VIDEO: Mora on First Spring Practice
Its good to be back out here and to get started. Its a good feeling. Like we picked up where we left off in San Antonio. Obviously some changes, some guys that aren't here. Some new faces. In terms of the energy, effort and focus, I thought it was a good start.
Devin Lucien is no longer with the football program. He's decided to go a different direction. I thought I knew what that direction was, but as of this morning, I don't know. But he will not be a part of this program any more. Ahmaad Harris was not out here today. He's got an off-the-field issue that he's got to take care of. Hopefully he'll be out here soon, but I dont have any thing definitive on that.
On the four new incoming players:
Zach Bateman , he's a big good looking kid who moved around well. It will take him a little while to get up to speed. Josh Rosen was out here and he made some throws. The way we'll rotate our quarterbacks, we'll focus on two a day to get the majority of the reps so they can get a concentrated group of plays. Today was not one of Josh's days. Josh Woods, he came out Sunday night, checked in to the dorms, and was out on the field at 6 am the next morning for a run. I think he'll adapt. He's a very smart young man. I thought he moved well out there. Nate Meadors was also out there and I don't want to be an instant evaluator but I like the way he moves his body. It doesn't seem too big for him or any of them.
On position changes:
Colby Cyburt is going to play tight end for us. He's slimmed down. Its a position he's played in the past and something he's expressed interest in doing. You want to get a guy like that on the field. He wants to contribute and that might be the place he can do it. I thought for one practice, he looked good. We moved Dwight Williams from linebacker to safety. Hard to tell how he did, but he flashed in the 1on1s. Watching him in the footwork drills, I thought he's got the skills to make the move. I'm glad we're able to find a place for him. Myles Jack, we're going to work him this spring at inside linebacker, what we call the Jack position. Its an easy adjustment for him. It gets him in the middle of the field where we can use his speed. If there is a disadvantage, some of the things he does in man to man, he's a little less involved in that.
Steven Manfro was out here and looked good in the pat and go. It was great to see him back out here. Randall Goforth you saw participated in the red jersey. He's coming off both shoulders. He was granted an extra year of eligibility. The thing with Randall is to pull the reins back so he doesn't go too hard. But having him in the red jersey should help. Just reminding him to be careful. It was good to see Simon out here today. He worked at right tackle. He looked more like Simon, trimmed down and not gimping or limping. He's on the right path to recovery. Denzel Fisher was back out here, Ryan Davis was out here. It was great to see Cam Griffin and he did more than I thought he would, but he looks athletic and pysical. I told Austin Roberts in warmups, I've never seen you on this field moving. He went through the individual and pat and go and moved well. He's carrying that brace but he looked good. Darren Andrews was back out here. The two guys doing a little, Kenny Orjioke, he worked out on the side with Coach Alosi and you probably saw the cast on Eli Ankou's wrist. He asked if I could tell you he came over here injuring it punching his moose, so he punched a moose. He went through individual but when it comes to contact, we'll have to be careful. Caleb Benenoch did some work, but by next week, he should be able to go full speed.
On former players helping with the team:
You probably saw Robert Thomas. He was out here and he's re-enrolled at UCLA to get his degree and that is fantastic. He had a great career here at UCLA and was a great player. He had expressed an interest in January to me when I went down to Oceanside at the school he was working at, in coming back, so he re-enrolled at UCLA and he'll work with us and its great to have a guy of his caliber. Librado Boracio is out here working with the defensive backs. And Ian Taubler, who medically retired and had stayed away from football for a while, he expressed an interest in being back out and getting involved so he was back out here.
On Adrian Klemm's return:
I'm not allowed to talk about the review process until its completed. It is what it is. Until he's able to come back, as a staff, we'll coach those guys up. Other than that, I really can't comment. Blake (Bentz), Dave Marsh, Noel, KP, its a conglommeration of guys in the meeting room. Its a good stuff and we'll have it covered.
On the quarterbacks:
I want to see progress. I don't believe on Day One that we'll come out with a clear feeling of a guy or the clear pecking order. I want them to gain confidence in themselves and their teammates and coaches to gain confidence. Jerry has the edge right now, he's the guy who's played. When you go in to a game like he did against Texas, not only does that build the internal confidence but your teammates have confidence in you. But seeing them make progress and set themselves up for San Bernardino for camp and really establish going in to camp is what we're looking for.
On Josh Rosen:
It was hard to focus in on him, I watched the 1on1. He didn't seem overwhelmed which is a good thing. I think part of that was he's been here since winter quarter, been in the weight room with them. So he's got some familiarity. The last time I saw him play was that Corona Centennial game and he looks the same. The ball comes out of his hand nicely. It doesn't seem too big for him and that's a good sign on the first day.
On Rosen's biggest challenge this spring:
Managing expectations. Whether its his expectations, the staff's expectations or our fans expectations. Realizing right now, he's supposed to be in high school with some good players and against good players. He's pretty well equipped and able to handle it. And one of the things we loved about him when we recruited him. He's about 6-4 and probably 210 pounds. He's been with Coach Alosi for the last several weeks. He doesn't look little. He looks like he fits in with Jerry and Asiantii and Mike. He comes in here highly acclaimed but all of those guys are going to fight. What's interesting is they way they compete but also help each other. Its good for everybody and good for your team.
On the role of Tom Bradley:
I think establishing the new concepts we're introducing. There aren't a lot but sometimes there is a little change in focus. When you hire a guy like Tom Bradley, we're sitting in the special teams meeting and he turns to me and says 'this is my 39th spring practice' and I'm like 'it's my fourth.' When you have a guy with that experience, to hear his idea and perceptions, its fun to be around and I think our players are refreshed to be around it.
On using more 4-3 with Bradley:
I'm always hesitant to talk 4-3, 3-4 because we play so much 4-3 principle stuff. If you go back and look at our season, the majority of the time, we ran four man fronts. We were in that structure a considerable amount of time. Every team has 4-3 concepts. Transfer the though from 4-3/3-4 to sometimes odd or sometimes even and that can be base or nickel defense. Every team I've ever coached has been that way.
On Bradley being at Penn State during the Jerry Sandusky scandal:
I think our university and athletic department in combiniation did a tremendous job of making sure we went through the process in the correct way. Did our research. You can use the word 'vet' but we were patient, we talked to a lot of people and sure in our decision that he was the right guy for this job at this time. I'm very comfortable. As long as the chancellor and athletic director are comfortable that we did our due diligence and I'm comfortable in our due diligence, I think we made the right decision.
On if there is a position he'll closely look at:
The secondary. Probably the safety position more than anything. With Randall back, Tahaan being a year along, Jaleel putting some weight on. I'm really focusing in on the safeties. I think we need to develop defensive line depth. You lose a guy like Owa, thats a helluva a player, and potentially a first round pick. I'm excited to see Tak McKinley. He came in at midseason and never got that isolated technique work. It will be great to see him over the next 14 practices. Other than the quarterback position, it will be the secondary and the safeties.
On the last time he was involved in a quarterback competition:
Our first year here, you'll recall we had Prince and Brehaut and Brett and we didn't decide on the starter until the 15th practice of fall. But they were all new to us. Every game and competition since that point, Brett is the guy. I didn't seem real odd to see Jerry or Asiantii or Mike because I've seen them but it will be fun to see where it goes.
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