UCLA Head Coach Jim Mora Talks After Victory Against BYU

Sept. 18 -- UCLA head coach Jim Mora spoke to reporters following the victory against BYU, commenting on the improved defensive performance and return of key contributors...

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Opening statement:

A good win against a really tough opponent on the road here. A tough place to play, really proud of our guys, they hung in there, played tough, disciplined, played hard. As always we have some things we want to improve on. We didn't run the ball well, we expect to run the ball well. BYU had a lot to do with that, but we have to do things better and give our guys a chance, but to come in here and get a win in this environment, I'm proud of them. Defense played well and we made a huge emphasis on stopping the run and keeping the quarterback from making big runs, other than the third down run. But their quarterback is a competitive kid, he's overcome a lot in this life, including injuries, but continues to play. They're a classy team, a classy place, classy fans and we're happy to get a win and now we have to get on to the next one.

On returning key players on defense:

I think it helped but I think we executed well, had a good plan. But the players executed and owned it. They took it upon themselves this week in practice to take responsibility on themselves in the way we're playing against the run and they really matured. Of course, this week is going to be an amazing test against a top five team in Stanford. We've got to take the same approach.

On what Takk McKinley brought on defense:

Well Takk brings speed, impact off the edge. He closes the pocket quickly.  And he can run and can run them down from behind and he plays the run well. And Deon too, that speed off the edge, it was very helpful. That being said, the way we rushed was impressive and squeezing the pocket and not giving him a chance to get out and he's one of the best runners in college football.

On Josh Rosen:

I thought he struggled in the first half, I thought he was tight. I think sometimes, Josh has high expectations for himself that sometimes he lets that get the best of him and he's not going to play a perfect game. He has to play to his capability level and his abilities. At halftime he took a breath, got his composure and lightened the load a little bit. You can ask him, he might give you a completely different answer, you know how Josh is, but that's what I felt.

On Takk McKinley's physical status:

He was fine in the locker room.  He took a shot and was playing hard. I'm not exactly sure what happened and I asked him how he's doing and he said 'I'm doing great' and was celebrating with the guys in the locker room.

On Darren Andrews penalty then subsequent play rest of game:

It wasn't the type of reaction to a big play we want to see. We got momentum and he got excited and it was a good call by the officials, he dropped the ball right in his face. So we took him out for a while, let him regain his composure and then we challenged him when he went back in to make something happen and he did. I saw him grow up. To me, he'll be better because of that. This is what it's all about, getting better every snap, every game.

On the ball distribution:

It excites me. It shows me how much depth we have, how much talent we have, how great a job Josh does of spreading the ball. It doesn't upset me, shoot, it fires me up. I'm really excited about that.

On four first half sacks:

Not necessarily schematic, maybe emphasis. We put a lot of emphasis on our rush lanes and not giving the quarterbacks escape routes. As much credit should go to the secondary as the front, it's a team game. We played a ton of man coverage and those young men did a tremendous job under stress.

On Soso Jamabo:

We didn't play him tonight.

On Nate Starks' return:

I thought he did well, he runs hard and he's good in protection. I'm excited to have him back and playing and he's a good player for us.

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