Starting off with the bad news...The Bruins' practice this morning was marred near the end by an injury to Steven Manfro.
UCLA running back Steven Manfro suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury in practice today. Mora didn't sound optimistic about it.— Ryan Kartje (@Ryan_Kartje) September 2, 2014
Coach Mora agreed in his post practice interview that "It looked like it was rather serious". Well, let's hope it's not as bad as it looked.
Mora reflected on the Virginia game and focused on some of the highlights, including the play of the defense and special teams, and winning on the road. That's not really the sort of honesty and mea culpa that would make Bruin fans feel any better or glean much insight about Saturday, but Mora has never been one to sound openly pessimistic to the media. Coach Adrian Klemm did not hold back however. More on that below.
Mora did speak highly of the play of Paul Perkins and defensive lineman Kenny Clark. Eric Kendricks won the Pac-12 defensive player of the week, and Myles Jack probably wasn't far behind, but the play of the U.C.L.A. defensive front and especially Clark kept those linebackers clean to make all those tackles. And even then, Clark still registered 8 tackles of his own, which is a big big number for any D lineman. He deserves a ton of credit for the defensive success on Saturday.
On the other side of the coin, Mora did admit that offensive lineman NaJee Toran had a rough game at right guard. The coach took up for his rookie by agreeing that it was a tough test for the true freshman to go from practicing against the same defense and walk into a brand new situation and start playing from the first snap, and that he expects him to grow a lot from the experience.
Mora spoke of a couple other newcomers Kenny Young looked okay, saying he played "pretty darn well" for a first game, and that he may get some time in the nickel if they want to give Kendricks a rest. Safety Tahaan Goodman "had some really good plays and some plays where he needs to be a little bit better." Goodman was replaced in the second half by true frosh Jaleel Wadood who had a nice game for his first time out.
Also, Mora said that the Bruins do have a backup quarterback. Just don't ask who it is. Hopefully, we'll get the answer on Saturday during some late third quarter garbage time.
video courtesy BSR TV via YouTube
So while Coach Mora went straight forward and talked up defense, Coach Klemm got down and dirty about his offensive line's performance.
It was probably one of the shittiest performances I've been a part of as a player or a coach.
It's my job to prep them, and sometimes you may think a guy's ready for some things that maybe he's not. I knew we'd struggle a little bit with some changes at key positions but I didn't think it would be to that degree.
Overall, it wasn't a good job by any means. It starts with just being a little more focused.
It wasn't so much from a physical aspect but from a mental aspect when things went downhill it just started start snowballing with false starts…It's hard to get back on track with the kind of offense we run, with tempo and having a rhythm and we were never able to get that...
We almost lost the game for us but luckily the defense saved us.
I take a tremendous amount of pride in what I do and the product I put out there, and they're a reflection of me. And I understand that there are things that come with some of the things that I've been fortunate enough to receive since I've been here. Jim's taken care of me and different things like that. So I take it even more hard, in terms of how the group performed.
People get on Noel about play calling, What do you want him to call when is 3rd and long fricking twenty times in a game. It all falls back on our shoulders.
We can't feel sorry for ourselves. We gotta come out here and we gotta frickin ball.
I would think to some degree they know on their own that it was a shit show, and this can't happen.
Well, there's no issue with ownership. Now let's see if they get things straightened out for Saturday. Still no official word on if Jake Brendel will be ready.
Thaks again to Edward Lewis with Bruin Sports Report for the video.
video courtesy BSR TV via YouTube
Personally, watching and hearing Klemm makes me feel a bit better. That's a football coach who is pretty pissed, and other than a woman scorned, hell hath no fury like an angry football coach. He knows how serious things were last Saturday and you can see his passion for the issue. We'll see how much is fixable and gets fixed before next Saturday. Second, reading between the lines, they really missed Brendel. He was dressed and on the sidelines at Virginia, so he must be close to returning, if not for this week, then at least for Texas when the road gets tougher. It doesn't give me a lot of faith in our depth which was as surprising to me as it was disappointing, but getting Brendel back should make a lot of difference up front.