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Spaulding Roundup: UCLA Football's Coach Mora Speaks About His Defense, Snap Counts, and Bowl Projections

Are you ready to head to Texas?

Kevork Djansezian

Coach Mora spoke to the media today, mostly about his defense:

Thanks to Ryan Kartje at the OC Register.

Some of the highlights:

  • Nate Starks' knee is fine.
  • Mora spoke a lot about snaps today.  First he spoke about Takkarist McKinley, and putting him on the outside and Owa Odhigizuwa on the inside on third down, and they do it mostly to get McKinley more snaps.  When asked about Kenny Young, he said he also needs to get more snaps - he is the starter in the base defense, but we've had to play a lot of nickel this year, and he's Eric Kendricks' back up when we're in nickel, and you cannot take EK off the field.
  • As for Owa, Mora called Owa "violent" in that he's cutting it loose more, and he's just impressive to watch.
  • Another person getting "snaps" is Isaako Savaiinaea.  He played at FB a few snaps last week too, and he's a natural on offense. He played RB in high school, but they are not going to move him full time to offense. Apparently we like this "two way player" thing at UCLA.
  • We aren't managing the snaps for Paul Perkins per se, but Coach Polamalu does a nice job of rotating in Nate Starks and Jordon James, along with Myles Jack. Perkins always bounces back each week, but it helps to be 19 or 20 years old, according to Mora.
  • Mora also praised Coach Polamalu's coaching of the RBs on pass protection, and his ability to get the toughness out of his RBs to stare down a blitzing LB.
Coach Angus McClure also spoke to the media:

As the other competent position coach at UCLA, he spoke about the pass rush and the defensive line.

As we look ahead, the bowl projections are coming out each week.  While we may be on the outside looking in at the college playoffs, some of our victories, as the season goes along, do look better and better.  ESPN has this breakdown of our ASU win:
A Thursday night road win against what is now a top-10 team stands out as one of the season-defining games in the Pac-12 South race. The Sun Devils' recent victory over Notre Dame made it look even better for the Bruins.

And also about our Utah loss that doesn't look as terrible, although it still is because we STILL SHOULD HAVE BEAT UTAH:

Utah 30, UCLA 28: As it turns out, Utah is pretty darn good. The Utes were unranked at the time of this game, but the selection committee had them at No. 17 heading into this past Saturday. The Utes gave Oregon a fight, and their past two losses have come to the league leaders in both divisions.

Well, they gave Oregon a fight until this happened, and it kind of unraveled from there.

As for the bowl projections, FoxSports has us now in the Alamo Bowl, against Oklahoma, up from the San Francisco Bowl, projecting us at the Pac-12 number 2.  CBSSports has us in the Holiday BowlESPN as of last week had us in the Holiday Bowl.

Finally, Eric Kendricks is picking up more award nominations, and he has been named one of the 10 finalists of the Senior CLASS Award, recognized for his work in the classroom, on the field, in the community, and the strength of his character.  You can vote for Kendricks here.  Ameer Abdullah is currently leading, and Kendricks is near the back of the pack, but he is beating out Taylor Kelly from ASU. Let's get that vote total up.

Go Bruins.