VIDEO: Mora on Thursday

The head coach talks about preparing for the new Tampa 2 scheme Nevada will run on Saturday and how excited he is for the game...

Jim Mora:


On being a prohibitive favorite:
I never have once looked at the line in my life. Don't really care. The game is played on the grass.

On Nevada's Tampa Two Defense:
It's not simple, it's complex. It just looks simple. I coached it for many years and am very familiar with it. As a matter of fact, I spent a lot of time with probably the architects of it, Tony Dungy and Monte Kiffin. So it's something that we have tremendous knowledge of. USC played it last year. We know what to expect.

On if they'll USC game tape in preparation for the Tampa Two:
No, not at all. We want to look at what Nevada's doing. It's not some mystical thing. It's just a defense. It matters how you play it. Now what you play, how you play it. And if you have the players, they're going to play it well. I don't want to minimize it, but for me it's all about the players not formations and plays, and they have good players and they're going to play hard.

On Randall Goforth:
He's probably our most experienced defensive back right now, in terms of the number of starts. I don't know if that facts but kind of my feeling. You'll have to check on Stan or Brandon Simmons to see how much they've played, but at least of the young guy he's got the most starts. He's got versatility, he can play corner, safety and nickel. He'll play safety in this game. He's a pretty cool corner, he has good ball skills. The stage doesn't seem to faze him. I want to see him improve as a tackler. This will be the first time we've done real live tackling against someone other than our guys. We'll be interested in seeing how he does.

On the variations in the college game:
Everybody has their wrinkles. But I think you see more variations in offensive schemes, formations, motion, personnel groups, unbalanced looks, kind of things that aren't typical on a week-to-week basis in college football. I think this is why. You only have so much time to spend with your players in college. There is a 20-hour rule. Three of those hours go towards the game. So really 17 hours of meeting and practice time during the week. And they've got a lot of other things on their plate. They've got school. There is a social aspect of being a college student. They are still maturing and figuring their way out. So I think you have to simplify your scheme. We'll see very simple run and pass schemes. But what you'll see is a wide variation of formations and the window dressing to confuse teams. You see much fewer concepts than you do in the NFL.

On if it levels the playing field:
A team comes in with an unorthodox offense, they can shock you, no matter who you are. If you had enough time to prepare. Maybe you don't. 17 hours isn't a lot of time to prepare. It sounds like a lot, but it's really not. I think its a way to level the playing field. Plus you see more mobile quarterbacks. It's fun. It's a challenge every week. It certainly doesn't get boring. You have to every week, kind of re-think your defensive game plan.

On this week's game week compared to Rice last year:
I don't know, that was so long ago. We're playing on Saturday instead of Thursday. We're playing at home instead of the road. But the same feelings bubble up. The same anxieties, nerves. I get a little edgy on the first game week. I guess I get edgy all the time, but probably a little more edgy the first game because there is so much unknown and you put so much work into it. I think people sometimes draw immediate conclusions from what they see. And the team that we are Saturday night, I don't think it will be the team we are the rest of the year. We'll evolve and we'll change and hopefully we'll get better the whole year.

On if they're trying any new things this week:
No, we're trying to win. It's not like we're 'see if this works.' We've got a game plan, it's specific to try to take advantage of the things we do well and maximize our players abilities. You always have to adjust during the game so certainly, if you want to put it like that, I guess you could. For us, I don't ever approach a game like that. I might approach a practice with 'hey, lets see how this works'. But never a game. You're locked into a game. You better be at least.

On Nevada's defensive inexperience:
We typically prepare for scheme, more so than players. Especially on offense. We'll identify specific impact players that they have. You really have to put a star next to their names and say this is a guy you have to pay attention to. But we prepare for schemes not necessarily players. Same thing on offense. You prepare for a scheme, not players. While you're recognizing that a quarterback or a receiver or a running back may have some special attributes, you certainly have to be aware.


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