VIDEO: Mora on Wednesday

Coach Jim Mora talked Wednesday after practice about the timeframe for some injured players to return...

Opening statement:
It was good today. We got a little bit of Nebraska work in, but it was mostly just working on fundamentals and our schemes. I thought it was a good day. This week has been a good week for us to work on two things- focus on getting back to the basics of football, the fundamental stuff. So often when you get into game week, it's about game-planning and things that are specific to the team you're playing so when you get a week like this, you can really go back and focus on some things you need to improve on that are independent of the opponent, so we we're doing that. And introducing a little of Nebraska, which is good for us. So it was another good day. We'll have another one tomorrow, just like today, full gear. It will be physical. Then we'll give them Friday, Saturday and Sunday to recover. Give them some time with their family, rest up a little bit and then we'll hit it back hard on Monday. It was good.

On things they're focusing on after watching the film:
There are a lot of things, really. When you win like that, you can find so many things. That's kind of a coaches deal, you go back and look through the things you can improve on. On defense, leverage and playing through. When I say leverage, being on the right side of the block. When I say playing through, being downfield with proper leverage. With our pass rush, not being too far up the field, and giving our quarterback an escape lane. We're not spinning inside and losing outside contain. Just communication from substitution to the end of the play. We had some unusual substitution problems for ourselves, Saturday night. We had them on offense last year but not on defense. On offense, just tempo, working faster, going faster, playing faster. Finishing down the field, just being more exact on our blocks and everything we do. It's really everything, we're back at the drawing board every day.

On why there were substitution issues:
It's not that there were more packages. It was a humid night, we were trying to rotate guys through and we, I'll put it on the coaches, if they're not going to sub, we can't sub, because then they can just snap the ball and go. It happened twice in the game, and to me twice is too much, it shouldn't happen ever. So it's just guys, one time Kenny Orjioke tripped over the chain. Things like that can't happen. I mean they're funny, when you win, but they're not funny when there are 10 guys out there on the field and he's getting there late. We try to look at the film, the TV copy and to get it all corrected.

On having an extra week to prepare for Nebraska:
I love having this extra week. I love it after the first game. The first game reveals so many things you're having to improve on. So having the extra week in here, where we can do that, is really good for us.

On if they'll practice early next week for an early kickoff:
It matters, I think it matters. We'll come out here on Tuesday and Wednesday and practice early, kickoff is at 9. We practice so early anyways, our guys lift at 5:30 in the morning and during the season we practice at 7, so it's not like it's a big adjustment for our guys. It's just not. But we're going to practice at 9 and maybe 11 a couple of days. I don't know what it's like (weather-wise) in Nebraska, is it humid or dry heat? That's alright, we were up at San Bernardino, we'll be alright. I don't think we need to be too concerned about the conditions or the environment. We just have to focus on executing and playing our games. I know that's coach-speak. But it's true, it really is.

On Marcus Rios:
I didn't know what to expect. Marcus, we didn't know what to expect. I was under the assumption with just what he'd gone through, that him playing this year was an absolute impossibility and really it's not. He's so determined. I wouldn't be surprised if Marcus is ready for the Utah game. It wouldn't surprise me at all. I don't want to put that pressure on him, but I wouldn't put it past him because he's a determined young man.

On Owa Odighizuwa:
Owa is a different story. Owa's a little bit different injury. Owa's dealt with two surgeries this offseason. Both to his hips. I love his progress, but I don't think we'll see him at all this year.

On Damien Thigpen:
You know, Thiggy came up to me yesterday and said 'can I take the red jersey off' and he feels like he's ready to be hit. I said let's just wear it one more day, which is today, and we'll take it off tomorrow and see how it feels. I think physically, he's in pretty decent shape. I don't think he's 100%. But I think now he has to go through the mental part of it. Being in traffic, taking some hits, things like that. He'll work through that. He won't play at Nebraska, but if he can be ready for our Pac-12 opener, that would be great. We'll have to see how that goes.

On if he has the same questions after the Nevada game:
I have questions, that's just the way coaches are, we're paranoid. Uptight and anxious. Trying to find the worst in everything. Yeah, you always have questions. But the questions are different. How are we going to handle going on the road and playing in a hostile environment, even though it shouldn't matter and it won't matter, it's still there. I want to see us handle it. I want to see us block it out like I know we're capable of. We really haven't been tested down field in the secondary, but I want to see that. The question is, Taylor Martinez is a an outstanding running quarterback and the kid we just played against on Saturday night had some success against us, so have we made improvements there enough to slow down Taylor. I think Taylor's probably impossible to stop but can we handle him. So those are some of the questions. Does our offensive line have the potential to be as good as I think they can be. We're going to get a real stringent test next week against Nebraska.

On what the young defense experienced against Nevada:
I think it gave them confidence. First of all, anytime they're out on the field, that experience is good for them. Getting a feel for the speed of the game, being under the lights. The speed, the tempo, I thought it was good for them and I think it will really help them going forward, but they have to continue to get better.


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