Following his first 0-1 start to a season during his tenure at UCLA, head coach Jim Mora has seen an increased sense of urgency in quarterback Josh Rosen, who threw 3 picks against Texas A&M, and the rest of his football team during practice this week.
"I really want to see if we can take the lessons we learned last week and apply them on Saturday night," Mora said after an early practice.
The Bruins switched to early morning practices, the practice schedule they follow while class is in session, even though UCLA won't start classes for two more weeks.
"I see not only Josh, but everyone on the team being more locked in," TE Austin Roberts said, who had 5 catches for 61 yards, including a 2-point conversion against Texas A&M. "Knowing that we can be beat, we're not invincible, is something that I think is going to be beneficial to us as we go on throughout the season."
While Mora was impressed with the team's resilience in coming back from being down 15 in the 4th quarter to tie the game, he wants his players to look at last week's loss to reinforce the importance of every single play.
"If you look at a game in its entirety, it can be overwhelming. So we just talk about breaking the game down to 4-6 second segments," Mora explained. "I think a game like that just reinforces how important every single play is. You never know when a critical play is going to occur."
"Don't have mistakes. No mental mistakes. Just be focused. That's pretty much what our mindset is," RB Bolu Olorunfunmi said to reporters before saying what maybe we all are thinking.
"We feel like we beat ourselves last week. We feel like we left a lot on the field."
Caleb Wilson Gets More PT
After a not so subtle dig at Nate Iese, Mora said that redshirt freshman TE Caleb Wilson would see more playing time. Josh Rosen approached Wilson on Sunday and told him the coaching staff liked what they saw in his play and would make it a point to get him in the game more.
Wilson made the rare move of transferring from across town, where he was a redshirt walk-on tight end, before joining the good guys in Westwood.
Asked why he thinks the coaches are impressed with him, Wilson said, "I think one of my things is I'm pretty consistent with my hands."
But he's not letting the attention from the hot shot QB and the coaches get to his head.
"I'm not going to get too high on myself. I gotta continue to work and continue to show that I can play more and that I can contribute to the team."
Bolu Scores First TD
I almost didn't believe it until I heard it, but, despite plenty of playing time last year, Bolu Olorunfunmi's touchdown on Saturday was the first of his college career.
"I've achieved a long, lost mission," he joked to reporters on Wednesday.
"It's been two years since I last scored a touchdown."
Mora said there was a plan to get Mique Juarez back with the team, but, characteristically, wouldn't say what that plan was.
He said Nate Starks could get to play against UNLV on Saturday, but "I'd have to decide to play him."
Sounds like Takkarist McKinley is questionable. Deon Hollins and Cameron Griffin, still working back from concussions, will be game-time decisions.
See more from Coach Mora, Austin Roberts, Caleb Wilson, Kenny Walker, and Bolu Olorunfunmi. Videos are courtesy of Thuc Nhi Nguyen of the LA Daily News.
HC Jim Mora:
TE Austin Roberts:
TE Caleb Wilson:
WR Kenny Walker:
RB Bolu Olorunfunmi: