Jim Mora's Sunday Teleconference

OCT. 12 -- Head coach Jim Mora talks about the disappointment of Saturday and what he thinks of the defense so far...

What are you seeing on defense right now that’s maybe causing the issues or that needs to be fixed?

Everything. We just need to continue to improve at everything that we’re doing. That’s our focus. In particular, our run fits. Fitting things up better on the run and in a more consistent way. Generating pressure on the quarterback with four so we don’t have to bring five and six all the time. Things like that.

After what you’ve seen of how Jeff Ulbrich has handled play calling on defense, how would you assess his job so far?

I think he’s doing a good job and getting better every week.

You guys were pretty stout against the run through the first few weeks. What’s changed in the last few outings?

Different quarterbacks. You look at some of the run totals around the country and it’s astounding to me some of the rush totals people are able to come up with when they have a quarterback who’s capable of forcing the edge like the last two guys that we’ve played. It makes it really difficult to defend.

I know we saw Malcolm Bunche come out of the game later, was that just a choice to get Conor McDermott some time, or was Malcolm hurt?

We’re just working some guys in there. We have a couple different packages. We’ve been using Conor more and more. I don’t know if you guys saw, but we have a little package where he’s in at tight end. Conor’s getting better all the time. He’s getting more confident in his shoulder, and he gets better every time he goes out there.

How do you retrench after the last couple of weeks and these disappointments?

It’s just like always. You go back to the details. AS I said yesterday, you have two options. You can quit, which we’ll never do, or you can get up, dust yourself off and refocus, and fight on. And that’s what we’ll do.

You guys have tried to keep that one week at a time mentality, but is there a need to remind the team that there are six weeks left and this thing isn’t over?

No, they know that. I think you have to be careful is what you say and when you say it and how you say it. I’ve tried to spend a lot of time thinking about that, and still be genuine in what I say. But these guys hang on every word, and so…I think it’s OK to have…we all know how crazy this season is, and how crazy this year of college football appears to be turning out. But the only way that you’re ever going to reach your objectives is to take a one-game-at-a-time mentality. And I think that’ll be easy for us to do now going forward.

In a kind of strange way, does that get a little bit easier now that some of the outside expectations are lifted?

Well, like I’ve said all year, I don’t think that should matter to us. But if we want to understand there is a human element to this. I think that no matter what I say, and no matter what we try to emphasize, there are some things that they’re just going to feel innately. I try to keep the pressure off of them by just trying to keep that one-week-at-a-time outlook, but I would say there’s a chance that that happens. It frees them up to just play. I don’t really like to admit to that, Chris, but I am admitting to it. I don’t mean I don’t like to question. I don’t like the copout feeling it gives me. I guess I’m just trying to be completely frank with you and not avoid the question. I don’t like to think in my simpleton mind that it should matter, but when I think about it big picture, I’m sure that it does. I think that you’re right. I’m complimenting you, believe it or not.

Just remember whenever you write anything the guy that should get all the blame is me, and not these players and not these assistants. I’m the guy that gets paid to do it the most, so I got the big shoulders, so if you’re ever in a situation where you need to blame someone, blame me. I wish you guys could see how hard these kids work and these coaches. It’s my job to shoulder the burden, so if there’s someone you need to aim it at, aim it at me.

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