A good week of practice, we've got one more tomorrow, but I like where we're at after Thursday practice. I think they're excited about this opportunity and challenge going up there. Playing at Autzen Stadium is going to be crazy, wild, loud, hostile and I'm excited to see how we handle it. It will be a really great step and maturation in our football team. Eric Kendricks has had three good days of practice so he should be good to go. Still waiting to see where we are with the offensive line but it looks encouraging. Jordon James is making progress but he probably won't be able to play. But we're in good shape but we're ready to go. Well, we're not ready yet, but we'll be ready to go.
On what's encouraging about the offensive line:
It just looks encouraging. It looks like five guys that are going to go out there and play their tails off and I'm excited about watching them. I think it will be interesting to see how Simon responds and see if he can hold up.
On the coaching job Adrian Klemm has had to do:
Really, if you look at our offensive line, there are not many guys that are here now than when we first took over. I think it was pretty apparant that when we took this job there was a need to address that position, significantly. It was a position that needed to be addressed. But we addressed it through recruiting and that means you're playing a lot of young players and so the onus falls on Adrian to develop them quickly. That's a group that always has to play with a lot of continuity. Say you have a bunch of young guys that haven't played a lot but are playing together, and they're worried about themselves and it's hard for them to expand their field of knowledge other than what they're supposed to do. So that's difficult. Teaching the techniques, teaching the schemes, doing those things. I think he's done an amazing job. Not only with his recruiting, but with his coaching, patching things together, and keeping them confident and teaching them things they need to do, not being demanding of them but loving them up. The thing about Adrian, he'll get into them out on the practice field. But a half hour later, they're all sitting up in his office, eating lunch and watching tape together. And laughing. He's just got a unique relationship with them and he's a unique guy. He's hard on them out here. He doesn't let it slide and gets after them and expects a lot out of them. He expects a lot out of them. But at the same time, he's been an offensive lineman at the highest level. He's won three Super Bowl rings. So he really understands the position, not only from a technical standpoint but from the psyche of a lineman. He's able to convey that to those guys. I really know they respect him, trust him and appreciate him.
On the line being the spot that has to be right:
I think the two areas of your team that are difficult to hide are your offensive line and your secondary. You think about it, you're protecting two valuable commodities. On one side, it's the quarterback, or at least your ability to move the ball effectively. On the other side, it's the end zone, with the secondary. So much of that is continuity, cohesiveness and communicating with each other, how they move in space. If you've had enough change like we've had, it makes it difficult. It puts a huge burden on the players and a huge burden on Coach Klemm and it makes it a little more difficult for Noel to call plays. People will always complain about play-calling when you're not successful on offense, but when you're having to factor in whats happening up front, and who you're trying to protect and how to protect them, it makes it that much more difficult.
On Jake Brendel's snaps:
Good this week. In practice, he's been really good. The thing about Jake is he's very conscientious and he's very prideful and he takes things very seriously and he's worked hard on it. And I don't know where it came from. I know we're trying to fix it and I know he's desperately trying to fix it. If you golf, I guess you can get the yips. This week he's been good. He understands how pivotal good snaps are to our offense because it's a rhythm back there. There is a rhythm to everything we do. Brett getting the snap, the read game, whether he's going to hand it off or throw it, him being able to keep his eyes up the field and Jake understands those things. He's not ducking from it. He's not hiding. He's not blaming things. He's accepted it and will get better. He hasn't changed his grip, he hasn't changed his stance, he hasn't changed his glove or stroke as we can see. I think it's more just for any of us who've played golf, or been in a little slump or shoot free throws, it's just that. And with our help Jake can come out of it.
On what the hardest position to play is:
Offensive line without a doubt. Because so many things happen so quickly. You've got big guys across from you, breathing down on you, trying to get to your quarterback. Things change quickly. Right before the snap, a guy can go from one shade to another. They can go from a 4-man look to a 3-man look to a bear look. And it changes everything that you have to be able to process and you have to process it quickly. So when you add two freshman standing next to each other, it makes it even more difficult. But, here's the positive. This offensive line is getting better every day and has the potential to be great at some point. It's because of the types of players that they are, big, physical and strong. Athletic guys who really give a darn about being good and they're really well coached. And it's exciting to me to see the progress being made, but at the same time, it's frustrating because you don't want to see those mistakes. There is huge potential at that position and I think that's a huge credit to Adrian.
On if they're going running back by committee in Jordon James' absence:
I think he'll be back soon. But, I would always like to see a guy in a game, step up and be the guy. The last two games we've struggled and for two different reasons. Against Cal, they just had everyone up there and it was going to be hard to run the football so we threw it. Last week, we played a good physical defense and we didn't play very well and they stuffed us and made it difficult on us. You can find someone who is playing well and having success, then you want to ride that guy. But you've got to get a breather and as fast as we go on offense, you're going to have to rotate guys through. You just have to. No one can get through 90 snaps. Not at that position. It's just too difficult. If we can find a guy in a game that's really doing it, then we want to ride him, but if not, then you spread it out a little bit.
On if this week is important to establish the run:
We want to score points. Our offense operates best when we're going fast and that's what we want to do. We're going to go play our game. We're not going to try and slow the game down, run one play, snap it with one second to keep Oregon off the field, because that's not what we do well. Now, if you can run the ball well, that's a huge advantage, whether you're playing Oregon or anyone else.
VIDEO: Mora on Thursday