VIDEO: Mora on Tuesday

Coach Jim Mora talked more about the challenge of going on the road to Utah, new co-offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson, and more...


Opening statement:
So far, it's been a good week of practice and we'll finish it tomorrow and polish it up then head up to Salt Lake City. I haven't played there before. Heck, a lot of our team hasn't played there before, so we're looking forward to going in there. We've heard it's a hostile environment, I know it's sold out and i know they're wearing their black. I think it's a great challenge for us. I get the feeling that our players are excited about it and focused. One more day tomorrow and then we head out.

On if the team is ready for their first conference game of the season:
I feel like they understand the ramifications of it. I feel like they're focused. I feel like it's been a good week. I think that having a bye last week has helped us this week because school started, so I think we're in a good spot. But, all that said, we have to still go out and perform. We've got to go up there and compete and accept the challenge and it's a great challenge.

On Utah's two tight end offense:
I don't know that it's a formation or a grouping. Dennis does an excellent job of taking advantage of weaknesses he may perceive in a defense. And every defense has a strength and every defense has a weakness and Dennis has always been outstanding at exploiting things. I had a chance to work with Dennis in San Francisco and he's a great offensive mind. He's very creative and very aggressive as a play caller. I have a ton of respect for Dennis. I like him as a person. He'll have some things drawn up that we haven't seen and we'll just have to react to it.

On Lane Kiffin:
I certainly feel for Lane. He's a friend of mine. You never like to see anyone lose their job.

On if the team is tougher heading into Pac-12 play this year compared to last year:
I don't know that I want to use that word yet. But I think that we understand. Maybe I understand it better. So I think we're a little more focused. I don't know that I want to use that word tough yet. We'll see. We've worked really hard this offseason on mental toughness. Being a consistent, mentally tough team. We've got some great tests coming up to see where we are.

On what he hopes to prove in a hostile environment:
I hope we can build on what happened the last time we went into a hostile environment, which was Nebraska. We handled it well. Like I just said, it's about consistency and mental toughness. Being able to go into a place that there is 45,000 people against you, and you're taking your 70 in there and you're not letting the environments creep in your head and you're playing good solid football. So I think its mental toughness and maturity and that's what I'm excited to see.

On if he's nervous playing in a nationally televised game:
We played in nationally televised game at Nebraska. In front of 91,000 people coming off a really tough week. So it's not like its our first exposure to this kind of environment. You're always nervous before a game. If you're not nervous before a game, it usually means you're not prepared. So I hope they're nervous. I'll be nervous.

On if this game is a litmus test for them:
They're a very tough team. They play disciplined, they play hard, they play tough. They're aggressive, they're big. In terms of the Pac-12, yes. I don't want to keep going back to Nebraska, but Nebraska was pretty physical, pretty big and pretty tough too. So I just think it's a great challenge for us. Pac-12 play. We're in the jungle. You can't mess up now. You can't have a slip up. I think we're excited for the challenge. I think we're ready to play a hard, physical, tough game that may come down to the last game. We'll see. Hopefully it doesn't. But if it does, I believe we're ready for it.

On all the Pac-12 teams ranked:
I think it speaks to the quality of football in the Pac-12. It's in my mind, it's always been a powerful conference. I've been involved with this conference since I was a little boy. And I've always had a great deal of respect for the teams in this conference. And for this conference to start to be mentioned in the same breath of what everyone thinks is the pinnacle of football, the SEC, I think it says a lot about what we're doing out here And I don't mean here at UCLA, I mean in the Pac-12. It's exciting. And we want people around the country to see what we're doing.


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