Coach Mora on Saturday

Jim Mora talks about Eric Kendricks' injury, Isaac Savaiinaea's ability to replace him, and the mock game UCLA went through on Saturday...

Did you get everything out of the mock game you were hoping to get?

I thought it was awesome. I was a little worred - we went to the Lakers game last night as a team and we got back here late and the start of practice was a little bit ragged. But once we got into that mock game, I thought it was excellent. I'm glad we did it. We tried to treat this last week exactly like we'd treat a normal week with regard to how we practice. Except for the fact that as you guys saw, we did make the young guys work and got Asiantii a lot of work. But I thought today was great; I loved it. We didn't tackle, but it was physical, it was good. We got a ton of situations. I was really happy with it. I wish we had done it last year.

What's the status of Eric Kendricks?

He had surgery yesterday. There was kind of a lot of back and forth going as to whether or not he should get it done and the general consensus was that he needed to get it done sooner rather than later. They went in and they found some loose bodies. He's been playing hurt all year. He had very successful surgery. He actually was not doing good this morning, just from the anesthsia, but he should be weight-barring within the next day or two. So we expect him to make really great progress and be back for spring ball. He hates to have to miss the bowl game, but it was just extremely painful for the kid and he just wouldn't have been effective. So the best thing for him to do was just to go get it done right now. These last few weeks he tried to fight through it, but it just became too much.

How much pain was he in?

You guys remember, he had that surgery last year. You remember, he had that little ankle tweak? Maybe he didn't have surgery, I thought he had a little scope. I could be wrong, obviously. But he's been in pain all year. No, remember, he sprained it really badly in spring ball. And it's been really kind of off and on been bothering him since then. And it just got progressively worse as the year went on and he fought through it. That's just the kind of kid that he is, and eventually it got to be too much, so we decided to get it fixed. It'll give Isaac a chance to play more. We're going to probably play a lot of nickel because they go with some spread. So that's Jordan and Myles now. So, we'll certainly miss him. He's our captain and our leading tackler. But other guys will step up and play.

Will he be 100% for spring?

That's a great question. I don't know. I think it depends on how his rehab goes. I think that the prudent thing to do is to take it as slow as necessary to make sure that he's full speed for summer. You know how EK is, he's going to push push push. I think it's too early for me to tell you what he's going to be doing in spring. I would anticipate something though.

How do you feel that Isaac has filled in for him this season?

You know what, I think Isaac's done a nice job. I think Isaac's a good young player. He doesn't have the experience of EK. That hurts on occasion, but Isaac is a very mature kid. He's not overwhelmed by this game at all. It's not too big for him. He just plays.

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