Spaulding Roundup: Mora “Feels” for Kiffin, Utah’s “Efficient” Offense & Other UCLA Notes

Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

News and notes from UCLA football program as the Bruins get ready for a big nationally televised game against Utah on ESPN.

Bruins have a game on Thursday night and this means Coach Mora is starting the "game week" early by treating Sunday as a "Tuesday" of this game-week.  Don't get too excited about this being some kind of revolutionary coaching move. It's pretty much SOP which we saw from Rick Neuheisel leading to our previous appearances on ESPN's Thursday night massacre games.

Here are Mora's comments after practice this am: (thank you Edward Lewis from BruinSportsReport.com):

Per Mora the team looked "sharp" today as our guys are "anxious" to get it going against a really "good" team on the road. Mora called Utah a "tough" and "disciplined' program which is a "solid" and "well-coached" team.  He also called Utah very "efficient" on offense, which takes cares of the football and on defense doesn't give up big plays. He complimented what Dennis Erickson has added to that program as it's offensive coordinator this season.


Mora doesn't seem all that concerned about elevation. 4,000 feet shouldn't be an issue. It becomes an issue when they are maybe "mile" high above sea-level (hello gb).

The reporters not surprisingly tried to bait him to comment on Lane Kiffin asked him whether it would impact UCLA's recruiting efforts. Mora to no one's surprise didn't provide anything that can be pinned on the bulletin board. He went onto say how "felt" (bad) for Lane and that Kiffin is a "good person."

Some personnel notes of interest:

  • Thigpen could get potentially get somewhere around 5 touches on Thursday night. Mora is not going to have him return kicks. Basically what he wants to see out of Thigpen in his first outing (if it where to happen against Utah) is to assess whether Thigpen can run the ball inside, outside or catch a swing pass and go (yeah, wheel route to Thigpen could be pretty cool).
  • Mora emphasized that Thigpen's appearance would have to be within the flow of the game. He is not going to force it just to get Thigpen carries. Our RB by committee - JJ, Perkins, Steve and Malcolm Jones - are doing pretty good job to date.
  • When complimenting our RB by committee, Mora added that the early season results had a lot to do with blocking from our OL and our receivers. And speaking of our OL, Mora mentioned how XSF is playing with more physicality this year as he has been more "violent" (and Mora meant that as a compliment) with his blocking.

Our OL and the running game will need to be in top-form from the get-go for the Bruins to break their recent ugly streak during Thursday night appearances on tWWL.


GO BRUINS.

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