Jim Mora After Arizona Game

Oct. 1 -- UCLA head coach Jim Mora answered questions from the Rose Bowl after the win over Arizona...

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Opening statement:

Anytime you win a game, I could come in here and say the same thing, but we need to build and improve. What I’ll take away is this – our offense responded in the second half to the challenge that was presented to them at halftime, and our defense and special teams kept us in the game in the first half with some outstanding play. If, if, which is a horrible word, but if we could just find a way to put it together as a football team, we could be pretty dynamic. We are trying. Our guys are trying and they care. It’s important to them. As a coaching staff, we are looking for answers everywhere. We can play some good defense, some good special teams and some good offense. But for us tonight, winning a game in the South [Division] against Arizona at home is a step in the right direction. We have a great challenge this week with Arizona State. We have a couple of injuries, but I really don’t have any answers on those for you yet. We’ll see where those guys are. I thought that Andre James stepped in and did a nice job. Josh [Rosen] held it together when he could’ve gotten very frustrated. It was great how Theo [Howard] came in and gave us a spark. I thought that Darren Andrews gave us a spark, and Kenneth Walker gave us a spark. I’m disappointed in the number of drops that we had tonight. We need to do a better job of running the football. I don’t care what kind of unscouted looks that we are getting up front. The big word is if. We’ll just get back to it at Arizona State and hope that we can eliminate that big 'if.' 

On what he said at halftime:

The things that we talk about as a team, they stay within our team. What is said in the locker room stays in the locker room. What’s said in the meeting room stays in the meeting room. 

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On Nate Starks:

I thought that he did OK. As the game went on, he did better. Him playing well is a function of the other 10 guys playing well. We think that we have five good backs. There are three veterans who have played – Nate and Soso (Jamabo) and Bolu (Olorunfunmi). We like Brandon Stephens and Jalen Starks a lot. But our decision this week was to use Nate. He is the most experienced of those three. He has a great combination of power and speed. He can catch the ball and pass protect. The other guys are also very good players.

On Josh Rosen:

Here is what I see with Josh. Our expectations are incredibly high, sometimes unrealistically high. But what I have seen out of him in the last three weeks, behind the scenes, lends itself to the type of performance that you are recognizing tonight. He's stepped up his game, in terms of studying and applying what he has learned at practice. There is a process to becoming a good player. For Josh, for so long it was so easy and he was the best guy out there and he’d just sling it to the open guy. [But at this level] The talent is better on the other side of the ball, and he’s accepting that challenge. When he gets it, he’s something special. The hat is on him to keep working at it. If he keeps working at it the way he has been the last three weeks, then we will all be very happy.

On Kenny Young: 

I’ve seen a level of confidence out of Kenny. He's a young man who understands where he needs to be with our defense. He can run fast and tackle well. He's stout against the run inside and against the edge. He really understands now how to play his position in this defense. When you do that, you play with certainty and when you can play with certainty, you can play fast and that is what I see.

On Rosen maturing:

I think that Josh gets the credit, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the effect that Marques Tuiasosopo has had on him. I’m not sure how many of you saw Marques Tuiasosopo play football, but he’s the only player in college football who has thrown for 300 [yards] and rushed for 200 in a single game. He’s the Rose Bowl MVP out here. He was not a wildly talented player. He was very talented, but he got by on grit and stuff and toughness and preparation. Josh on the other hand is this wildly talented guy. So then you combine the two, and they accept each other, and you can see the will to win. With Josh’s talent, you have a very special football player.

On his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty:

I got a flag. I’m going to take that up with the league and leave it at that. 

On the kick return changes:

Ish got hurt on a kickoff return, so that is why Randall went in on kickoff returns. On punt returns, they run that rugby half-roll stuff, so what we did was the double-return look with Adarius Pickett back there and Mossi Johnson. Adarius was an outstanding baseball player and he can handle that ball on the hop and track it in the air. Just because of the way that they were moving. On the kickoffs, we had Ish in there until he got hurt. 

On being close to being 5-0:

Well, if, yeah, we are 3-2. That’s what we are, 3-2. And if we can get it right at the same time, we could be really good. If.

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