Jim Mora (Blair Angulo)

UCLA HC Jim Mora Talks To The Media Ahead of Cal Preparation

Nov. 21 -- UCLA head coach Jim Mora spoke about what he saw after looking at film of the loss to USC, his own thoughts on whether to take a bowl game if they win at Cal this weekend and more...

Opening statement:

It's a tough one to get over obviously. But we have to move forward. We watched the film, now we prep for Cal and we'll have a good week of preparation. Go out and play our best on Saturday afternoon in our final regular season game. I think our guys are resilient. They bounce back well and we had good meetings this morning.  So we're moving on.

On if this loss is tougher to move on from:

I saw the same spirit and that's what I expected to see. These guys have been through a lot in their lives and this year and they've accomplished a lot in their lives and accomplished a lot in their careers here. This year has been disappointing for all of us. Coaches, fans, staff, administrators, the student body. Every body. But these young men are resilient and they came back with a great attitude and I know we'll have another great week of practice. 

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On what they saw on film against USC:

We didn't get enough opportunities on offense in the second half. And that was a function of not getting off the field on defense and not staying on the field long enough on offense. We came out and ran the ball well. We played well up front but didn't have any sacks. We didn't have any penalties other than Jordan's post penalty after his first touchdown. We struggled to contain the quarterback. Sam (Darnold) is a really good player. One of the things we've done well is finished on the quarterback and gotten the sack or forcing bad throws and he was able to find his way out of some trouble spots and make his throws down field and that really hurt us. We went into this game in the Pac-12 as the No. 1 third down defense and we did not accomplish our goals and it really hurt us.

On targeting Jordan Lasley and Theo Howard more:

We look ahead to the game we're playing. That's our attitude. We try to find a way to win each week. Jordan is emerging as we've all seen. He's still working hard on his consistency. He makes a real good play and then a couple drops. He's working hard on that. It's important to him. I've seen him step up and in his maturity and it's impressive. Theo is making strides and he's proved he's a guy who can make plays. Where the ball is thrown is a function of where the coverage is and Mike's reads. Those two guys are doing good things.

On Kenny Walker's usage of late:

We would never put a young man out there with a concussion, so it's not a concussion, but he does have some lingering effects from his ankle. You saw he didn't practice as much last week as we'd like him to.  And we didn't have as many plays on offense. The week before, he got hurt and that's why he didn't play as much. This week, he fought his way back and I commend him for that for being able to play on Saturday. A week ago this time, we didn't think he'd be able to play against USC.  But he did. But he was limited. So that's why you haven't seen him as much the last two games. Because of injury and limited number of plays.

On going to a bowl if invited at 5-7:

We've talked about it. I haven't talked to Dan (Guerrero) about it. And until I talk to Dan about it, I don't think it's right to comment on my feelings on it. I think it's important that any decision that is made with regards to that would be led with a discussion with Dan.  I like to play football. But I also respect our athletic director and would not want to say anything dogmatic without first discussing it with him.

On how beneficial December practices would be:

Very.  Any chance you get to compete, you have a chance to get better and getting repetitions allows us to get better. You asked about the young guys, the Theo's and the Lasley's.  And there are plenty of young guys. One way for them to develop is practice and the other is competition and games. We'd have a chance to go out and create that competition in practice. We have some guys redshirting that we could give some real quality repetitions to heading into winter. But like I said, the most important thing here is trying to get a win on Saturday and then sitting down with Dan, if we get that opportunity, and making the best decision for our football program and university with his guidance.

On the offensive line against USC:

They played well. When we looked back at the film, they played well. Not perfect by any sense of the imagination but they played well. There is never a perfect game. They did move some people off the line. We didn't give up any sacks. Mike was under pressure a little bit but that is going to happen in games. They actually played fairly well considering not having Kolton (Miller) and not having Kenny Lacy. I thought Andre (James) took a step forward. I thought that Conor (McDermott) played well. Najee has been fighting through that pinched nerve in his neck and for an undersized guy, fought his tail off. Poasi (Moala) and did some nice things.  Had some plays he might want to have back as you can imagine. But he made progress.


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