Coach Mora met with the media after practice and, in contrast to recent appearances, he looked happy and relaxed, and talked more directly about some of the some of the nagging concerns surrounding the team's play this season. From Bruin Sports Report:
We had a really good practice today. I think there's just a little bit of a different mindset. I think we're reaching that point where we understand that the inconsistencies that we've shown have to go away, and the only way we're going to make them go away is practice with a different purpose than we have. Something has to change a little bit and we've talked about that a lot. I think they;'re getting to the point where the repetition of what we do is starting to have a positive effect.
We can't shoot ourselves in the foot. We've got to play more consistently. We've got to play better. We've got to eliminate costly penalties. We've got to tackle better. ...
Credit to Ryan Kartje from the OC Register for following with the right question:
Kartje: Changes like you're talking about, is that more just on the players or the staff…what kind of changes do you make as coaches?
Mora: It's a mindset. It's a mindset change. It's not necessarily how we practice, it's a mindset. It's bearing down even more than we typically do. You know, we practice well, we're focused, but it's now finding the next level. We've had repetition, we've been doing the same thing, and so: less tolerance for errors on the practice field, trying to be perfect in practice so when you get to the game you can play a little bit more fearless. The way you build confidence and build consistency is the way you meet and the way you practice. So it's not necessarily changing the structure of what we do, it's altering the mindset. We're always doing that but it's…let's go, you know, okay…Enough! I'm sure everyone out there watching this feels the same way. Enough.
Enough as in penalties, as in first down runs up the middle, as in vanilla defenses with no adjustments… Yup, Enough!
Vince Lombardi is often incorrectly quoted as saying "Practice makes perfect". What Lombardi actually said is "Only perfect practice makes perfect" and that seemed to be the gist of what Mora was saying after practice today. Of course, if that's true, it raises the question as to why this sense of urgency and precision weren't more apparent after Virginia and Memphis when the concerns first arose this season. And, yes, this is just a post practice interview and this talk needs to translate to the field in order to mean anything, but there is some degree of relief in finally hearing Mora address the recurring questions that are in all our minds and to acknowledge the frustration of seeing the same mistakes over and over.
Mora went on to speak very highly of the Arizona team, noting that their top ten offense is very versatile with 3 or 4 options on each snap and that will test the discipline on the defense to maintain their responsibilities. The head coach acknowledged that this Saturday's game requires an enhanced sense of urgency, and he felt that was present today at practice.
He discussed that the O Line has seen more confidence in the OL during practice after the unit had a couple games with better pass protection and run blocking. He acknowledged that tackle Simon Goines in "back" but now that they are 9 games in to the season, the staff hasn't decided whether to redshirt him at this point. Guard Alex Redmond is also back but they are getting good contributions from Malcolm Bunche, Scott Quessenberry, and Kenny Lacy at that position, so Redmond won't necessarily jump right back into the starting lineup.
On the injury front, Thomas Duarte's hamstring is "better" and he will be a game time decision, but Mora noted that Mossi Johnson has done a great job filling in.
You can watch the entire interview here. Thanks as always to Ed Lewis with Bruin Sports Report
Offensive line Coach Adrian Klemm met with the media and was asked about several of his players.
On Conor McDermott
He doesn't really have any bad habits. He's not an error repeater. He's done a remarkable job for the amount of football he's played.
On Alex Redmond:
He's close to being healthy. I want to have continuity. I don't want to have a lot of moving parts, especially with Conor being new to it. Scotty's gotten comfortable. Him coming back is day to day.
On Scott Quessenberry:
[He's improved the most] at pulling, not getting lost on pulls. Being more decisive. The plan going into the season was to redshirt him, but out of necessity…now you see why you move positions. He's done a hell of a job. Eventually he'll go back to center.
Klemm also discussed the inspiration that Q has shown following his brother David's recent diagnosis with lymphoma and that Quessenberry's effort and focus show that he is playing for something.
You can see Coach Klemm's whole interview here. Thanks to Ryan Kartje from the OC Register for the video:
video from Ryan Kartje/OC Register via YouTube
Two players met with the beat reporters after practice, Eddie Vanderdoes and Paul Perkins.
Vanderdoes said he loves the new LA Steel uniforms that the Bruins will debut this week. The team wore the helmets today at practice. He also discussed the Arizona offense and what he expects to see from them on Saturday.
Thanks again to Ed Lewis with Bruin Sports Report.
video from BSR TV via YouTube
Paul Perkins talked about his 92 yard touchdown run against Colorado and the difficulties with altitude in Boulder, and the benefit of having left tackle Conor McDermott back in the lineup. Perkins noted that, despite being a star at Chandler HS in the Phoenix metro area, he wasn't recruited by Arizona out of high school. Ooops on that one, 'Cats.
Thanks once again to Ed Lewis with Bruins Sports Report.
video from BSR TV via YouTube