VIDEO: Mora on Tuesday

Jim Mora talks about dealing with freshman egos, how he addressed Tahaan Goodman's tweet, and how the secondary is developing...

Jim Mora on Tuesday:


Opening statement:
I was impressed with the way they came back to work today. With a really good mindset and focused in with what we have to do for New Mexico State. It was a good practice and a good frame of mind. I think what our kids are excited about is trying to continue to reach their potential and finding what that potential is. That's what you want out of them. It's been a good day so far. I expect them to come out tomorrow and have a better day. But I'm encouraged with how they came out today, locked in and focused and upbeat. It was a good say.

On freshman playing time:
What matters to us is in between these fences and on the field on Saturday's. Our number one objective is to win football games, obviously. We're going to put the guys on the field each week that are going to help us win football games. I think the guys, each week, you're going to see different formations, different amounts of playing time. Some of those young guys were a little bit stunned that they didn't get into the game on Saturday. We played who we thought at the moment was going to help us win it. I think it will be different every week. We're very pleased with these kids. The way they're coming along, their attitude, their work ethic. I've had to have a conversation with a few of them, and just explained to them, the fact that you didn't get the playing time on Saturday that you did against Nevada, doesn't necessarily reflect how we feel about you, it's not a reflection of your work ethic, it's just a reflection of how the game went. Every game is different. And they have to always be ready, and always be prepared to go in there and compete. It's hard for some of them, it's an adjustment. These UnderArmour All-American's, these Parade All-American's, these 4-and-5 star recruits that have never sat on the bench and now they're sitting on the bench. What these guys have to realize is that it's always going to be about the team first. It's not always an easy lesson to learn, they're all learning it.

On Tahaan Goodman:
Tahaan and I had a conversation yesterday, a positive conversation. He's a competitive kid, he comes out here every day and works his tail off. Twitter, as we know, is the world we live in right now. For me to ask these kids to not use Twitter, would be ignorant, I think. But to use it responsibly, is ok for me to ask them to. I think sometime we become too reactionary. Heck you guys know I'm one of the most reactionary people around. I think that just because I have that experience, sometimes help me deal with the kids who react. And they don't need to put everything out there. You know what, though, sometimes you need to go through things to learn. That's what college is all about. It's about learning, and not just in a classroom, it's learning on the field, off the field and they're learning it. He didn't mean anything malicious by it. He's a good kid, he's a good natured kid and he's just feeling a little frustration by it. And it is what it is, no harm, no foul.  I think it's a lesson to be learned, and a forum to be heard. But you just have to make sure you're presenting the right message at all times. It's easy to type something up, press send and then you never get it back. It's a hard lesson to learn. But I think that I know these guys well enough to know when someone is being malicious, someone is being selfish or someone is being emotional and just making a mistake. With regards to Tahaan, it wasn't five minutes that he said that, that he texted me and said 'Coach, I just posted this, I want you to know what I meant.' And we had a great conversation. Like I said, he's a really fine young man, and I'm really glad he's here.

On how often he has to police that:
Daily. Daily. That's my responsibility. And it's not just Twitter, it's Facebook, it's being out in the community. Like I just said they're kids, still, some of them. Or, they're young adults. Some people don't like when I call them kids. They're young adults. They're maturing. This is college. They're still in the educational process. I don't mind it. I think it's a real important part of my job. I have kids the same age. I have a kid his (Goodman's) age, the exact same age, a freshman in college. I know what's going on in their minds, or I think I know what's going on in their minds, maybe I don't.

On ego management in college as opposed to the NFL:
It's easier. You have to do a little de-recruiting sometimes. But it's easier, they're more impressionable. We had a great session this morning. It was kind of random that it just happened, but we talked about Bill Russell this morning. I showed them a video of Bill Russell, and I've gotten to know Bill Russell pretty well over the years. And in my opinion, the greatest winner in the history of team sports. Played 21 years of organized basketball and won 18 championships. He was the only player in the history to win a national championship, a world championship and an Olympic championship in the same calendar year. And in talking with him over the last 5-6 years I've gotten to know him, I've written down all these quotes he told me or read, everything for him was about team, his ego was about the team winning. And it just seemed like this morning, and I was planning to talk about it already, it's kind of the right message for those young guys, to realize it's about the team. It's not always easy for these guys who've always been superstars, but they're getting it.

On Priest Willis:
He was hurt and our corners are playing well. You can make an argument that Fabian got beat on that touchdown, but he was right there, Brandon got beat on a slant and go. We wanted Brandon in there because he's a taller go. Priest hadn't played yet. He missed the first game because of his shoulder. We wanted to get him in on special teams, he played quite a bit and did a pretty good job on kickoff. I expect as the year goes on, because he's a talented kid, and gets in better shape, remember, he didn't have the benefit of the offseason work here at UCLA that some of the other guys did, so he's a little behind in his conditioning, but he's a hard working kid, he wants to be a great player, and a good teammate and you'll see more and more of Priest Willis.

On the potential for an emotional hangover:
I already talked to them about that and we addressed that. We're right on track. I opened this whole week with that, it got addressed.

On if the secondary has proven something and calmed his worries:
They have. Anytime you go out and play and get that experience, it's going to build your confidence and I think they played very well. Like I said, we'll continue to work some of those young guys into the rotation. I've been impressed with Anthony Jefferson, specifically. The way he's played and the way he's tackled, and managing things back there, a guy who moved from corner to safety. I think Ish has played well, Randall has been solid, Fabian is continuing to get better. They're going to have their setbacks sometimes because they are young and they don't have the experience but I think we're making real progress back there. Now, when we get up against a real live passing team, a team that drops back and slings it 60 times a game or 50 times a game, then we'll really find out what we are. I know we have New Mexico State on our schedule then we have a bye.

On Myles Jack:
Oh man. The first time I saw Myles, his little brother Jalen and my son Ryder, played junior football together. I remember when they showed up from Georgia and they showed up at this place called Wilburton. He had on his shower shoes, white socks, grey sweats and a t-shirt. I asked 'how old is that kid' and he said he's 12 and he's already jacked up. He's just a really good kid. His mom is a good friend of mine and my wife's and we've known her forever and just seeing him grow into a mature, serious, conscientious young man. For a true freshman, he's well ahead of the curve in all those aspects and then the physical part, it's pretty obvious when you watch him play. He never gets tired, he's quick as a cat, he can run, he can jump and anticipate and has really good football awareness and then he comes out here and he's a hard worker. He seems to just get better every day and that's what I saw when he was young. He's just gotten better. He was a running back back then and no one wanted to tackle Myles Jack when he was a Bellevue Wolverine, I can promise you that.

On if he'll play offense this year:
Yep. At some point. Not yet. Right now, we just have to let him settle in. He's really playing two spots right now on defense. He's playing outside linebacker and then he plays the dime position in our nickel and dime position so he's essentially playing inside and outside linebacker. So I think right now, the best thing to do is let him concentrate on those things. Plus the way our running backs are playing, Jordon's playing well and Paul's playing well and Steven's playing well, Malcolm is coming in and doing some good things, it's not like we necessarily need to put him in there.


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