How Coach Mora is going to handle the issues with our two senior cornerbacks will tell us something about his ability to instill a sense of accountability in the UCLA program. IE Angel blogged extensively about the problem herewith some great questions:
1.) If you have an all-conference cornerback and are solidly 4 deep at safety without that corner playing out of position, why is that guy not playing corner?
2.) Why are two guys who have combined for all of 6 pass defenses and 2 breakups (each and every one of those stats belonging to Sheldon Price) playing corner over that player?
3.) If your coaching staff is willing to experiment with a 4 star QB (Devin Fuller) at WR despite being completing passes to 11 players almost every game, then why aren't they willing to experiment with a four star CB (Marcus Rios) at CB when the pass defense is struggling?
4.) How can a cornerback be starting on your defense if he is 4th on the team in tackles despite not having a single pass defended, broken up or intercepted?
That makes sense but it's unclear right now what Mora is going to do with these two starting this Saturday. He didn't give any clear cut answers this morning when he talked to the reporters about it. He is publicly not hinting at any changes at cornerback:
We've gotta help them as a defense. We have to continue to get pressure. We have to do a good job in our underneath drops, we have to help them in good calls at the right situation, but they have to make plays. I think they'll respond, I do. What I'd like to see is a higher level of consistency in the play. Not so up and down. That's a group that with three seniors should be able to play with a level of consistency that's higher than has maybe been shown at this point. That's what we're asking them to do.
When he was asked about whether he is considering adjustments in personnel his answer was vague:
Whether we're playing really well or struggling we're always trying to create competition and get the best mix of players on the field to give us success. The last couple of weeks we've been getting Fabian Moreau and Marcus Rios a little bit more time at corner. That's to create competition. Also, they need repititions. Next year these two guys (Price, Hester) will be gone and if we have the opportunity to get them in there we will.
We don't have a problem with Mora offering vague generalities at these pressers. But how he handles the cornerback situation from hereon out will tell us something about whether culture change is actually happening or it's just more of the same lip service we have heard from failed Dan Guerrero hires from past 10+ years.