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Mora Presser - More Schemes, WSU Notes, and Tempo

A recap of Jim Mora's weekly press conference. He thinks our uniforms are cool.

Andrew Fielding-US PRESSWIRE

The media was antsy this week - they didn't let Mora make a generic opening statement about Washington State. It didn't lead to better questions.

How surprised were you at the effort in the results of your team last week?

I was pleased with it. I wasn't surprised by it, they were working extremely hard. They had a great week of practice and they were focused and ready to get out there and play. When you experience success you're anxious to get out there again to play. When the effort is good they're anxious to get out there and play. The effort is expected to be good.

They looked like a different team, speed wise and everything else...?

We were pretty sharp. The way we practiced during the week, our last full length practice was Thursday morning, Friday night we had a walk through. We gave them some time off their feet. I think at this point in the system it's not a bad thing to do. A little extra time with a night game to recover helped them a little bit. The uniforms were pretty. The uniforms were great.

When asked about trap games:

I do not believe in trap games. That's a term that fans and the media use. I've never used that word with a team and nor will I ever use it with a team. I've never heard a coach use it with a team, and I've been with some darn good coaches.

Do you think uniforms impact their play at all?

I don't want to say no but I don't want to say yes either. Maybe it gives you a little boost but unless you come out and play well early then that boost doesn't mean a thing. It's not about the uniform but it's about the person in the uniform playing. Their mindset, their focus, their intensity, their passion, their attention to detail, the way they're prepared coming into the game, all of those things. I thought we did that well last week. People look at the uniform and gave it too much credit. It was a great looking uniform but I don't think the uniform helped us play the way we played.

How do you think Hester and Price matched up on the WRs, and did that impact the way you called the game defensively?

Early in the game we had some success on defense. I think that the sack on the second play of the game, where Scott, he likes to get rid of the ball quickly, and Andrew Abbott flashed in his throwing lane, forced him to hold it, and we got the sack and we gained some confidence. They've got big physical receivers and our corners have got some length to them. They're taller, longer guys, and when they get up against some guys that have some size and get their hands on them early they can get some success. It allows you to bring more of your focus to the inside of your defense, and it's what Arizona likes to do, throw it between the numbers. We put more guys in there and it helped.

About playing a team that passes 50 times a game:

We're finally getting used to the pace and tempo of the college game. This is the third week in a row going against a team that likes to spread the field and dish it off to a lot of different guys. Mike Leach does a great job conceptually in the pass game of making us defend the field vertically and horizontally. The record might not reflect it but you see that offense becoming what he wants it to become. It boils down to us playing with discipline, play after play, tackling well, getting pressure on the quarterback, being where we need to be in coverage, and getting opportunities and capitalizing on it.

Is it an advantage that the defense practices against a spread in practice?

I think it helps, I really do. I think there has been only one drive this year where I felt like we didn't match the tempo of our opponent, and that was the second drive against ASU. A lot of that has to do with the first practice of spring to the last practice we had Friday night it has been about tempo. Last week our offensive scout team did a tremendous job of pushing the tempo. Each week when we recognize a scout team player of the week, and this week we recognized the entire offensive look team. We did 35 plays in 12 minutes with our look team. That's five offensive linemen going 35 plays without taking a break. That's hard to do and they did a heck of a job.

Was there anything you did differently to prep for Arizona?

We play our schemes, we tweak it each week. People don't make wholesale changes. People talk about Bill Belichek, putting in a new scheme each week, that's not true. You have a scheme that you run, you tweak it each week for your opponent. The important thing is you understand what you're doing and do it that way every time. We had a night where we made fewer mistakes at critical times. Football games are chaotic, and you're competing against 11 other players that are highly skilled running a scheme that are designed to beat your scheme. It came together pretty nicely for us defensively.

Is it easier to scheme when you're playing the same type of offense two weeks in a row?

Yeah because there is some familiarity. As you go into a week you familiarize yourself with the opponents schemes and what they like to do. When there is some familiarity it allows you to take some of the mental space that you use for preparation and devote it to yourself a little bit opposed to how the opponent is trying to attack us. Even though they make look the same, the spread, the route concepts, there will be their own variations. They may line up the same pre-snap, but once the ball is snapped there is some difference. There is some carry over in your pre-snap adjustments.

Does Marquess Wilson's suspense affect WSU?

They won't change. They do what they need to do. I don't want to minimize the abilities of opponents on opposing teams, but I think it's really important that you prepare for a scheme, because schemes don't change that much at any level. You got to learn the scheme and have plans for particular players that can pose problems within that scheme.

Any danger in playing a team in some sort of turmoil?

That stuff doesn't matter to us. Once you let temperature, environment and the psyche of another team bother you, you've got issues. We don't address it, it doesn't matter to us, it's not in our orbit, we don't care. We're worried about the UCLA Bruins.