Jim Mora's Sunday Teleconference

Sept. 27 -- Jim Mora talked about the win over Arizona and and the injury bug in college football...

After perusing the tape and everything, what did you see was happening on the defensive side? Was it tackling issues, was it schematic, was it people out of position?

It was all of the above. We missed an inordinate amount of tackles. We need to do a better job as a staff of adjusting. We need to play things with more exactness. So it's really just a combination of those things.

In spite of those things, you guys are right where you want to be heading into October in terms of your record. I was just curious, when you heard about all of the injuries, how do you talk to your team, and what's it like in the locker room when you're asserting to the team that you still have all of your goals in front of you?

We don't talk about it, to be completely frank. We don't address injuries with each other. I don't pull the old stand up in front of them and announce "this guy's out, someone has to step up and play better." That's just assumed. These are competitive young men that they don't need to be reminded of those things. Honestly, I've never addressed it. I haven't addressed it once.

Of the guys who have been injured, what has their role been?

They haven't had a role. They're all kind of fresh off surgery, so right now it's just the recovery from the surgery. We haven't had them do anything in terms of meetings or being on the field. It's also fresh for all of them, just kind of happened.

In terms of the defense, is it a matter at all of guys trying to redefine their roles?

No, it's just a matter of just needing to give them a chance with some positioning and having them play better. Obviously I'm concerned about it, but I know it'll get fixed. No. 1 I have a tremendous confidence in our players and I think they'll respond to the coaching they get this year. No. 2, we've played the run really well this year. So this is a different run scheme they went to when Solomon went down that we obviously didn't practice against much since this isn't something they did a whole lot, I mean, a little bit, but not to the extent that they did it in this game. So Like I said I'm not in a panic mode or anything. I know we'll get it fixed. Had we not been able to stop the run at all this year, then I might be a little bit more shook up about it, but we have stopped the run and we've done a nice job, so I'm not going to panic.

How's everything looking with Jayon and Bolu?

Good, they're both doing better.

When teams like Arizona are running out of the shotgun, and has a quarterback who can run the ball, how does that change things for you as a team?

It changes everything with how you have to approach defense. When you don't have to account for the quarterback as a runner, you still have to pay attention to him as a scrambler, but when you don't have to pay attention to him as a primary run threat in a run scheme, you can do a lot more in terms of your coverage and pressures and things like that. When you face a quarterback who is kind of a run-first guy, but not only that he's kind of dynamic and explosive like the kid last night, there's a tendency to sometimes to get a little on your heels on defense as a player because he's kind of got you either/or. That's not a fun place to be. But like I said we've done well against the run this year. We have a good scheme. We have players that care a lot. Obviously like I said I'm concerned, but I'm not anywhere close to panic. I believe that we'll get it fixed and move on in a really impressive fashion.

Did you see much of Randall on film?

No. He's played a little, but not a ton. So whatever he's played this year is what we've seen.

I think we've covered this ground before, but do you have things that you can attribute to for your success away from the Rose Bowl?

Well, we've won 12 in a row now away from the Rose Bowl. To me, it's all about preparation, mental toughness, composure, discipline, maturity, trust, belief that you can get it done. A bunch of guys that aren't ever intimidated by what are supposed to be hostile environments. Guys that are able to focus on the things that matter, and that's the things that are going on on the field. That's to me what I've seen in those twelve contests.

Winning conference games on the road, too, those are gold. That's got to give you guys an advantage going forward, if you continue to do this.

Well, I mean, that's the plan, to continue to do it. I think it all really kind of goes to our mindset which is, it really doesn't matter where we're playing and what the conditions are. We're trying to play to a certain standard, and that's how we look at the world that we're living in here, this football world. We're going to do our best to not be affected by things we can't control which is time of kickoff, mindset of our opponents, what color jerseys we're wearing or they're wearing, or the surface we're playing on, or the temperature, or whether the game is home or away. The goal is to see what time kickoff is and then get ourselves mentally, physically, and emotionally ready to play our best whenever, wherever, and against whomever no matter who it is. Everybody says that, but I think our guys have really truly embraced it.

It seems like there have been an inordinate and unusual amount of injuries this year in college football. What's your perspective on why that is, or if it's just kind of a weird year?

I don't know because I don't know what to compare to it quite frankly. I can only compare it to what it's been like here, not what it's like nationally. This is a sport where it's physical and there's a level of violence. There's going to be injuries. It always has been and there are always going to be. You see in the NFL guys get carted off. Ben Roethlisberger hurts his knee and he might be out for the year, I don't know. It's a byproduct of the sport, I think everyone understands that. I think one of the reasons that it might feel like maybe a little more than normal is it's just there's so much coverage of everything that we do now. It's just changed so much. Everybody knows everything about everything every day. And so when you shine a bright light, even if it's no different than it's ever been, it might look a little different.


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