With just 4 days left till 2012 kickoff - Coach Jim Mora is kind of in a "lockdown" mode at Spaulding. He has pretty much clamped down with the beat reporters not providing much specific to their inquiries. As he mentioned in his presser after Sunday's report (in a classic response to an usual snarky question from LA Times' Chris Foster around 2:16 mark of this video):
I am not going to comment on injuries. I am not going to comment on who is playing where. I am not going to comment on who practiced well. That would be really ridiculous thing for me to do in light of the fact that our opponent is going to read your stuff and watch you.
I have to say - I loved that. Watching him just smack down a hack like Foster was fun. At the end of the day these post practice pressers don't matter as much unless there are no signs of life or energy like we used to see in the videos during Dorrell years when he gave us the classic deer in the head lights look. This is certainly not the case here.
What Mora is doing sense given how UCLA deals with hostility on a day-to-day basis from the Los Angeles Times and ESPN in general given that network is the flagship network for Southern Cal. I do feel bad for hard working guys from Bruin Report Online, Bruin Sports Report and Inside UCLA, but those guys will find a way to get us information. I think Mora's approach could be helpful to stymie the nonsense we have seen from stooges like Foster over the years, who doesn't have any real interest in reporting what actually goes during practices.
Anyway, given Mora's approach we are not getting a lot of micro-details from practices. The main highlight from yesterday was a hint that Kevin McReynolds may be moving from DL to OL. Mora didn't have anything to say as you saw in the video linked above.
Switching positions is not some kind of revolutionary approach. It was done during the previous coaching staff with few players. The key here is whether the player will get a fair shot at his new position and whether the switch makes sense for him in terms of his athletic potential. We will see how that plays out. Some additional notes after the jump.
Coach Mora didn't offer a lot of thoughts on Rice. There isn't much to say in what on paper should be a comfortable win for UCLA. From Peter Yoon at ESPNLA:
Calling Rice a hostile environment might be a stretch. Despite playing in football-mad Texas, the Owls drew an average of only 17,329 fans last season, among the bottom 15 attendance figures among FBS schools.
The biggest home crowd for Rice last season was 25,317 for the Purdue game. The stadium currently configured seats about 50,000, but that is because the end zone seats have been covered in tarp since 2006, taking away about 20,000 seats.
It's probably going to feel pretty empty in there, but Mora is treating it like any other road game. He's had team meetings about the mindset needed to succeed on the road and the importance of sticking to a routine no matter where you are playing.
Oh man, how in the world are we going to survive that? </snark> Anyway, ICYMI - AHMB started the scouting report of Rice by taking a look at their coaching staff and offense over the weekend. He is going to shift his attention over to the defensive side tomorrow.
I will end this roundup with an amusing comment from Chianti. He spoke to Foster about aspirations of UCLA football this season (emphasis added):
"Jim has brought an infusion of energy and elements of toughness and discipline, which, frankly, we're very pleased to see," Guerrero said. "We're looking to see that translate onto the field."
If it does, Guerrero said, "we have a chance to break into the top 25 again and reestablish the program where we want it to be."
So all Chianti is looking for these days is breaking into the top-25. Let's flashback to Chianti's comments from 10 years ago when he fired Bob Toledo:
"We need to raise the bar, we need to start winning Pac-10 championships again."
If you hate UCLA Chianti's nonsense is nothing but comedy. For rest of us here - it is just tragicomic.