Jim Mora on Going Into College Station

Aug. 31 -- Coach Jim Mora talked Thursday after practice about the challenges of going on the road at a tough place to play like College Station, and how his teams have been able to do well in similar environments...

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Opening statement:

We've got a couple days left to prepare, both physically and mentally and emotionally. I like the track we're on, our health is good. A couple guys who won't be available most likely are Cam Griffin and Deon Hollins with concussion like symptoms. They both have made tremendous improvements and we'll make sure they're both 100% and completely cleared before we put them back out there.  Takk (McKinley) is good to go, Alex Van Dyke is good to go, we're excited about those things.  Austin (Roberts) practiced three days in a row. He's good. We had him in a red jersey on Monday.  He's fine and then the last two days, he's been in a white jersey, full speed.  Good to go.  

On their schedule to Texas A&M:

We don't talk about our schedule publicly, but we leave tomorrow.  

On his biggest worry about the game:

I don't know that I'm worried, I just want to see how we respond. We've had a great offseason and tremendous spring. A fantastic summer camp, a great week this week so that lends itself to a really good feeling on this team. BUt we also know we're going against a great opponent in a tough environment and there is going to come a time when, more than once, we'll have to rebound, we'll get hit in the mouth and have to recover.  I'm anxious to see how we respond. Not that I want to see it happen, but I know it's going to happen so I want to see how we recover.  

On if there was a specific reason this offseason was better:

I don't think that anybody in our program was satisfied with the way last year finished. Being competitors like we all are, it reignites a passion and motivation and level of commitment that maybe for some reason had subsided a tiny bit, and that's what I felt.

On continuing to do well on the road:

I think its a level of confidence that you have, knowing you can handle those situations. We've been in difficult environments against some really good teams and performed well.  Those guys know that.  I think they know how to respond. The guys who were with us in 2013, there is not a lot, but there are a few, they remember going to Nebraska and getting down I think 21 points.  We had an incredibly emotional week, we found a way to recover and win that game in a tough environment.  You just gather confidence and strength from past experiences.

On if there is an 'us against the world' mentality on the road:

We love playing at home, there is nothing like going to the Rose Bowl and laying in front of our fans, but once again, as a competitor, the ability to close ranks, lock arms, go into a hostile environment with a mission, a focus and a purpose, to complete that mission, stokes these guys. I don't think its us against them, but the odds are stacked and it will be toughed but this is when our true character reveals itself and these guys embrace it.

On why they don't release a depth chart:

I could tell you this, our starting offensive line is Connor McDermott, Kenny Lacy, Scott Quessenberry, Poasi Moala and Kolton Miller and our starting quarterback is Josh Rosen.  Our starting defensive line consists right now of Eddie Vanderdoes and Eli Ankou and our starting safeties are Randall (Goforth) and Jaleel (Wadood).  And everyone else mixes in.  So to release a depth chart would be disingenuous because we don't have a depth chart, it's so fluid.  So many players contributed. If you all of the sudden list Player X as your 3rd team slot, but he plays a 1/3 of the plays, is he really your 3rd team slot? So that is the reasoning. Plus, nobody tells me I have to.  The NFL, you have to, it's mandatory to release a depth chart.  At UCLA, I couldn't.  We don't have a depth chart. We have a stable and collection of guys we know can contribute. It's very fluid. It's not to be sneaky or to try to confuse opponents. That's the furthest thing from my mind. I don't really care about a depth chart.  It doesn't make sense to me at this level, with our team, and how many guys contribute.

On if he's made a decision on No. 1 jersey:

Yes I have.  And no, I cannot (reveal).  You'll be able to see on Saturday, 2:39 kickoff on CBS.

On if he schemes away from Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall:

I don't think you can go into any game and say, 'we're gonna run away from these guys.' You're not going to have anywhere to run. But you have to be cognizant of where they are and what they're capabilities are and you have to have answers. If they become as disruptive as they're capable of becoming. The players have to win and you have to put them in positions to win. They have to have help. We'll do that. One of the things of having a tight end, it gives you flexibility.  When you take something off a pass rusher, you limit guys ability for a route. At times they'll be in 1on1 battles, at times, we'll help them.

On if they know the specific matchups A&M will bring:

They'll move them around. You always go into that first game, they went into their offseason to look for ways to improve themselves defensively, unscouted looks we'll have to adjust to on the fly. We have to go out and execute and focus and disciplined and play through adversity that will be inevitable and help our players be in a position make plays to win.

On if more adjustments are made for the first game:

I would say that's fair. There are so many unknowns, players on our team we haven't seen in this environment and they'll have to step up and perform. And I'm confident they will. Also the factor of not having any film of what your opponent has done to this point. After the first week, you get a feel for philosophical changes they made in the offseason. So the first game, there is much more unknown.

On if that makes it more difficult:

Every defensive concept, every offensive concept, every special teams concept has a set of rules and hopefully your rules take care of any unscouted looks and you fall back on your rules. How you count players, inside out, outside in, alignments. There are only so many things you can do. If you stick to your rules and don't get flustered and figure it out quickly and make the adjustments, you'll have some success. You have to remember, they have the same issues as well. There will be some feeling out early.


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