Head Coach Jim Mora and the Bruin players who spoke to the media on Monday afternoon were pretty up front about the mistakes they made at Kyle Field against Texas A&M.
"Like I said right after the game on Saturday, my play was unacceptable," quarterback Josh Rosen said, after watching film of Saturday’s overtime loss against the Aggies. "It was a pretty bad first half and I can’t let it happen again."
Wide receiver Darren Andrews was surprised to see how many opportunities to score points were blown during the game.
"It hurt a little bit, knowing that we could’ve had those points," Andrews said.
"I think I might’ve said after the game, we just gotta eliminate the ‘if only’ plays — ‘if only that had happened,’" Jim Mora said to the media before practice on Monday.
"So that’s what will be hard to do. Just a sense of focus and urgency that we’re trying to develop in these young men every day."
UCLA hosts UNLV on Saturday, September 10th to open the home slate at the Rose Bowl. UNLV beat FCS Jackson State 63-13 this weekend. The Bruins opened as a 25.5 point favorite in UNLV’s hometown betting market.
But the Bruins must first focus on eliminating their own mistakes.
"Our focus needs to be just on us improving, and playing to our standard and eliminating penalties and mistakes," Mora said. "We’re playing UNLV and we’re going to prepare for them all week, but on Saturday we need to go out and we just need to play UCLA football."
Rosen said that if they can fix their mistakes, the season is by no means derailed.
"I think we can accomplish everything we want to do."
Kenny Walker Could Be the Guy
Senior wide receiver Kenny Walker showed that he could be the go to guy in the receiver corps that the Bruins have been looking for this season. Though, he didn’t always look like he’d be a great receiver, maybe just a track guy who would never fully grasp football (pun intended).
"Last year to this year, he’s a completely different person. He’s got a new level of confidence. He knows how to use his speed and threaten guys and use it to his advantage," Rosen said of his top pass catcher from Saturday’s game.
Walker caught 6 passes for 115 yards, including a 62-yard touchdown in the 4th quarter, which set up a 2-point conversion to tie the game.
"I was so proud of Kenny, man, he’s come a long way," fellow receiver Darren Andrews said. "I think he proved a lot of people wrong about him. So I hope he continues to do that, and I think he will."
Tight end Austin Roberts was Rosen’s other top target, catching 5 passes for 61 yards, including the 2-point conversion in the 4th quarter.
As part of UCLA's silent count at Kyle Field on Saturday, guard Kenny Lacy would look back to see when Josh Rosen was ready to take the snap, then tap center Scott Quessenberry letting him know he could snap the ball. On a play with under a minute to go in the 4th quarter that would result in a UCLA interception, the referee, part of a Pac-12 officiating crew, inexplicably tapped Quessenberry, who snapped the ball to an unready Rosen.
"It's befuddling to me that after an entire game, in the most crucial moment, the official would decide that he's going to come up now and touch our center," Mora said.
Rosen would fumble the snap, then not get his eyes back up to see A&M safety Justin Evans in his passing lane. The interception would end the Bruins' shot to put up the potential winning points before an overtime session.
UCLA has requested an explanation from the conference as to why the incident occurred.
Mora addressed injuries and other personnel matters on Monday from Saturday’s game.
Takkarist McKinley re-injured his groin and is day-to-day.
Deon Hollins and Cameron Griffin should be able to play against UNLV, Mora "hopes."
Nate Starks will practice with the team this week, though whether or not he sees the field at the Rose Bowl on Saturday will be determined by the coaches.
You may have wondered what happened to Theo Howard on Saturday? "You can’t get everyone in," Mora said about the true freshman.
If he has good hands, hopefully he can get in pretty soon...
Check out more from Coach Mora, Josh Rosen, Darren Andrews, Scott Quessenberry, Jayon Brown, and Kenny Young during their press availability on Monday.
Big thanks to Ed Lewis of Bruin Sports Report for the videos. Thanks, Ed!
Head Coach Jim Mora:
QB Josh Rosen:
WR Darren Andrews:
OL Scott Quessenberry:
LB Kenny Young:
LB Jayon Brown: