Jim Mora Planning Run Game Changes

Oct. 17 -- UCLA head coach Jim Mora spoke about the team's frustration with the run game, some planned alternations, the status of Josh Rosen heading into the practice week and more...

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Opening statement:

We looked at the film as we always do and evaluated the game from Saturday night.  Its the same thing, you guys have watched it and everyone has watched it and there is pone issue we've had that we haven't been able to fix yet and that's our run game. We're playing good defense and throwing the ball well, but we're not running the ball well. And when you can't run the ball well, it's tough to do anything consistent on offense.  We looked at it very carefully like we always do. We think we've identified some things that can help us run the football and throw it more effectively. Give our defense better field position, increase our time of possession. Do those types of things that give us a better chance of winning. Moving forward, we'll implement some things that will be a little different. I don't want to talk about them, but with the personnel, the scheme, the way we teach it and emphasize, the words we use and things we say and hopefully we come to a point we're able to get it fixed. It's an obvious understatement to say it's not acceptable and hasn't been good. It's as bad as I've ever seen. So that's our issue. It all comes down to that.  Certainly we had some things that went well the other night and things that didn't. We didn't punt as well as we'd like, cover the kickoffs like we'd like. Mike (Fafaul) was courageous and at the end of the night, he did a good job getting us in the end zone. For the fifth week in a row, we played good defense against a team that is explosive, ranked ninth in offense. Kept them out of the end zone throwing the football. Held them way under their average in all those things in extreme conditions and field positions. If we can build on what we're doing well, and find a way to run the football, we'll be in the right direction. But it starts with running the football. It's so obvious and sounds redundant to keep saying it.

On if the changes will be big in the running game:

I don't think so. Hopefully you'll see and say 'they're running the football better.' Sometimes it takes putting a guy on a guy and moving them out of the way. We have to find ways to help our young men. it's not enough to say it's not working. I don't think it will be anything, that you'll say, 'that is drastically different' but maybe teams we play will say we're doing things differently. But we're going to continue to search for answers.

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On how close Josh Rosen was to playing against WSU:

I think he was really close. He really wanted to play. At 1:30, we walked over to the intramural field at University of Idaho and did a walk through and he took all the snaps with the offense, some game simulations. He went out on the field for pre pregame and he wasn't able to go but I think he was pretty darn close. I'm very hopeful you'll see him playing this Saturday against Utah.

On if the changes were considered earlier:

That's a fair question. When I say change, it sounds complete overhaul. As a coach, you're always changing, adapting.  It's not being stubborn. We're always trying things. This is trying something new. A little departure from what we've been doing. Not that we've been stubborn, but a little different. Every week, its amazing, whether you do well or poorly, you make adjustments and this is a little more significant for us. 

On if Rosen is medically cleared:

It was a matter of he was medically cleared if he could do certain things and when he went out in pregame, he couldn't do those things. My hope is by tomorrow he'll feel good enough that he can practice and do more and as we go through the week, he'll play. Whether Josh plays or not, we still have to run the football, to help Josh, to help Mike, to help whoever is back there.  I'm proud of the way we're sticking together as a team, that our defense answers the bell. I've been around situations like these my whole life. You don't go through this business unscathed, you get beat up. I've been in a lot of situations where one side is struggling and you see finger pointing and dissension, but these guys won't do that. It was amazing, yesterday, how many guys reached out yesterday and said, 'what can I do? Tell me what I can do. I want to be part of the solution' So that's encouraging.  Hopefully we start to show signs of improvement in that area running the football.

On injured players:

(Scott Quessenberry) came right back in, has had no effects, not on the injury report.  He got stepped on or kicked.  Nothing serious. Nate Meadors didn't play again because of the groin, we didn't take him on the trip. Hopefully he can play for us and we can use him, he's a good player.  Kolton (Miller) is doing better. They'll do an x-ray in the next day or two and find out where he is. Hopefully we get him back quickly, I don't know this week, but hopefully quickly. You saw we made a move and got Josh Wariboko in there and got him some significant snaps as a left guard. It's good for him to get time. Kenny Lacy got time as well. We had to mix and match in the secondary, guys were getting dinged up. Marcus Rios got dinged up and Fabian Moreau got dinged up. One guy I would love to point out, who's done an amazing job is Randall Goforth. One week he practices at safety then starts at corner. This week, he starts at corner, we have to move him to nickel and Johnny Johnson comes in and does a nice job. Coach Meat and that group have done a nice job and playing really good.

On Goforth working at corner:

He was and then he played corner but had to move to nickel at a certain point. He played corner for a while but then we moved him to nickel when Marcus went down. Octavius Spencer, he played in there more than he's played all year. That's a deep group. The guy that is the do-everything is Randall and then Adarius Pickett. The guy doesn't get enough credit for the football player he is.  He can do everything for us.  He's a good football player. That group, the linebackers and the defensive line, I love how they're playing, where they're headed, that they've accepted the challenge. The thing that would help us is to generate some points on the turnovers. 

On J.J. Molson not taking an extra point:

He did take the last two extra points. The first one, I made a decision to open up competition this week between J.J. and Andrew, thought it would help both of them. J.J. had missed field goals we'd like to see him make. He's a young man that responds well to challenge and competition and Andrew is a competitive young man, so competitive that when J.J. kicks in practice, he doesn't watch it, not out of respect, but because he wants to compete. That's how it will continue to be in the kicking game. Thats a position we want to develop consistency. Our punter, Austin Kent, he struggled the other night.  You guys remember the first day of camp, he was booming them.  He's a freshman, he's hit a rough spot. We're trying to do some things to help him. Almost exclusively, it's getting our run game going and that will help our team in general. Its disappointing and I feel like I've let people down. But I've been in this game and a lot of times, there is not always immediate fixes. I know it's frustrating for our fans, it's equally frustrating for us. Believe me. Hang in there, you'll see some good football.

On Utah:

Hate to say it because it's their physicality up front on defense. They play hard, they have an outstanding defensive line. Good linebackers, they play good defense. Offensively, they've done a good job of running the football, especially with their running game being in a state of flux. I think Troy (Williams) is doing a nice job at quarterback of managing their offense. He's a local guy, getting a start here, we recruited him and he chose to go to Washington and then transferred to Utah. They're very solid and keep people out of the end zone.


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