VIDEO: Mora on Tuesday

SEP. 30 -- Coach Jim Mora talked Tuesday after the first early morning practice about the injuries, a player having surgery this morning, and some new players getting some playing time...

Opening statement:
It was a good practice today. These morning practices are great for our team. We come out with a lot of energy and focus. This is how we do it with school. It gives them the rest of the day to focus on their studies and tutoring and mentors and then they come back in the afternoon for the meetings. I think they like the morning, I like them, and I thought today was extremely productive. Getting ready to play a very good Utah team, tough, physical, coming off a difficult loss at home, so I know they'll have their neck up and it will be a great challenge. One thing for us, it's to be able to get back home. Three of our four games have been on the road and the one game we did have on the road, we had the largest opening day crowd in years at UCLA. I expect they'll be a great crowd on Saturday night at 7:30 and that's fun for us. We draw off their energy and we love playing at home. Great opponent, great venue, great crowd, it should be fun.

On Travis Wilson:
I've always had great respect for him. I just think he's a solid, smart quarterback. For a taller guy, he's kind of gangly looking but they run him effectively. Everytime you play, you get confidence, and you go on the road to win in the Big House and beat Michigan, that's good for your psyche.

On Anthony Jefferson:
He's got great versatility. He played all over the field. He played right corner, he played left corner, both safeties. He didn't play any nickel. He did it very, very well. At corner, he brings size. He's long. He's got long arms, height, reach and knows how to play the ball in the air. When we get bigger receivers, it's nice to get him back there. It's nice to get his speed back. You saw him in high school, I didn't, but I was told he was a heck of a high school player. Then he had the injuries, and the way he's fought back and the way he's playing last year and this year, you love to see it. His versatility is huge for us. Huge, huge.

On moving players around in the secondary:
That's a great question, we have to evaluate that every week. We have some versatile players. Ishmael is a versatile player, AJ is. Jaleel is versatile, but a little young. It's like on offense, you try to find the best matchup, we're trying to do that on defense in the secondary. We don't want to overdo it, because we want that constant.

On if its easier to play up matchups when he moves them:
It is if they;'re the right kind of guys. If they're smart, versatile players that get the scheme. I'm talking specific players, like Ish and AJ. Ish plays three different positions, he plays nickel, he plays safety and corner. And returner. And he's got a great feel.

On why they inserted Alex Van Dyke into the rotation:
The way he's practiced. He's made a jump. Early on, he looked really good. Then like a lot of young guys, he hit a little of a while. Things catch up to them. Then we were gonna redshirt him. Then he spiked again and he looks like a guy that can help us. I like his height and I love the way he works. He's a good blocker, he's smart. We'll continue working him in to the rotation, he's a good football player.

On what they saw from Takkarist McKinley:
A lot of speed. Obviously, his inexperience showed up, he didn't know to get in a two-point or three-point stance. But that kickoff he ran down on, he blew the guy up, that drew ooohs and ahhhs from the team. A real willingness to learn. He really wants to be a player. He's got things you can't coach, raw burst, explosiviness and speed off the edge. And we need that and are missing that.

On evaluating the pass rush:
It needs to improve. We need to win more 1on1 battles. We need to do a better job creating for those guys. It needs to improve. Our defensive play needs to improve. And it will. We're working hard at it.

On Kenny Orjioke:
He's going to have a procedure this morning. We thought it was a bruise. It might be minor, it might be something, but we'll know later. I'm hoping it's minor, only misses this week and then he's back. I won't know till they go in and look at it.

On Alex Redmond:
He'll be alright. He's a tough guy who loves to play. His position doesn't demand a whole lot of change of direction. We're doing that as a precaution right now. He just rolled his ankle. The way he ran off the field, you'd never know it was just an ankle because he sprinted off the field. I had no idea what was wrong with him until later, but he said he tweaked his ankle a little bit. He should be ok, I hope he's ok.

On Utah's defense:
Just like last year, physical, disciplined, they tackle well, cover well, good scheme, pretty simple but they do what they do very well.

On the growth of Ishmael Adams:
He's always had confidence in himself, but now I think it's a deep rooted confidence, and I think it's because he's made plays, he knows the system. And his work ethic is unbelievable. The reason he makes those plays is, one, he has talent, two, he knows the scheme but three he comes out and makes those plays in practice. He hates when a ball gets caught on him in practice. He competes every second of every day and then it shows up on the sideline.

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