After losing to Stanford on Saturday night, Jim Mora was openly frustrated by his team’s inability to run the football. "It’s something that we need to come up with an answer for immediately, immediately," he said. "We can’t go another game without being able to run the ball."
The Bruins averaged 2.3 yards per carry against the Cardinal defense, and after 4 games are averaging a Pac-12 worst 3.2 yards per rush. The next worst team, Oregon State, is averaging 3.9, to add some perspective. No UCLA team has been as bad at running the football through four games since Karl Dorrell’s first season in 2003.
Based upon viewing the game film from Saturday night, Mora believed that the offense had left 100 yards in the run game on the field in missed opportunities.
"There were some enormous holes that were not hit." Mora said to reporters on Monday. "We have to make sure we do a better job as coaches of teaching exactly what we want, because obviously we didn’t do a good enough job because there was so much out there that we didn’t get."
Kennedy Polamalu, who coaches the running backs and fullbacks as well as coordinating the offense, lamented that he had a hard time focusing on his position unit when he had to worry about the entire offense. Mora said on Monday that that would be adjusted and that Polamalu would be as involved as he ever had been with the backs "going forward."
"You get spread kind of thin, but Kennedy’s doing an amazing job and I love the direction we're headed and I think we’re going to see some major breakthroughs here," Mora said.
Another change coming, Mora said, would be tightening the rotations at running back and receiver, dialing back how many guys get to play. The higher performers will get more practice and game reps.
"You’ll still see all three," Mora said of the running back group. "But you’ll see less of two and more of one."
Bolu Olorunfunmi led all backs with 11 carries for 51 yards, with a long run 23, and averaged 4.6 yards per carry in the game on Saturday night.
Moving on After Heartbreak
"They were as down as I’ve ever seen this group on Saturday after the game," Jim Mora said on Monday.
Giving up a game-winning touchdown with 24 seconds to go against a Stanford team that UCLA had physically owned for most of the game was deflating for the Bruin team.
"Every loss just hurts and everything, but this one kind of stuck out the most," junior defensive lineman Jacob Tuioti-Mariner said to reporters.
The Bruins follow the so called 24-hour rule, where players allow themselves the next day to feel all the feelings before picking up and moving on for the next game.
"We made a pact that when we walked off that field after our corrections period, and we went to our team dinner which we have every Sunday night, that we were going to put our smiles back on our face, and we were gonna reignite the enthusiasm, and we were gonna put that loss behind us, and we were going to look forward with a positive attitude," Mora said.
"But we’ll move on with lessons learned, which is always important."
Arizona comes to the Rose Bowl this Saturday, 0-1 in conference play after an overtime loss at home to Washington.
Jacob Tuioti-Mariner Stole His Move from DeMarcus Ware
Jacob Tuioti-Mariner sacked Stanford QB Ryan Burns after doing a fake spin move to the inside, then turning back around and beating the tackle to the outside. It was a pretty slick move that Tuioti-Mariner said he saw DeMarcus Ware do in a highlight video.
"The play that was called, that gave me the opportunity to do whatever I want at the end," Tuioti-Mariner said. "So I tried it, and got the sack."
And Coach McClure was okay with that?
"Hopefully, I got the sack!"
While Takkarist McKinley will continue to be monitored during practices with this lingering groin injury, the only other injury to the Bruins from Saturday was to defensive lineman Eli Ankou’s elbow.
"He’ll be touch and go for this week," Mora said. "It didn’t look like there was any structural damage, I think it’s now it’s just swelling and pain management."
Check out more from Coach Mora, Kenny Walker, Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, and Scott Quessenberry. Videos are courtesy of Thuc Nhi Nguyen of InsideSocal.com.
HC Jim Mora:
WR Kenny Walker:
DL Jacob Tuioti-Mariner:
C Scott Quessenberry: