Jim Mora After Big Utah Win

Nov. 21 -- UCLA coach Jim Mora talked about the big win against Utah, how his defense stopped the Utes, Josh Rosen, Jordan Payton, and more...

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Opening statement:

It was a good win, obviously, against a very good opponent. A really tremendous team, Utah, the way they play defense. Just the way they play football, you really respect it. Anytime you lose in the last minute or the last play, as it was last week, you worry especially at this age of a little hangover effect. But I felt right from the get-go last week that our guys really came back with a real focus and a determination to get over that one and take advantage of the second chance they were afforded when Utah lost last week. We had a really good week of practice. We came out and we executed very, very well today.  Obviously, we would like to be more productive on offense. We lost two offensive linemen and I think that hurt us. When Alex Redmond went out and then when Connor [McDermott] went out we had to shuffle some things around. But I think most of the credit for our offense to struggle should go to Utah's front. That's about as good of a front as you'll find in college football. I know Alabama's a great front and there's some other great ones, but those guys are tremendous and very well coached and they play hard. What we did today is we won some battles outside. We felt like we could come in here and they were going to play a lot of man free, they were going to try to take away the run. And we felt like we could get some things done on the outside and we did. I thought Jordan Payton was spectacular again. He broke the UCLA all-time receiving record today. That's quite an accomplishment for him with some of the guys who have come through here.  Really, it keeps us in the hunt.  And all you can ask for is to be in the hunt.  We have to have the maturity to put this one behind us too and get focused on the next one on Saturday, because they keep getting bigger.  And we're excited about that.

On the defense against Utah:

They just played with a lot of discipline.  The first half and the first drive of the second half, they did a nice job running the football.  I have a lot of respect for Travis. We made a lot of adjustments on the sideline. I think it all goes back to last week, and how thye responded defensively to that heartbreaking loss.

On the locker room difference this week:

Last week was like a morgue, there is hardly anything you can say after a game like that.  This week, they're excited but I also think they understand the challenges and the opportunities ahead of us.

On what he was saying on the sideline in the second half:

Just do your job.  Just go out and do your job and execute and that's what we did.

On the confidence in the defense:

I just felt like what is happening to us, irregardless off that last drive, we have an understanding of what we're supposed to be doing.  We lost some players and had to shuffle the deck and then we had linebacker issues, but now people understand their role.

On adjustments they made:

Without getting in to specifics, we made adjustments on the defensive line, some slight adjustments that didn't allow them to do some things.  Subtle adjustments that our guys handled very well.

On being able to put this game away:

It should. I still think they need be reminded.  You just have to remind them to stay focused and not get too high or too low. But certainly with this being the last game of the regular season and so much at stake, they'll be focused. Part of the challenge is keeping them level, not letting them get too high.

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