UCLA Coach Jim Mora Previews Utah Matchup

Oct. 19 -- UCLA head coach Jim Mora spoke about putting the ones against the ones in practice, his team's resolve after a rough start to conference play and preparing for Utah's physicality...

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Opening statement:

A very competitive practice. I think you look back on our four losses, they've all come down to the last drive. Good teams finish and you have to create that environment in practice. This week we put an added emphasis on it, competitive period between the ones and finishing.  Really you get what you emphasize. You can't emphasize everything but the big emphasis is on finishing. The four losses came down to us either not making a play or closing out a game.

On how they did in that aspect:

It was extremely competitive. When you go ones against ones, someone wins, someone loses. What I'm looking for is competitiveness and fight. And I thought it was excellent.


On how the changes have looked this week:

Like I said, you make changes every week. There are changes that are dramatic and then tweaks and overhauls.  We've had to make changes up front with Kolton (Miller) out and the issues at guard.  It's more reigning things in and putting emphasis on points. You're modifying during the year. The hope is we'll be successful against a good Utah front. If we can have some success against them, it shows we're making progress in that area. That's the one area that has held us back, not being able to run the ball.

On how much the close losses have helped the players stay in:

It's funny, they're resilient. I don't think they ever lose hope, they get discouraged. You work so hard and aren't able to get it down so you're discouraged. But you get over the discouragement and find out the reason. If you keep your mind on that and get through that, you get through the discouragement. Our guys are resilient.  It's a different generation. They get over things different.

On if guys in the NFL take it harder:

In the old days, but like I said, this generation is different. The world's changing. You have to adapt as a coach. The NFL is wildly different when it comes to performance. You're playing for a paycheck, for food on the table, shoes on the feet, diapers. If you do not perform, your locker is cleared out.  Every Monday, they bring in players for workouts and those guys are threats. You don't have that in college. You have guys worried about study, and personal and social issues. It's more challenging.

On if he likes that aspect of it:

I do and I don't. I like to see these guys go through adversity and have some success. I was thinking about this last night, I love it, it reveals who you are. I want them to understand that.  But at the same time, I don't losing games and they don't like losing games. So it's a Catch-22.

On Josh Rosen:

We'll see. I don't think we'll know until Saturday. As much as you want to know and your readers want to know, I promise you, I want to know. Our team wants to know. We're all hoping and crossing our fingers that he'll play Saturday.

On Kolton Miller:

He won't play on Saturday and I'll rule him out.

On if there were benefits to Rosen seeing things from a different perspective on Saturday:

No. I think the best thing you can do is play. If you're competitive and not out there helping your team, maybe it inspires you to dig deeper in your treatment. But the best thing for your game is to play the game. 

On the issues at guard:

We lost some guys last year, our starting guards and center. Putting that back together has proven to be a little more challenging.  They're working hard, they're trying their best.  Non-stop workers. But there is a synergy that has to develop and we've struggled to develop that synergy.

On Josh Wariboko:

He's a young man who's physical and wants to play. His first realtime experience. There are some things he has to do better. He has a tremendous challenge this week. They have a really good defense. It should be a heckuva defensive battle.

On Austin Kent:

He's a young guy who has a lot of pride and he's very hard on himself. He's very hard on himself. It's really funny. He reminds me of Steve Young.  Steve Young, it wasn't unusual for him to vomit before the game because of the pressure of handling every snap. He's a Hall of Famer, one of the all-time greats. Austin has a little of that, he's really hard on himself. Part of that is to get him to take a breath and relax because he's a damn good punter. We came here in camp and he was booming it and then he's a young guy who hit a little dip.

On how Kent responds to Mora:

Was I getting on him or encouraging him? It depends on what's coming out of my month. Let me explain, after the first punt, the 1-yarder, that's when I really got in his face. I wasn't upset about the punt, well, I was upset, those things happen.  The things that irritate me is he didn't make an effort to go down and knock it out. Later in the game, it was encouraging them. You love them and want to see them have success. Sometimes you have to be harsher on them and move them through adversity.  And I think he did (respond). They appreciate the fact you care about them and want them to have some success. You have to be hard on them and demanding.  Austin does respond.  I think he does need to calm himself down a bit. There is no such thing as perfection. The greatest performers lose sometimes.

On Mike Leach's comments they were messing with the snap count:

We don't make any calls on defense. That's not part of our defense. That's not anything we've ever done. If he's saying that, he's misinformed.

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