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Spaulding Report: Checking in with UCLA Placekicker J.J. Molson

Coach Mora, Josh Rosen, JJ Molson, and Boss Tagaloa spoke with reporters on Wednesday, still reflecting a bit on one Arizona school, but mostly talking about the other.

NCAA Football: Stanford at UCLA
Freshman place kicker JJ Molson attempts a field goal against Stanford.
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

To fill the shoes left by departing Lou Groza Award winner Ka’imi Fairbairn, Jim Mora traveled to the land of the Maple Leaf flag to haul in JJ Molson, a Canadian with a refreshingly buoyant manner who’s filling said shoes with a pair of bright orange cleats to match his bright orange hair.

"So I had the gold cleats during spring ball, and then—I’m not supposed to say this—but they were actually Nike cleats, so I would spray-paint them over. Sorry, Adidas. But then coaches didn’t want me to wear the gold anymore," Molson said. "So, I asked Brendan, our equipment manager, if they had any leather cleats, and this was the only cleat that I liked on my foot, but this was the only color as well."

After five games, the true freshman has performed just about on par with Fairbairn’s first five games as a true freshman—maybe even a bit better. Fairbairn was 7-11 after five games in 2012, and missed three PAT’s in his first game at Rice.

Molson is 7-10 on field goal attempts as a Bruin. He’s been perfect on PAT’s, and perfect inside the thirty. He’s 3-5 from the 30-39 yard range, and 0-1 beyond 40. Molson doesn’t give himself a pass on the three misses though, just because he’s a true freshman.

To Molson, all three misses were "unacceptable," and he remembers each try in earnest detail.

On the miss at Texas A&M: "That one, even though Coach Sumlin iced me, I just messed up my steps. I didn’t angle them off properly, and I had the distance."

On the miss at BYU: "A lack of concentration too, and I didn’t angle my steps properly."

On Arizona: "I was taking my steps back and I looked up at the play clock, and I saw I was at 12 seconds. So instead of staying dialed in I kinda tried to rush my steps. And instead of angling off my steps to get that proper angle I just went straight."

The kicker seems to have hit a new level of focus this week, following a 36-yard attempt that boinked off the goal post in the first half of the Arizona game.

"I haven’t seen him kick as well this season as he’s kicked the last two days [in practice]. The confidence. Straight, strong, good operation time," Jim Mora said to reporters on Wednesday. "He’s serious about his craft. He really wants to be good."

But don’t worry about the kid getting homesick on foreign soil.

"My mom comes to every home game, and she’s going to continue," Molson said. "Everyone back home watches all the games, I tell them when the game is on."

Rosen Thinks It’s Time To Stop Thinking Too Much

According to Josh Rosen, in comments after the Arizona game last weekend, one reason the offense suddenly improved was that he decided to stop thinking too much and just play football.

It’s a theme he’s taking into practice this week, and hoping to continue to work on as the season moves forward.

"There’s a lot of thinking going on, and I think we need to move towards more reacting," Josh Rosen said on Wednesday. "Thinking is what happens Monday through Friday, and then Saturday’s when you just got to react."

Now about halfway through a season, the offense isn’t so new anymore.

"With our base game plan, there’s definitely more familiarity the longer you’re in it," Rosen said.

Just rip it, Josh.

Mora Says Injury Reports Are for Bettors

Jim Mora didn’t give any new information about injuries (as per), again explained why he doesn’t like to provide information (competitive advantage), and then digressed into why there are injury reports in the NFL to begin with.

"The NFL does it for bettors. That’s the only reason they release an injury report is for bettors. And I don’t think that I want to encourage people to bet on college football," Mora said. "Our job is to try to win, not provide information to the fans, and the teams that may hurt us in our ability to win."

But from what we can infer, I wouldn’t expect to see Kolton Miller on Saturday, sounds like Eli Ankou is day to day.

See more from Head Coach Jim Mora, Josh Rosen, J.J. Molson, and Boss Tagaloa below. Videos are courtesy of Thuc Nhi Nguyen of the LA Daily News.

HC Jim Mora:

QB Josh Rosen:

K JJ Molson:

DL Boss Tagaloa: