Coach Mora met with the reporters for the first time during this Stanford game week today. Here is the video of his post-practice presser:
Key injury and personnel related notes:
- Ellis McCarthy is in a "red shirt" today. Mora is 99 percent sure that he is going to be available on Saturday.
- Mora is not sure whether Jordon James will be back for Saturday, which is tough news for the running game. This means Paul Perkins will most likely get his second straight start.
- Darius Bell is banged up a bit as his ankle "buckled" but Mora thinks he will be ready.
- Darren Andrews will be back for Saturday game.
- Mora hasn't heard anything from Pac-12 conference re. Cassius Marsh. He doesn't expect to get additional suspensions as he sat out the second half after getting the ejected in the first. Usually suspension carries over for one half into next game, if the player gets kicked out in the first. That wasn't the case against Cal last Saturday.
Mora talked about minimizing mistakes (he used the term "critical errors") against a team like Stanford. The margin of error is not going to be much against one of the best teams in the conference.
Mora said he is not all that worried about Brett Hundley' who is still "developing" as a QB. He called some of Brett's throws that have been off the mark this season as "correctable decisions." He also said Brett is not a QB who is "affected" by the pressure or environment pointing to the recent road environments in Salt Lake City and Lincoln.
Mora also talked about playing with "emotion" but "not emotionally," saying that it's not about whipping them into a "frenzy" on Tuesday but slowly "build" them up through the week. I am assuming he is emphasizing that this means playing with poise and focus against an elite opponent. That goes back to his previous point and point we have been repeatedly making this year (and made it last season). Let's cut down on those penalties.
Jack Wang has more notes on Mora's comments on Inside UCLA blog. In terms of articles in the traditional media as we are in "Stanford week," Chris Foster from the LA Times has a piece comparing rejuvenation of the UCLA football program under Mora with Jim Harbaugh's epic rebuilding job of Stanford football before reviving the 49ers.
Foster omitted a key difference between Mora and Harbaugh. Unlike Harbaugh, Mora didn't inherit a talent-depleted UCLA football program. He took over a program that was well recruited by the previous head coach, who just didn't good job of managing and developing the talent. There is also the part of Harbaugh kicking behind and taking names in the NFL, something Mora wasn't able to do much of as a .500 coach before coming over to Westwood.
It's a little early to make this comparisons IMHO. I think we can get to those comparisons depending on the results of next two weekends and finding out whether UCLA wins a BCS bowl game before Hundley is done in Westwood. I guess there is one similarity - they both seem to like wearing black fwiw.