UCLA Head Coach Talks Season Preparation

Aug. 23 -- UCLA head coach Jim Mora spoke about the anticipation of the season opener, the progress of some injured players and more Tuesday...

If you can't view the video interview, try the version below:

Opening statement:

It was a good morning practice, we got our second day of Texas A&M work in.  And really it's not Texas A&M work, it's working off of cards, doing some service team stuff. A lot of these freshman have never done it, they've always been the guy. They have to learn how to do it, how the tempo is, a lot of it is technique wise, so we have to educate them on how we want to do that. We had a period yesterday and today to give our service teams the proper look.  It continues to be a good camp. We've moved out of camp mode. Yesterday was our last training camp practice. I like the direction we're going, the health of our team, I'm excited to keep pressing on.

On if players are excited to move on to Texas A&M:

I think so, and it's time for us to do that. We've had a lot of practices against ourselves. We've been working since January 6th on the field, in the weight room, in the classroom and focused on improving ourselves. That will remain a focus but it's nice when you can shift it to an opponent rather than your teammate. 

On who will run Scout team quarterback:

A lot of guys. They'll rotate through.

On the length of today's practice:

We had a three-hour one in San Bernardino. This one got it by a couple minutes. When you go into the service periods, it slows down a little bit. We were gonna twice today, but went only once, so we lengthened practice a little bit. 

On what Texas A&M does well:

They're big and physical.  I can't get into specifics yet because my focus hasn't completely transitioned.  They have a tremendous defense.  We're familiar to a certain extent with what they do offensively from a scheme standpoint although Noel (Mazzone) will have wrinkles and Kevin (Sumlin) will have wrinkles.  They've got some guys on offense at the receiver position that can really make it happen. Going down and playing in that atmosphere is a challenge. It's also a great opportunity to go down into SEC country in front of 100,000 people on a hot Saturday and show that we're capable of competing and playing in that environment and thriving. I think our guys are starting to get excited about it.

On if he expects Mazzone to change things up:

Noel is very smart. He'll have wrinkles. But coaches believe in what they believe in. When you start to game plan, which he'll do, he'll look at our guys and see who to attack and that's what he'll emphasize. In terms of coming out with an entirely different scheme, probably not. I don't know if they have a linebacker that can do the Myles Jack stuff, maybe he'll spring that.  I just know that Noel, as it gets closer to the game, he seems to find some stuff that always works.  There's a reason that in the four years he was here, we broke every UCLA offensive record.  That wasn't just a coincidence. It was the players certainly but it was Noel and the rest of the staff and their system.

On if he talks with Mazzone:

Yeah, he's one of my closest friends.

On if they talk about the game:

Nah. Just life.

On his new Twitter account:

I have a private Twitter that I use for recruiting.  My family doesn't really use Twitter. But I thought it was time to use something to promote UCLA football a little bit. We'll put videos and graphics and things like that, but I'll have someone helping me do it. I will not be, I will do it like Hilary (Clinton) does, where she puts an H if she tweets? I'm kidding. I'm not going to do that.

On the injured players:

Cam Griffin is doing well. He did the exertion test yesterday and he did ok.  Last night he got a little light headed so we'll back off him a little. As you saw, Deon Hollins was in red, which is non-contact, and since today was a non-contact day, he didn't really do much. He's working back and feeling well. Jacob (Tuioti-Mariner), everything looks positive. Tomorrow, he'll start with activity and we'll start him on the bike.  And get him on the field as quickly as we can, barring a setback. Kenny Lacy did some things today and then we moved him to the bike because he got sore, but he should be ok by the end of the week.  Takk (McKinley) has the groin. A little stiff and sore when he moves laterally.  We're giving him some time.  Marcus Rios was on the bike today. He got stepped on, but it's nothing structural.  Actually we're in good shape from a physical standpoint.

On if everyone will be back for Texas A&M:

I don't know, I hate to say anything, I don't want to jinx myself.  Unless something happens between now and then, we're doing ok.  

On Paco Perez:

Paco is doing well, he's doing ok, he can go straight ahead. It's the lateral stuff.  We're trying to push him hard. He's going to be a really good player for us.  He looks the part, he's really smart.  Once again, he's a true freshman, to put him out there and rush him when he's not 100% is probably not the best thing to do.


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