We're excited about this opportunity to go to Eugene. We're excited about the challenge of however you look at it, one of the top-ranked teams in the country. It's a great challenge to go on the road for the second week in a row. We're a young developing team, we're in the infancy stages of what we want to be and this is just a great opportunity for us to get better. You couldn't write a better script for us, coming off a tough loss to Stanford. Getting a chance to go up to Autzen, and playing against this group, it keeps you focused, that's for sure. I saw it in the way we practiced today. It should be great. If you love to compete, which these guys do and the coaches do and I do, these are the kind of games you just get going for.
Jordon James is getting closer, not sure where he'll be. We got good reports back on Simon Goines, so we're hopeful he'll be ready on Saturday. Eric Kendricks, as you saw, practiced today. We put him in a red jersey, but he practiced and he looked really good and feels good. Conor McDermott, I'll just tell you right now, that he will not be able to play. He separated that shoulder again, it popped out and they had to pop it back in on the field. Here's what you do- you line up 11 on every play, hopefully not 10, hopefully not 12 and you compete your butt off and that's what our plans are.
On the young offensive linemen:
You know Caleb and Alex, it's a challenge for them every week. Especially these two weeks, going against really fine players and different schemes. They're doing their job. They have their mistakes, and their space outs and their mental errors. You saw it the other day, they would fire out before anyone was in their stance. I think you're going to see that from young guys. But what's important is that they come out here every single day and work hard and it's important to them to get better. And we're confident that the more they play they're just going to get better and those things are just going to go away. I believe last week we started seven true freshman, when you include the punter, against one of the best teams in America and we took it down to the end. Was 17-10 there with 2:29 on the clock and I think that's a testament to the way our guys compete and a testament to our coaching. We're in no way satisfied with the loss and we're not making excuses with the youth, but what I'm pointing out is our future looks pretty bright, when you get some of these guys playing and they go out and competed their tails off and I'm proud of those guys.
On Eric Kendricks' injury:
That would be a medical question that I am certainly not qualified to answer. It's on the tissue. I can't tell you if it's on the kidney tissue or just the back tissue, but it's on some tissue in there. He's going to be fine. He's going to be good. He practiced and he did everything today, except we kept him in the red, and he was out here rolling. Eric Kendricks, it's going to take a lot to keep that guy down. He's a great player, a tremendous competitor, a heck of a leader. He's got the spirit that you love.
On how crucial Simon Goines is to the offense:
If he plays, at least we can have some consistency since Utah when Torian went out. It was tough on Saturday because three of our top four tackles were out. We were scrambling a little bit. To Coach Klemm's credit, he did a good job patching things together. Hopefully Simon plays. If he doesn't, well I promise you this, there will be five guys out there and they'll be competing their tails off.
On Marcus Mariota:
Marcus is a really good football player. He's one of the best I've seen. I've seen some good ones. And I don't want to rank them, but I'll just say this, I haven't seen any better. I love this kid. I got a chance to meet him at Pac-12 Media Day. What a great kid. Plays with great composure, poise, sees the field well, has an excellent release, can run, never panics, has speed. I had a couple guys ask me last night, NFL guys, ask if I thought he could play at the next level, and I'm like 'have you not watched him?' He'll rip it up at the next level. This guy is ripping it up at this level. He's special, really special. I love watching him play. I don't know how excited I am to watch him play on Saturday night. There are some (NFL) teams up there who can use a quarterback. If they could have a supplemental draft today and took him, that would be awesome.
On if Brett Hundley was picked in that supplemental draft:
That wouldn't be so awesome.
On how you rattle Mariota:
It's hard to rattle him. Just watch his face. Watch his facial expressions in a game, on TV, he never looks rattled. Never. I think that the important thing to do is that you have some balance in your rush. You do an excellent job in coverage. You keep your shoulders square on defense. You tackle well. You understand that he's probably going to make some plays on you with his legs and he's probably going to get out of trouble and throw it down field a little bit. And you don't panic, you just regroup and move on to the next play. I think some teams panic and get caught up in the emotion of the play and then the next play turns into a negative and I don't think you can do that.
On why Mariota's not a system guy:
He's 6-3.5, a rocket arm, incredible intelligence, great poise, 4.4 speed, fearless attitude. He just can do it all. It wouldn't matter what system he is in, he'd be excelling
On Oregon's other weapons:
They've got weapons all over. They've got weapons all over the field. It's just a challenge. We've got a defense with some speed on it though, it gives us a fighting chance. So we're going to go out and compete. I don't know how it's going to end up, but I know this, the UCLA Bruins are going to compete their tails off on Saturday.
On if Oregon is UCLA's biggest test against speed:
So far. I haven't looked at the teams we're playing in the future, and where they are in terms of speed. But this team has runners all over the place. It's great and I'm fired up about it.
On Oregon's versatility on offense:
The thing about Oregon, there is this misconception that they sling it all over the yard. They run the football and they're extremely balanced. They might be the most balanced football team that we've faced. Stanford was balanced but a little more focused on the run, but Oregon is balanced. It's not just about the pass, it's about the run too, so it's really about all 11. Being in the right spot and having trust, and like I said, not panicking and understand, they might catch a ball or two, they might make a play, that's how their built. It's lining up and forgetting what just happened and moving on.
On if there is a different feeling in the locker room this week:
These guys are really consistent and that's what we're trying to be. Regardless of who we're playing, where we're playing, what the ramifications are, I think the way you go with consistency is you try to build a consistent mindset every week and not get up for one week and then have another game that might not be as impactful, then get back up and then get back down, because then you play like that. What we're trying to grow here, and we're growing, it's just not in bloom yet, it's a consistency of preparation and a consistency of performance and taking everybody as a serious challenge and taking everybody seriously every week. I think that's the best way to become a great football team.
VIDEO: Mora on Tuesday