over there by themselves but they're usually the goofiest. The DBs and receivers, they're usually a little bit full of themselves. But, they all seem to get along really well.

On the dullest positional group:
I think that the dullest position is running back. My experience is that running backs are kind of dull. Maybe it's because they get hit so often. I don't know. I was about to say kickers and punters, but who knows what they're doing over there. But O-Line guys are always so close-knit. They're kind of goofy and they're big and sometimes they're awkward and they're funny. They like to just hang around together.

On a great offensive line story:
Talking about the offensive line, last year before the Rice game, I do bed checks before the games. I go in to like 3-4 offensive linemen rooms, and there is no one in them. I'm getting pissed. I walk in to Jeff Baca's room and the whole offensive line is in there, it smells like, it's just the most rancid smell you could ever get, Baca, they've all got their shirts off, they're laying around the bed, and on the bed, Baca has a shower cap on. They're not playing card, they're not playing dominoes. They're just laughing. It's the funniest thing you've ever seen. These big, gigantic offensive linemen, without their shirts on, farting. It was just unbelievable. So that's what the offensive linemen do. I laughed and it kind of became a tradition every week. 'Hey, can we be in Jeff's room for bed check.' Yeah, of course you can.

On the pass-rushers:
I think you have to have different kinds of pass rushers. Obviously speed on the outside is important. But quickness on the inside, being able to beat a guard, especially if you get singled up, when we play in a nickel, we'll put a nose in to that gap between the guard and the center, and try to get Cassius matched up on a guard, last year, Owa and Cassius. And then you want some guys who can bullrush as well, and push the pocket straight back. So I think you're not looking for one trait, but a number of traits. And different guys and I think we've got that mix. To me, Cassius has unusual quickness on the inside. Anthony Barr and Deon Hollins, coming off the edge, are probably as quick as any two you'll find in college football. They still have to produce, but they have it in them. Aaron Wallace can rush the passer, Myles Jack can rush the passer. You can get some push inside out of Eddie, you can get some push inside out of Ellis, so I kind of like the mixture we run.

On how much further along the receivers are:
A lot further along. I think a lot of it has to do with them being in the system for a whole year. Being with the same quarterback. At this time last year, we'd just decided on the quarterback, but they've had a whole season with Brett, a whole offseason and a whole camp, doing the same thing with the same guy throwing it, so they have a better feel. Just taking to the technique that Coach Yarbs has taught them, I just see a really great group. You add in the fact that Devin Fuller is now a fulltime receiver, with his skill-set, it makes a solid group. Every day, it seems like, you guys watch it, Devin or Shaq comes up with some spectacular catch.

On when he saw Fabien Moreau becoming a corner:
Late in the season last year, he wasn't getting a lot of reps in games, he got a few snaps, but in practice, he got a little more comfortable with his backpedal, he was patient in bump and run. You see a lot of corners out there who look really pretty when they get off the bus. They look great in their stance, they look sweet in their backpedal, they can flip their hips, they can run and they can get into position to make the play, but then they don't make the play. And the thing that started to stand out about Fabien, and I think it came from playing so much offense, is that he can find the ball in the air quickly and he can make a play quickly. And that is what is really what it comes down to, at the moment of truth, and he does that. And then, he has that athletic arrogance that you're looking for in that position as well. He doesn't seem to be fazed by much. He gets beat, he goes back to the line and competes again. Once again, it will be interesting to see how he responds to a game environment, but I think he'll do well.


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