As always, thanks to BruinSportsReport for the video.
Coach Mora's press conference this week went off without a single cell phone ringing, so he went the nearly full 20 minutes today. Not so smart questions did return, but we learn to roll with them as we pick out the info that's relevant:
Let's start by wrapping up the Nebraska game. Coach Mora was appreciative to the Nebraska fans, especially to the student section for releasing the blue and gold balloons, and also for the helmet sticker. Nebraska was going with a black, white and red theme on Saturday, but their helmet sticker was blue for Nick, and Mora really appreciated the gesture. Mora also mentioned that Oregon sent an autographed team poster, Cal reached out to the team, and Southern Cal held a moment of silence, and he was thankful to the other Pac-12 teams.
When dealing with the emotional aspect of Saturday's game, Mora was extremely proud of how his players handled the situation. He was proud that they were able to come back and handle the environment of Nebraska, and the maturity and mental toughness showed by the players was really special. He was asked how draining the game was for him, and he, as always, said it wasn't about him, he was more concerned about Nick's family and the players he was responsible for coaching. He does what he can do to deal with it on his own.
The lesson that Mora hoped that the players took away from the game is that you are responsible for each other's dreams. He mentioned that because we handled business against Nevada, because we had such a large lead, they were able to make Nick's dream come true of playing for UCLA in a game, at the Rose Bowl, in front of his parents.
Looking ahead to New Mexico State, they will begin game prep shortly and will work to make sure there isn't a hangover effect for the kids this week. The goal is to prepare for the opponent but play to the UCLA football standard.
(as a side note, we opened as a 42.5 point favorite over NMSU.)
Some other quick notes:
- Mora praised the efforts of Jake Brendel on the offensive line, along with true freshman Alex Redmond, singling out Redmond as one of the players of the game. However he did mention that the tackles, who were getting beat in the first half, needed to improve and be more consistent.
- When asked if the offensive line has improved so much that Brett Hundley is no longer being sacked, Mora pointed out that Hundley still needs to throw the ball away, and it would be even fewer than 4 sacks, but the line is doing much better in protection.
- When asked if UCLA is the "Oregon of the South" which is a terrible thing for some bonehead reporter probably 400 miles away to say, Mora said we're "just little old UCLA trying to get better every week."
- Mora said Myles Jack is "special" and he's pretty much proven it in the first two games and will be fun to watch for the next four years, where he could eventually play on offense.
- Anthony Barr may not have a sack yet, and it irritates him immensely that Keenan Graham is leading the country in sacks, but he's happy that the team is 2-0, but he wants to have more of an impact on the team.
- Mora used to make fun of Seali'i Epenesa for not having a sack. He can't anymore!
- It's great that there are five pac-12 teams ranked in the top 25 and people are recognizing there is some quality football being played here in the Pac-12. Suck it, SEC. (editorial commentary there, he didn't say that.)
UCLA was named the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Team of the week, given by the Football Writers of America, edging out Alabama, Colorado and UCF.
Also, Anthony Barr was named the Walter Camp Football Foundation player of the week on defense, after recording 11 tackles and 3 forced fumbles. He was also named the Lott Impact player of the week. Hopefully this is the beginning of an upward trend for Barr as quarterbacks are reintroduced to the Barr exam.