Jim Mora on Injured, BYU, Polamalu's Offense

Sep. 14 -- UCLA coach Jim Mora talked Wednesday about going to Provo to face BYU, the status of the injured and Kennedy Polamalu's performance as offensive coordinator...

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Opening statement:

We had a good day of work, and a good day of work yesterday, so it's a great challenge going to Provo and playing a mature BYU team. A great opportunity as well. Go back on the road and see if we can get it fixed.  It should be a good game. Late kickoff, 8:21 local time, 7:21 here.  Hopefully everyone will tune in and watch it and it will be a great game.

On the maturity of BYU players:

I will tell you this. They play a physical style of game. They really do. I don't know if that has to do with the fact that they're older or they recruit a tough player. But they are a physical team and they play square.  They play the game I respect.  I don't know, I haven't been around them, so I don't know the level of maturity around them but I love the way they play the game. 

On compensating for a late game:

We try to remain consistent with our pregame routine, no matter what time the kickoff is.  When its late like that, you have to do somethings different, so we get them walking around early, we have a meeting, we do a mock game, a couple situations, instead of sitting around and laying around all day. But what I like to do is get them sitting and watching college football. I think they situations, they get inspired, their minds going. Hopefully they're relaxed doing it and not getting worked up.  But I like night games. I like the day to watch college football and the atmosphere at night and I think our players do as well.

On if he watches college football during the day of night games:

Well, I have some things to do, but I like watching college football. I won't zone in and watch the whole game, but I'll check and see what's going on.

On Boss Tagaloa wearing a boot:

Yeah, and it's not a cowboy boot either.  I think he'll be alright. It's precautionary. He tweaked it in practice yesterday, had an x-ray, but he should be ok for Saturday. Should be able to.

On the status of Eddie Vanderdoes and Takk McKinley:

They should be good. They practiced today.

On Nate Starks and Jaleel Wadood:

If they're both ready to go, they'll go on Saturday.

On Mossi Johnson returning:

It was great. It really was. I'm a big Mossi fan. Since he came in here his freshman year, he came in with a real toughness, competitiveness that you really respect. And to have him get injured the way he did and fight back the way he is. He's one of those kids everyone gravitates to. He's a little off center at times, has a great personality. He's tough, I love tough guys. To see him catch that down the middle, I went and found a picture of it last night and gave it to him. I love to see these kids have success. They go to Flickr, and there are a couple pages on Flickr. I always get a kick on Monday's when I go to their Instagram pages and seeing all the photos they've found of themselves.  Its fun for me.  Offbeat, I don't mean that negatively, but he beats to his own drummer. He loves life and always has something to say. Very respectful but funny and has a little edge to him.  I enjoy the kid, he's awesome. 

On the California Pac-12 schools all playing each other:

I haven't even thought about it. I probably didn't even know it. I really don't pay attention to much of that because I can't control it and I focus on the things I can control.  I just don't think about it.

On Kalani Sitake:

Pretty familiar.  Its interesting because we have to watch some Oregon State film and BYU film to figure out what they're doing and the two teams they've played this year aren't similar to us.  When you look at Arizona and Utah, they were fast-paced, spread out, zone read stuff. We've had to go back and look at Oregon State against traditional offenses to see what they might do. When you get a game like this early in the season, you trust your rules. Every offensive play has a set of rules. You have to trust your rules to get through a down. 

On if its helped they've played two Pac-12 teams:

No, because their structures are different offensively. What Arizona and Utah do offensively isn't similar to us. They might have had specific game plans for that offense they wont have for us. We're flying a little bit blind, thats why you trust your rules and fundamentals. 

On the BYU offense:

They just play hard. I'm not saying they'll line up two backs, trying to run it down throat. Ty Detmer does a good job with their offense with a lot of variations, but as a football offense, they have a lot of variations to them. We're trying to be stout inside and a little bigger. They have some plays it will matter and some plays it won't. They play with discipline and are physical.

On Kennedy Polamalu's offense:

I'd give him an A+.  I really would. I have the luxury of being on the headphones and listening to the process he goes through when he's calling a play and the demeanor in which he calls it and the certainty.  The work he does during the week with our staff and players enables him to call a great game on Saturday.  Our players know what's coming in, they know by situation what we're going to call so they're fully prepared. That doesn't mean it's going to execute, the defense is going to have something to do with our execution, but I think he's been really good. He knows why he's calling the plays he's calling and the players know why he's calling the plays he's calling. I've always felt that if the players knew why I play was called it's better than it just coming out of the air.

On BYU going for the win with a 2-point conversion in their loss to Utah:

It's gutsy. Jack Del Rio did it Sunday and it paid off in New Orleans. Its gutsy. As a coach, you get in a game like that and you trust your instincts. You have to make sure you're making a smart decision. If it works, it's awesome, but it if doesn't, you have to live with it.

On if he looks at the analytics on a call like that:

I think that Jack's answer was perfect- 'it's a good thing ESPN wasn't coaching the Raiders that day.'

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