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Spaulding Report: The Eye Test Follow Up and McClure Trolls Southern Cal

Coach Mora, D Line coach Angus McClure, RB Paul Perkins, and WR Jordan Payton met with the media today after practice to talk UCLA Football, and we were glad to get some responses to some issues that IE Angel posed in this week's EyeTest (and that we were all thinking ourselves, right?). To the replay...

Paul Perkins is gearing up to beat down the trogans again a week from Saturday.
Paul Perkins is gearing up to beat down the trogans again a week from Saturday.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday is Jim Mora's day to meet with the media and he, along with D Line Coach Angus McClure, RB Paul Perkins, and WR Jordan Payton all spoke after practice this morning.

Thank you to Ed Lewis and Bruin Sports Report for the four videos.

The head coach kept it simple and straight forward this morning.  The official word today is that the team is focusing exclusively on their own work this week and will start game planning more specifically for Southern Cal next week on their usual schedule. And coaches never lie to the media.

Coach Mora said the Bruins are looking to maintain their recent momentum with good practices during the off week. He started out by complimenting the defensive line of Kenneth Clark, Eddie Vanderdoes, and Owamagbe Odighizuwa and then noted the importance of Deon Hollins recent contribution to the pass rush. Mora also praised the contribution of Takkarist McKinley, calling him a dynamic pass rusher and player. Mora also complimented freshman LB Kenny Young, noting that he got more playing time last week because the Bruins were in base defense more often than recent games.

Someone was paying attention to IE Angel's Eye Test this week. IE wrote this yesterday

Isaako Savaiinaea actually played a significant number of snaps at a fullback position instead of Nate Iese in this game. I noticed him on the field on offense, but he was on offense far more than Myles Jack was. Probably around 10-15 snaps. Actually looked good. Sealed a MLB on a 7-yard run by Perkins on UCLA's first TD drive. Drove a DE off the line on the 17-yard completion to Jordan Payton in a 1-on-1 situation. Ran a flat-route on a 2nd and 7 inside the 20-yard line and was more open than Paul Perkins was, so he is obviously trustworthy enough for the role. Amazed no one has covered this in the media...

Reading the Eye Test is a good thing, because IE makes us all smarter. A reporter today (sounded like Ed Lewis?) asked about Isaako's play at fullback against the Huskies. Turns out it was 10 plays and Mora said he did "really really well" and "he's a natural". The head coach added they'll continue to play him at FB, but they don't plan to move him there permanently. Isaako has been all over the field for the Bruins this year, playing both inside and outside LB, defensive end, and on special teams already this season.

Wildcat, Coach. Direct snap to Isaako...

Okay, let's hope NO ONE is paying attention to me.

There was more follow up on recent BN topics when another reporter (sounds like the OC Register's Ryan Kartje) asked Mora about Coach Kennedy Polamalu and his influence on the running back group. Mora called Polamalu a "tough, hard nosed, no nonsense, but very compassionate coach" and that he draws the best out of his players. Our friend Chris Foster of the LA Times expanded on some of Mora's comments about the RB coach on their site this morning.

We've written plenty of times across this blog all season how good the RB unit has been and that Coach Polamalu deserves huge credit. It does go to show that while recruiting is important to bringing in a stream of talent each year, it is just as important to have coaches to develop that talent after the LOI's are signed.

Speaking of running backs, Mora said freshman RB Nate Starks was going to be fine.

You can watch the entire video here. Good job by Lewis and Kartje out there today.

video from BSR TV via YouTube

Defensive line coach Angus McClure also spoke with the media this morning. His D Line unit has been very good all season but has really kicked up another level the last couple weeks.The coach is taking advantage of the bye week to let some of the younger players get more reps in practice. McClure talked specifically about Owa's great season and the rapid development of McKinley.

McClure went full troll on Southern Cal when he blew off a question about the Bruins' next opponent, then vaguely acknowledged he is aware the Bruins face "Southern California" next week. Awesome.

After the running backs, I'd say the D line has been the next best and most consistent unit for U.C.L.A. this season, and Coach McClure is another example of a good recruiter who also gets a lot out of his players on the field.

You can watch the entire interview here.

video from BSR TV via YouTube

Paul Perkins spoke briefly after practice, talking about the benefits of working with Coach Polamalu and how he is handling the increased workload on the field this season.

You can watch his entire interview here.

video from BSR TV via YouTube

Jordan Payton talked about how the offense is working the deep ball into the flow of the offense. Payton did have the audacity to admit the next game is "a big one" and he talked about some of the match ups.  Payton graciously tried to accept the blame for that horrendous offensive PI flag that robbed Devin Lucien of a touchdown in Seattle claiming that his physical play earlier in the game primed the ref to make that atrocious call. Come on, JP, we all know that the SPTRs suck all by themselves. Payton also talked about the team's red zone success and the Bruins' all time leader in touchdown passes.

Watch his entire interview here.

video from BSR TV via YouTube