UCLA opens its season tomorrow at the Rose Bowl versus Virginia and, like clockwork, Jim Mora is getting a little bit cranky with the media. Speaking after practice yesterday, Coach Mora was asked what kind of leash he was going to put on freshman quarterback Josh Rosen.
Mora was visibly agitated by OC Register beat writer Joey Kaufman's question. He responded by saying:
What do you mean by leash? We don't put leashes on our players. They're not dogs. They're people. I want him to friggin' win. I want him to play his ass off and win.
Coach Mora might want to consider sending out a memo to Noel Mazzone about that because Mazzone is quoted talking about the offense line in an article by Chris Foster from the LA Times. Mazzone said:
[The offensive lines is] a veteran group and Adrian has done such a good job during the week that we will pretty much take the leashes off and let our guys play.
When another reporter tried to rephrase Kaufman's question, Mora responded by saying, "I just answered that question." He then scolded the reporter saying, "Well, you didn't [rephrase the question]."
Earlier in the interview, Coach Mora spoke about how he's excited about the first game and how it helps the team keep it's routine without having to get on an airplane.
Mora was also asked about Coach Bradley's impact. He said:
I think that will be reflected in how we play on Saturdays, more than anything. But, without seeing us on the field playing as a unit, I think a sense of confidence.
Thanks to Jack Wang from InsideSoCal for the video of Coach Mora.
Foster's article looks at the challenges the offensive line will face with Coach Adrian Klemm suspended for the game and writes that Mazzone indicated that in-game decisions will be a group decision and Mazzone joked that he "may help with an adjustment here and there."
Coach Mora seems to have a good understanding of what Jon Tenuta's defense will do. Mora said, "Our assumption is they will bring massive amounts of heat at a true freshman quarterback starting his first game."
Foster has another article comparing Rosen's first start to Hundley's first start. He writes that the big difference between the two is Mora's own mindset because he didn't know how the team would react to things since it was also his first game as the Bruins' head coach. Mora notes that he knows how the team will react to game situations this time around.
One of the reasons he can have confidence in that is the confidence the team has in its new quarterback. Joey Kaufman of the OC Register wrote about that confidence. He quotes Deon Hollins, Jake Brendel and Paul Perkins. Each of whom offer different reasons why they are confident in Rosen.
Hollins talks about his football intelligence:
The great thing about Josh is just how smart he is already. A lot of times, with freshmen, they get on the field, their mind is wandering. Big lights, big crowd, college football. He’s just so focused all the time. I feel like that’s really what separates him from other freshmen.
Meanwhile, Jake spoke of Rosen's athleticism:
He’s a tremendous athlete, and he does amazing things. I mean, he’s a good quarterback.
And, Perkins discussed his knowledge of the offense:
He definitely has a good grasp of the concepts offensively.
In a separate article, Kaufman looks at the state of the defensive backfield. He writes about how Marcus Rios has slid in as a starting cornerback, replacing Ishmael Adams even before Adams' arrest earlier this week. The main reason, according to Kaufman, is Rios' size. He also spends some time discussing Rios' remarkable comeback from being in the hospital with a potentially deadly disease to getting back out on the football field.
Kaufman also has published three projected depth charts. We all know that Coach Mora chooses not to do that, but Kaufman has put these together based off practice observations. He has one for offense, one for defense, and one for special teams.
And, last but not least, BruinReportOnline has video of both Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone and Defensive Coordinator Tom Bradley. Thanks to David Woods from BruinReportOnline for sharing these.
As long as Tom Bradley can find his way to the Rose Bowl on Saturday, I expect the defense to give Virginia a very tough time.