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Spaulding Roundup - Looking ahead to Oregon, Injuries, and Brendel Speaks

Coach Mora speaks to the media as game preparation shifts to the Oregon Ducks.

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks as always to Edward Leis and the BruinSportsReport for the video.

Coach Mora was in a good mood today, sounding extremely upbeat and chipper as he answered questions.

First, injuries:

  • Jordan James is "closer." That's it.
  • Eric Kendricks was back at practice today, wearing a red non-contact jersey.  He will play on Saturday.  Mora is not sure if the bruise is to the kidney itself or the back tissue near the kidney.
  • Conor McDermott will not play this Saturday, due to a separated shoulder.
  • The reports on Simon Goines are "good" but no comment if he'll be back on Saturday.
Looking ahead to playing Oregon, Mora gave his usual peppy speech about the opportunity to play one of the top teams in the country and using it as a chance to get better.

We also got Mora's assessment of Marcus Mariota, which is basically, he's really good.  He says he hasn't seen anyone better than him on film the last two years.  He believes he can play at the next level, and he's excited to watch him play, but maybe not so much this Saturday. If a supplemental draft was held today, and if someone could take him, that'd be awesome.

Mariota cannot be rattled, in Mora's opinion, and he concedes that the Oregon offense will make some plays, but UCLA just needs to regroup, not panic, and play the next play.  Yes, it will be difficult to stop him, especially with the return of De'Anthony Thomas, but Mora says we have a good defense, with some speed  and that gives us a fighting chance.  He was asked specifically about the defensive backs and how they are being prepped, and Mora said that they don't just throw - they are probably the most balanced offense UCLA has seen all year, and the defense has to be in the right spot, not panic, and move on to the next play.

The questions circled back to the freshmen and the offensive line.  Last week UCLA started 7 true freshmen (including the punter) and they kept the game close, with Mora calling it a testament to the way the players compete and to the coaching.  The team was not satisfied with the loss but the future looks bright.

(But...... we thought the playcalling by the coaches could be atrocious at times and the team didn't look 100% ready to play against a Stanford team we could have possibly beaten and some of the fans are falling back into the "well we tried some of the time" mentality... let's not see that again this weekend, gentlemen. )

Next video we have is from Ryan Kartje, who talked to Jake Brendel.  There were the usual questions about the freshmen on the offensive line and how they're adapting with it, but the snaps were not addressed until the end (or maybe earlier, it was REALLY hard to hear) and Brendel says he is dealing with it, and he has no explanation for why his snaps are coming in low.