Jim Mora on Thursday of OSU Week

Nov. 5 -- UCLA Coach Jim Mora talked about playing at OSU, in potentially inclement weather, how many middle linebackers he's had this year, and more...

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On Soso Jamabo's development:

He's done a nice job of developing. He's got a long way to go but you see it happening.He's gained about 10 pounds but he's much more solid. He's learning to run with lower pad level. That's always gonna be a challenge for him because he's 6-3. There have been a number of runs where he gets tripped up getting out of the gate. But that will come with added strength and experience and certainty in what he's doing. We're really happy with Soso here and he has a bright future. He's not tentative at all now. Its part of getting used to the speed and physicality of this level. You come in, for any freshman, it's 'whoa, this is different' than high school football.  You're seeing a guy who runs with more aggression and he hits the hole with more intensity and certainty. He's a good player and will just get better.

On Jordan Lasley:

What I like about Laz is his focus is there. We've asked him to play multiple positions.  Receiver has a whole bunch of positions. Being a backup, he's a guy who can go in to any spot. We put him in last week and on that third down he caught, that was a new position for him.  That's a sign of maturity for him.  Sometimes the whole offense meets together, sometimes its the quarterbacks and receiver.  Every day is different.

On Kenny Clark:

Stability, consistency, size in the middle. An anchor. Every defense that wants to be good needs an anchor in the middle. He's been the one consistent thing in the middle for us. We've had issues at linebacker and safety earlier in the year.  Same with Eli since Eddie went out.  Kenny, at his position, his performance isn't always reflected in his statistics, but he's a dominant player. 

On if its unusual for a guy Clark's size to play 100 plays:

I think so but I think it goes to his conditioning and more than anything, his will.  His toughness, his physical toughness and his desire to be a role model.

On what Devin Fuller was doing well:

Everything because he wasn't just playing outside, he was playing inside, he was returning kicks. He was playing with intensity and he's a different guy. Over the course of his career, he's made tremendous growth.  One thing i've seen it is in his innate toughness.

On Matt Mengel:

Matt made strides last week.  I like to say he got over the hump. As you know, we have an alternate punting plan with Kenny Walker that gives us something different, but if he does what he did last week, we'll stick with that. I feel like he will and I feel like he's gotten over the hump.  

On how punters and kickers get over the hump:

You're continually refining your technique. When you talk kicker and punter, and they get limited chances, one poor kick is magnified and it becomes mental.  It depends on their personality. There are some kickers and punters who react to getting chewed up. Matt has told me before, 'yell at me, get after me.'  Typically you have to go easy on them and stroke their ego.

On having a different Mike backer:

It changes everything because if you have a different Mike, you tend to have a different Jack inside.  People say, 'well he's an inside linebacker' but there's two different positions. Its like saying he's an offensive lineman, there's a tackle, a guard and a center. Or saying he's a wide receiver, there's an inside guy and an outside guy.  The complexity of playing the position changes.  We have to keep reassembling the puzzle every week and get the pieces to fit.  If you want to look at the bright side, a lot of guys are getting a lot of experience. Down the line it will help us. And I see us moving in that direction.

On Jayon Brown:

He's done well and it's not easy to do. Your assignments change on every play. He played well last week.  He moved back to Jack.  Who knows where he'll end up. But he's showed a willingness to work hard.  I've been really impressed with Jayon.  

On Oregon State's challenges:

Their mobility is something we have to be careful with. That's something we struggled with.  Wehn you go on the road in a new environment, you have to have more focus. The weather could be a challenge but it hasn't affected us. We've been a pretty good road team. More than Oregon State, it comes back to UCLA and our coaches and our players executing the way we know how. 

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