If last week's game kept Bruin fans on the edge of their seats, last night's game kept them jumping out of them. After giving up a touchdown to Arizona on the opening drive, the Bruins responded by scoring 28 consecutive points. Following another Arizona touchdown, UCLA would add two more of its own to give the Bruins a 42-14 halftime lead and UCLA won by a final score of 56-30.
That didn't stop Coach Mora from being critical of the play of the defense in his postgame press conference. Mora said, "We have a lot of work to do in terms of stopping the run game." When asked about his impressions of the good things the defense did, Mora scoffed and said:
Well, I like to stop the run. So, I will say, "Nothing." Nothing impressed me. When I talk about the defense, I'm not talking about the players. I'm talking about all of us. It starts with me. It starts with the assistant coaches and, then, the players. We all have to do a better job. But, for a team to be able to run the ball like that on us is inconceivable to me. I've never seen anything like it. It makes me sick to my stomach....If [the change in quarterbacks] did [make a difference], it shouldn't matter. If it did, it's an excuse and it's a lousy excuse.
If you watch the video of the press conference, Mora has a look on his face when he was asked what impressed him about the defense and, for a moment, it looked like he might go off on a rant like his dad's famous "Playoffs?" rant.
But the best moment of the press conference came after Mora was asked what it felt like to put six touchdowns on the board out of seven first half possessions. Mora responded by saying:
I was pissed we didn't score seven out of seven. No, really. That's how we try to look at things. I know that's unrealistic, but that's what you're supposed to do on offense -- drive down the field and score. We were just efficient. We overcame a couple of false starts early. I was a little nervous about that, to be perfectly frank. I didn't want it to appear to anybody on our team that the environment was going to affect us and we had the two early false starts. That bothered me. I think the most impressive thing our offense did was respond to the first Arizona drive. Arizona takes the ball down and scores on us. And, they did a lot of good things tonight, but, to me, the most impressive thing they did was respond on that first drive and take it down and score.
Meanwhile, Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone spoke about the performance of the offense.
The kids did a nice job tonight....The first half Josh played solid. I thought the o-line did. I think all the kids did. It was kind of cool when they answered on the first drive when Arizona scored. Without watching the film, I thought they did a good job.
Mazzone was asked about the lapse at the start of the second half and how they overcame it. He said that he thought they were going to be able to come out and run the ball. Mazzone added:
That plan didn't work out. So, all those awesome halftime adjustments I made...they all sucked, alright? So, then we said "Hell with it...." So, we got back to where Josh is a little more comfortable and we kind of spread 'em out. And, we got more into our tempo kind of stuff.
Defensive Coordinator Tom Bradley certainly didn't sound satisfied with last night's victory. He said that the team allowed "way too many runs and way too many missed tackles." He added:
That's not how you play good fundamental defense. We were trying to keep the ball in front of us most of the night once we got the lead. We just didn't want to give them the easy score, but we've got to do a much better job tackling....As a defensive coach, the foundation of your defense is tackling and when you don't tackle well, it really doesn't matter what you play. I tell them all the time that the wrong defense played by the right guys is still better than the right defense played by the wrong guys. I really want to emphasize that you have to be fundamentally sound nowadays on defense because people do so many different things to you, it's hard to schematically scheme and do some things.
He also spoke about how the injury to Solomon and play by Randall affected the defense.
We knew when he came in what to expect because we talked about him on film. We made a point of it on film. We didn't think we'd get as much dose of him, obiously, as we did. We were more geared to play Solomon. I hope he's ok, by the way....He's a heck of a competitor. So, I do hope he's ok.
Josh Rosen also met with the media after the game. He spoke about the importance of the first drive.
I thought it sets the tone of the game. You've got to start, start fast, start sharp and get off on the right foot.
On running the ball and not sliding, Rosen admitted he needs to work on that. He added:
Usually, I'm pretty good about sliding. It's just some place instincts just kind of take over. I've definitely got to work on that. I don't know why. I usually do. I just sort of got caught up in it.
He also mentioned that the team went to a silent count because of the crowd noise.
Personally, I like the fact that he has a sense of humor regarding the College GameDay posters. But, no one asked him about the poster of the girl who wants him to call her.
She's an Arizona fan. Josh Rosen is having a really good day. pic.twitter.com/6QMJcwvQ53
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) September 27, 2015