Home Press Conference: UCLA head coach Jim Mora

Press Conference: UCLA head coach Jim Mora


UCLA head coach Jim Mora talks with reporters after his team’s 28-20 win over UVA on Saturday.





Opening remarks:
“I think we have a lot to improve upon offensively, but it was beautiful defensively. Can someone tell me the last time a UCLA defense scored three touchdowns in one half? Maybe never. But, we have a lot to improve on and that’s what’s encouraging. We came across three time zones to play early in the morning, for our body clocks if that’s an excuse, and we got a win with a lot to improve on and it’s exciting. I’m excited about this football team.”


On specific issues with the offense:
“I think that we were tense, I think that we were tight. I told them that you don’t have to score a touchdown on every play. Not every play is designed to be a touchdown, and I felt like we were trying to just do too much. And in doing too much we didn’t end up doing much at all really, so I think we need to kind of calm down and just play the game and not put too much pressure on ourselves. I think that was the issue early on.”


On the first game of the season:
“It was the first game. We had some new guys up front and we were playing a good defense with guys that were bringing the heat. We got a win, but we have a lot to improve upon and we will improve upon it. When I was standing by the door and our guys were walking in, you would have thought we lost that game by the expression on our young men’s faces. That gives me a good feeling because I know what their expectations are and they are real about things.”

On trying to do too much:
“I think it was everybody. In the first half, we had two holds, two false starts and multiple dropped passes. We are not a team in practice that drops the ball. They’re (drops) going to happen, but we don’t see a lot of drops normally. I think we were just trying to run before we caught the ball, and we forgot to do all the basics and the fundamentals. We were moving too fast, trying to go beyond the fundamentals that we did not execute. I really feel confident that we will get that stuff squared away.”


On the loss of Jake Brendel and the offensive line:

“I think it affects it, but I don’t want that to ever be an excuse. Our right tackle is a sophomore, our right guard is a sophomore, our center is a sophomore, our left guard is a freshmen and our left tackle is playing his first game for us. It’s a young group, but it’s a promising group. We are getting Simon [Goines] back out with us Monday, we are working Conor McDermott back in there. I know that there is going to be a lot of concern about our offensive line, and its warranted at this point. Because people watch that game and go ‘Oh my goodness what are they going to do about the offensive line,’ but those of us that know we have a good group know that we just need to play better. I believe that they will play better because they are well coached and are willing to work hard.”


On Virginia’s defense:
“I thought that they were big and physical, their linebacker did an excellent job of timing his blitzes up the middle and he was physical. They were stout and they put good pressure on us up front.”


On UCLA’s lone scoring drive:
“I think we just got into a rhythm. We played like we practice, and we exhaled a little bit. Brett ran the ball well. Like I said, I know that we can be a lot better than that and I’m excited to watch this team grow from today.”


On Brett and rushing:

“He is a very good runner, but we don’t want that to be our entire running game. We want to be able to run the ball. Our offense did not have the ball a lot in the first half because, of course, we were scoring on defense and going back out on defense. I would just like to see us establish a bit more rhythm with our offense and I am confident that we will.”


On Perkins and the run game:

“I think you will see a split still, between Paul [Perkins] and Jordan [James]. I don’t think that Jordan got a lot of opportunities early and Paul took advantage of the opportunities that he got. We opened up some good holes for him, but I would like to be able to use both of those guys, and I think that they can both be effective.”


On UVa’s quarterback switch:

“It didn’t surprise me, but I think it gave them a bit of a spark. [Matt] Johns came in and he did a really nice job, he was mobile and he ran for a few first downs, got some yardage, hit a couple really nice fade balls where we had good coverage. They have some big, physical receivers who went up and took it away from us.”


On UCLA’s defense:

“I think that the one thing we were able to do consistently on defense was stop the run. If you can stop the run on a consistent basis like we did then you have a chance to have some success. [Eric] Kendricks flashed: he had a touchdown; he made some open field tackles. There are some things in coverage that we can improve upon, a whole lot of things, but this was the first game and we’re going to grow from today. Obviously, if you can stop the run and put the ball in the end zone three times on defense it’s a special day. But, at the same time our standards are so high. I think that we can be a very, very good defense, but anything that we give up we are going to take it and dissect it.”


On Owamagbe Odighizuwa:

“He caused the interception in the first half, he applied some pressure although I thought that their quarterback did a really good job of stepping up in the pocket. A few times Owa and our younger guys got up the inside, but we need to clean it up and not give them an escape lane. I love having Owa back; he’s a physical presence. I would have liked to see a bit more of our guys collapsing on the pocket, but I think that we will get better at that. It’s not easy to replace Marsh, Bar, and Graham, those guys were outstanding defensive football players who can apply a lot of pressure to the quarterback.”


On the interceptions:

“The first one was Owa [Odighizuwa] getting to the quarterback and Ish [Adams] having tight coverage and getting to the ball. The second one: they had a bit of a tendency that [Eric] Kendricks was clued into and he was able to get in front of that one and make a play, but I don’t believe that he was telegraphing anything and those guys just made pretty nice plays.”


On Brett Hundley’s comfort:

“I never felt that he was uncomfortable. On the sideline he had a great demeanor the whole time. He was pretty relaxed and I think that the guys around him kept him calm. I never saw him get flustered with the rush. Brett kept his cool, and I’ve seen him in games in the past where it hasn’t been going well and maybe he’s gotten tight, but I didn’t sense that today. I thought that more than anything we need to consistently catch the ball more. Great players make plays when they need to be made and Brett is capable of doing that, and Brett did that today. His demeanor on the field and on the sidelines today was so much different than in any other game where we have struggled. Today he was a different guy.”




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