Mora After Loss to Texas A&M

Sep. 3 -- UCLA head coach Jim Mora talk about being disappointed in the loss to Texas A&M, but impressed with the atmosphere and character of this year's Bruin team...

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Opening statement:

First of all, congratulations to Texas A&M. They played a great game. They're an outstanding team. They're tough, they're physical. They got us in the end in overtime.  I think that was our second foray into overtime since I've been here and we weren't able to get it done. The men I really want to honor right now are the men in our locker room. I asked them over the offseason to mature, strength of character, strength of will, emotion, toughness, and I thought they put all those things on display today. We came up short and it's terribly disappointing to us. We didn't come here to lose, we didn't come here to be close, we came her to win. Hidden in that loss were some tremendous, tremendous things and the most important thing to me is what I feel growing in that locker room. That's a good football team, UCLA is a good football team. Full of guys that really care. And they'll continue to try hard, we just have to perform better. That's all of us. That's staff, that's players. Especially in a game that comes down to the wire like that one did. I'm proud of the football players on our football team for what they're becoming.  I think they're pretty special. And I'm proud of them. We all have things we can get better at and we'll work hard on those things to improve this situation and get a win.  But those men in there deserve a lot of credit for their heart, their determination, overcoming adversity, fighting in a tough environment, and though we came up short, I'm proud of them. 

On what brought them back when down 24-9:

I thought we played good defense the whole day. They got a couple things on us, but they were good the whole day. They're a good team and they're going to get some things. I thought we played good defense all day.  What brought us back was a will that we have, a determination that is developing, a belief in each other, a belief in what we're doing, a belief in the process. We didn't necessarily look at the scoreboard or what's around us. I want to see this team continue to develop, it will be something that will carry us this season.

On if they did a better job protecting Josh Rosen:

We did. Sometimes protection issues could be routes being run wrong, the quarterback not stepping up in the pocket.  Sometimes it's a back. I say that because, without having looked at the film, I don't want to say that our line gave up a bunch of sacks.  It boils down to this, we talked about it in the locker room, we all have to do a little bit better. We have to eliminate the What If's and the Should'ves and the Could'ves. And we will. These guys are very determined and I'm very proud to be associated with them.

On if he changed the play on the 2-point conversion:

No. No we did not.

On Rosen's composure:

He was fine. He knew that he made mistakes. The first interception, he knew he had to get rid of. That's the next step. Maturing as a young player. Decision making. Those are decisions he has to make better. You know Josh, he'll shoulder all the blame but he was responsible for bringing us back. But we have to protect him and have him do a better job of protecting the football. And he'll get better from that. But I didn't see him be affected by the environment.  I did not see that. I didn't see our team affected by the environment at all.

On if it was the loudest game:

I've heard a lot of games louder than that. You ask me those forgetting I played in some big games.

On the impact of Takk McKinley being out:

Takk popped his groin and he tried to come back those last two series, then he came out. I know we missed him, and his speed off the edge. Not having Deon Hollins available, that hurt.  I thought Keisean Lucier-South went out there for the first time and he showed he's got some ability to be a really good player for us. It was good to have Eddie (Vanderdoes) back. It was good to have Fabian (Moreau) back.  I like our football team. We're terribly disappointing in the loss but I loved the way we fought back.

On getting a grasp of the offense:

We moved the ball well.  We couldn't find the end zone the first half and that really hurt us obviously.  Not putting 7's up and settling for 3's.  By the way, J.J. Molson and Johnny (Den Bleyker) and Austin (Kent) all did a really nice job.  I felt like we settled into a rhythm. There were still some times we took the wrong step.  Not busted assignments, but technique errors. It's a great group of young men. I can't over-emphasize what today showed me about these guys, even in defeat.  I saw something today that I hadn't seen in my time at UCLA. 

On the A&M defensive ends:

Those guys are outstanding football players, they are really something special. They bring it every down, and don't take plays off. They're fearless and fearsome and tough against the run.  We didn't do well enough.  We'll get better from it. But going against that competition will only make us better.

On going against Noel Mazzone:

I love Noel, he's a great friend of mine. We gave each other a hug after the game. There is not a lot you can say to each other, it's a funny business where you're trying to beat each other's brains in on a weekly basis. It's an interesting dichotomy we face as coaches. He'll do a tremendous job here, he and Kevin are doing well, he called a really nice play there on the 4th down (in overtime) in the end zone. I think Aggie fans should be proud he's their coordinator.

On Nate Starks:

Nate did not make the trip.  We just didn't bring him. It was a coach's decision. That's all we can say right now.

On Rosen on missing some plays:

We had one down the seam it was a little low to Austin Roberts. I think the expectations are so great for Josh, that any time he misses, we're going to overanalyze it.  Very seldom does a quarterback go through a game without missing some throws. But Josh will be as critical of anyone of himself and he'll come back and make those throws the next time, that's the kind of kid he is.

On losing the game:

It's horrible to lose. It always is. It doesn't matter. We play to win and we work to win and we came here to win and we expect to win and we demand that we win. But I don't want to lose track of the great things that did happen here for our football team or some of the steps we took in the right direction. I don't want to gloss over the loss, you're trying to balance things.  But anytime you lose at anything when you're a competitor, it's tremendously disappointing and we're tremendously disappointed.

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