UCLA Coach Jim Mora Provides Spring Game Details

Apr. 24 -- UCLA head coach Jim Mora shared some details on this Saturday's spring game, including the honorary coaches, how they split the roster and more...

Opening statement

We’re going to have a spring game on Saturday, so we’ve got two more practices before that. It’s going to be a really good spring game; we are going to wear our game uniforms. Gates open at 11:30 (a.m.). We’ll take the field for pregame warm-ups at 12:30 and kickoff will be at 1 (p.m.). We’ve got two guest coaches, or honorary head coaches: Amanda Cromwell – our women’s soccer coach, who’s a national champion in 2014. She’s an Olympic gold medalist, and she also won the bronze in the World Cup. And (the second coach will be) Miss Val – our gymnastics coach, who’s a six-time national champion, a four-time coach of the year. ANd they are going to be the head coaches of the blue and the white teams. So it will be fun. 

We’ve split up the staff (and) we’ve split up the team. We’re excited to go out and get after it. It’s going to be a great day – we encourage everyone to come out; the weather is going to be beautiful – we are going to have popcorn, cotton candy, I mean we’re going to have everything. It’s going to be a real game. So I think it should be a really great way for us to end a really productive spring. But before that we’ve got a few more meetings and two more practices to make progress. 

Today was another great practice. We ended it with three two-minute drives that were really good learning, good teaching opportunities. We had a tremendous third down and red zone period. We really put the pressure on the offense by making everything third and goal. We had a really good run period where we played a lot of seven-man fronts – putting our defense in some disadvantage situations. So that’s part of practice – putting people in uncomfortable situations and teaching off of it. So I love the attitude, I love the mindset, I love the work ethic, I love the way they’re competing, cooperating, their demeanor. Everything is just really, really good. I’m excited with where we are right now and I’m excited about these next three days of practice. 

On how he and the coaches went about selecting the teams for the spring game 

We sat there as a staff and said ‘put this guy on this team and that guy on that team.’ That was kind of all there was too it

On whether the teams will be fairly matched on both sides

Yeah, I think so. And that’s really what you want. You don’t want it, like I said last week, I don’t want to go out there and just have it be a mismatch. So we did a good job as a staff – offensively and defensively – and all of us together, just making it a situation where we can really evaluate guys. 

On whether the spring game will be full tempo and full contact

Live. It’s a game, baby. It’s live. Now, special teams plays will be live to the ball, and then tag-off. You very rarely in any spring game see special teams plays live. They’re dangerous situations because you’re talking about open-field collisions that are unnecessary. But all the offense and defense will be live; we were 100 percent live this past Saturday. We went 100 percent live in all of our team situations last Saturday. We had 96 plays and 100 percent of them were live. SO we got a lot of work in. 

On whether the quarterbacks will be live

Quarterbacks are live. 

On whether Josh Rosen will be live

Quarterbacks are live. 

On where the idea of honorary coaches came from

We’ve done it before.

On how they decided on those specific honorary coaches

National champs. Female national champs that have shown the ability to inspire their teams and their players, the young ladies that have played for them. There are so many amazing coaches on this campus, but those are just two that are, first of all, available. And second of all, they’re national champs. And third of all, they’ve just got great personalities. I just think our players will love being around them. 

On players who will be held out of the spring game due to injuries

Just if they’re injured.

On whether Dechaun Holiday and Denzel Fisher will be held out

Holiday, yes. Fisher, we’ll see. You know, we’ll see where he is on Saturday. 

On Fisher’s injury

His elbow. 

On heading to the draft to watch Takk McKinley potentially get drafted Thursday

Well I hope it’s different than last year, I can tell you that. ‘Cause I was with Myles (Jack) last year and that was a tough few hours there. But Angus and I are going. We’re really excited about it – to be able to be there to support him and represent UCLA football. To see the culmination of a dream, knowing the hardships that he’s had to overcome in his life and since he’s been here, and the way he’s handled himself and matured, kept his focus, done things right, become an inspiration to a lot of these guys who are still playing on our team – it’s going to be awesome. 

The draft though, it’s a beast. You don’t have any idea; it’s a crapshoot where you’re going to get picked. So, you know, hopefully things work out right for Takk. 

On how he’s prepped Takk for the draft process

We haven’t really talked about it yet. I mean, my only advice to Takk or any other player in the country at this point in time would be: sequester yourself, and don’t go on social media. Because the only thing you can do from now until the time the draft ends on Saturday is hurt yourself. You cannot help yourself right now. 

On whether Fabian Moreau will be a first-round pick

Probably not. Probably won’t be. Probably a second- or third-rounder

On whether there’s a guy for UCLA right now who he can see being a first rounder one day

No, not that I can talk about right now. But Fabian, you know, it’s my opinion that Fabian has first-round ability and first-round potential. I’ve talked to many, many general managers about him and head coaches – as a matter of fact, today two. Getting injured maybe hurt him a little bit but not tremendously, you know. I shouldn’t say he’s not a first-rounder – you never know in the draft. Who knows. Every pick influences the next pick and subsequent picks. So it’s just ever-changing. I’m hoping that he goes in the first, but I wouldn’t want to get his hopes up or anyone else’s hopes up – just to be realistic off of the guys that I’ve talked to. 

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