Jim Mora's Sunday Teleconference

Nov. 1 -- Read what Jim Mora had to say about injuries, linebacker depth, and more on Sunday after the game against Colorado...

Are you going to have to kind of see who you guys have before you get deep into preparations this week?

Well, I think we have an idea of who we don't have. We have an idea of a couple of guys who we may have. Our main issue right now, as everybody knows, is at linebacker and receiver. We've got a lot more depth at receiver, so we can withstand -- if we aren't able to play a couple of guys, we can withstand that. It's linebacker where it's shaky. Arguably after quarterback, inside linebacker is the most complicated position to play because there are so many things taking place around you and there are so many different calls you have to make and adjustments you have to make. It's just the nature of the position, and so it's hard to put an inexperienced guy in there and still run your full repertoire. For instance yesterday, in the second half, we were really restricted to playing just two defenses the entire time. That can make it tough on your players, but you don't want to make it tough on them the other way by calling stuff that they'v never repped in practice. Like I said yesterday, we're just continually trying to rearrange the puzzle and put it back together the best that we can.

Anybody you can share with us who's out this week?

I don't know. That's the thing. The guys that would be questionable -- Isaako, Josh Woods, Kenny Young, Stephen Johnson, Devin Fuller, Kolton Miller, Caleb Benenoch, Ishmael Adams, Marcus Rios -- I don't have a feel yet. I should have a much better feel for it tomorrow afternoon. Obviously Tuesday morning. Those guys are all questionable. But some of them are more questionable than others. We'll just see how they respond.

You've made it clear that you don't play woe is me and that injuries are just a part of the game. Does it get to the point, though, where it gets to be so much that you can't deny that it's affecting things?

But we're still 6-2, and that's the thing that's so encouraging, for me at least. And why I was excited about the win yesterday is because we're not sitting here making an excuse after a loss. We're pointing out some personnel issues that we have after a win. To me that shows the strength of our coaching staff and our players and the character and grit of our team. We're putting guys in there yesterday who really haven't played, or haven't played that position. I think a lot of people tend to believe if you play linebacker you just play linebacker, you can play any one of the positions, but they're all vastly different. You have different responsibilities, different adjustments, and it's more difficult than it might just appear to someone who's not intimately involved with it. That's why I was so excited to see things like Jayon go in and play a couple positions. The whole Josh Woods thing, I'm standing there and we just scored, and Scotty White comes up and he says "Coach, I think we have to burn Josh Woods' redshirt." And I said "why?" And he said "We've got to put him in." And it was right before a kickoff, so I thought he meant kickoff. So I say "No, no, no, get someone else to run down on a kickoff." And he goes, "No, I'm not talking about kickoff. Kenny's out, we don't have a Mike linebacker." And I said "Well, OK, we're trying to win the game, we can't play with ten." And Dick Butkus wasn't standing over there ready to go in, and it was Josh. And then Josh gets hurt, and then Cameron Judge goes in, and I don't think Cam has ever taken a snap at Mike linebacker. The other option could have been Cameron Griffin, but he's an outside linebacker, and you're talking about a guy who hasn't played a lot of football in his life, and he's making tremendous strides on special teams and he's becoming a guy that we think is going to be a good player, but he's not there yet. So those are the things that are frustrating, like I said, but you win. We're 6-2. And we're 6-2 overcoming some of these issues and I'll tell you the other great thing -- when you can get out of these games with a win, and all of these guys start to come back, you've built up quality depth and experience. That's how I look at it.

How was Kenny Young hurt yesterday?

He has an upper body injury.

When a guy is moving from outside linebacker to inside linebacker, what's the biggest adjustment with sliding over to the middle?

Well it's not just sliding over to the middle. It's like taking a corner and putting him at safety. If you have years and years of experience playing a position, it's a bit easier to move to a different position. But when you're just trying to figure out how to line up, because you've never been on the field, it's hard. Think about it this way -- if you're a left outside linebacker, you spend 90% of the game with the ball and the action to your right side. If you're a right outside linebacker, you spend 90% of the game with the ball and action to your left side. Now you put yourself in the middle of the field and the action is all around you and it changes your perspective. Angles change, play entry changes, how you take on blocks changes, how people block you changes, your perspective of the play in front of you changes, most certainly your assignment changes. It's a completely different world. And if you're a true freshman or you're a freshman and someone that's not played much football and you're asked to do that, it's almost impossible to be effective. Now a guy like Randall Goforth can go from safety to corner and be effective because safety is a spot where you see the whole field and the action is all around you, and corner, once again, it cuts the field more than in half. All of a sudden things are just to one side of you. Then he can go back to safety because he's been there and it's an easier adjustment. But for a linebacker, boy is it hard. It's really not easy and these guys are stepping up and doing the best job they can do and I'm really proud of them because they don't blink. And when we had to make plays yesterday on defense, when we HAD to -- we always have to -- but when the game was on the line, and if they convert that 4th and 4 you don't know what's going to happen, and then in the two-minute, and on the drive before that 4th and 4, there's plays that you have to make, and we made them. Nate Meadors makes that interception, and Cam Judge does a hell of a job. That's good stuff. It's how you build a good team.

Can you go into which ones are the upper body injuries and the lower body injuries that you mentioned?

I can, but I'm not going to. I never have understood the logic of giving your opponent any additional information that you're not required to give them. I think that's contrary to trying to win. I don't want to expose one of our young men -- and I'm not saying there are coaches out there who would try to attack an injury, because I don't think that, I truly don't -- but I just don't see the advantage gained in telling your opponent who's hurting, where they're hurting, why they're hurting, and at what percentage of 100% they are. I never really think it's something you want to do to help your opponent during the week. There's nobody that's playing football in week nine or ten that's 100%, I know that.


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