Jim Mora talks about the running back situation heading into the opener:
We had a good morning and practice. We're locked in. Focused on some certain areas today, red zone, first down. I like where we're at. Tomorrow we'll come out and go through a very light practice before we travel and then we'll come out on Friday in Virginia and like we normally do have an up-tempo practice, go visit the stadium and get into our normal routine. A little different since we're traveling on Thursday but nothing our guys can't handle. We try to put them in uncomfortable situations all the time so I don't expect there to be any issues. We're just excited about the game. San Bernardino would be a little uncomfortable for them. I really feel like they're focused and excited to play the game. They've been banging on each other through spring and through the summer and the last couple of weeks here and it's time to play someone else. So it's time to get focused on that.
On if there is a way before the first game to tell if a team is truly ready:
No, I wish there was. You have your suspicions but you never know until you go out there under live conditions, the scoreboard is on and it counts in the wins and losses column, but I suspect we'll do well.
On if he likes the hype:
We just ignore it. Our motto is ignore the hype, ignore the noise. I don't think it affects our team. I have to answer the questions, but our players don't read the newspaper or listen to talk radio. They watch ESPN or play video games or maybe are on the internet, but they don't focus on those things. I think we did a good job of ignoring it.
On some at ESPN picking them to win the title:
Well there is always going to be stuff out there but our guys have done an amazing job of focusing on what matters. Its as focused a team I've been around. How that plays out throughout the season remains to be seen but I feel good about their focus.
On his biggest concern:
I have a gazillion concerns. I don't know that I have a biggest one, but I have a lot of them. As you know, I'm a micromanager, so I worry about a lot of things so I can't really specify things.
On if he feels better about the pass rush:
Well I never felt bad about the pass rush at all, in fact, I've always felt good about it. I think my statements were about where the pass rush would come from since Anthony Barr is now starting in the NFL and Cassius Marsh is doing a good job for the Seahawks so I know we have guys that can do the job. But I never felt bad about it, I always felt good about it.
On if they'll go running back by committee:
My opinion on running back by committee, if you look at football in general, not so much high school but college and the NFL, everyone plays multiple backs. You can't expect one running back to take 80 snaps, it doesn't happen like that, they're not physically capable of it. I don't think we're different than any team in college or professional, you have to have multiple backs that can play for you and win for you and we're fortunate to have guys like that.
On if the rotation will be similar to last year:
I haven't given it a though, it's something organic as the game goes on and we'll see who's doing what, and who's having a good day and may be struggling and what types of runs we're trying to feature but there is no set in stone formula, it's got to be fluid.
On Nathan Starks:
That's a great question because he's really impressed me. It started the first time we worked on Virginia, and all of a sudden, I went up to him and was like 'who are you, where have you been'? We saw it during the service team a little bit. He looks explosive and confident and his ankle is healthy and he's gotten some weight back and he's gotten over the hump from training camp. He seems to be really playing well.
On if other guys on Scout Team showed out:
Giovanni battles his tail off every play, and going he battles and battles and battles and he's going in there against Kenny Clark and Ellis McCarthy and he's like 250. I love the spirit of that kid. No one has ever heard his name until right now when I said it. Guys like that are the fiber of your team and I love them.
On what he expects from Virginia:
I think they'll be very motivated. The first game out of the chute, everyone is very excited, just like we feel its time to go against someone else, I'm sure they feel the same way. I don't really worry about the other team and their psyche, it's about us and our focus and I feel good about where we're at. We have to go out and do it on Saturday.
On sizing up Virginia:
We prepare for our opponent, that's why we have practice. We give our team their offensive looks and defensive looks and special teams looks but when it comes to Saturday, it's about being up to our standards, so we spend the week preparing for our opponent but on Saturday it's about our standards.
On if he buys into momentum:
I don't know that I buy into momentum. I think every game, every week, every practice, every event, I've never been a momemtum guy.
On Owa's excitement for Saturday:
I think he's excited. Owa's not real demonstrative. He doesn't necessarily show his feelings. I have to believe he's excited. It's been over a year. Just being out there will be exciting for him. He's a good football player and a captain on this team and I think he'll have a really good game.
VIDEO: Mora on Wednesday
Bruin Report Online Top Stories
Jedd Fisch on State of UCLA's OffenseApr. 29 -- UCLA OC Jedd Fisch talked after the spring game about what has to happen between now and the 2017 season...
Bruin Report Online4:49 PM
UCLA Spring Game ReportApr. 29 -- UCLA held a game Saturday in Drake Stadium to wrap up its 2017 spring practice schedule, with quarterback Josh Rosen putting together a solid late-first-half touchdown…
Bruin Report Online4:40 PM
Rosen Talks Offense, Relationship With FischApr. 29 -- UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen talked after the spring game about the offense, his relationshp with Jedd Fisch and where he is in his comfort level with it...
Bruin Report Online4:29 PM
Jim Mora After UCLA Spring GameApr. 29 -- UCLA coach Jim Mora talked after the Spring Game, about the new offense, what he's optimistic about and where the team needs to go between now and the 2017 season...
Bruin Report Online4:17 PM