VIDEO: Mora on Thursday

Coach Jim Mora talks about scheming against Stanford's offense, his new approach to UCLA being penalty prone, and more...


Opening statement:
We've had a good week so far, we've had three really good practices. Tomorrow we'll come out and go at it again and head up to Palo Alto. We're excited about this football game and the challenge it presents. It's really good football team. Watching them on film, all week, you don't see weaknesses. They're solid across the board. They're very well coached. They don't beat themselves. It's a great challenge for us and I think our guys are looking forward to it. I know I am. If you're a competitor, this is the kind of game you like. It's going to be physical and a hard fight. There is a good chance it comes down to the last drive or two. That's why you play the game. For games like this. Lets roll it out and see what happens.

On sleeping before big games:
I'm o.k. I feel like if you do your work during the week, and you're prepared, you can lay your head on the pillow and get a good nights sleep. Typically that's where I'm at. After the game, it's really different. Whether it's a morning game, an afternoon game or a night game, you're just really wound up. You're always looking back and second guessing things, kicking yourself about things. But before the game, I'm pretty peaceful.

On any pregame rituals:
None that are public knowledge. I run, I work out. That's all.

On preparing for a player like Ty Montgomery on special teams:
This kid is special. Every time he touches the ball, you take a breath and hold it until he's on the ground. And he's not always on the ground. He's something else. He's got tremendous vision to find the hole. He's got great speed and burst. And they do a good job of blocking for him on the returns. We haven't to this point, seen anyone like him. He presents a great challenge. Especially in the coverage unit, it's about getting off blocks and you then have to tackle him. He runs through tackles. It's a great challenge, I'm excited to see how we do against him.

On the penalty worries:
I'm not even going to worry about the penalties. I'm done worrying about penalties for a bit here. I stopped worrying about them at halftime and we only had one in the second half, so I'm just going to carry on with that one. It's kind of like, is the monster gone? We haven't had issues during the week. But we never do. I think part of it is being able to handle our emotions out there. Be humble, stay in the moment, not jump offsides. And not have false starts. I would say there is going to be penalty or two, but we can't overreact. Hopefully, they're the aggressive type and the type that don't hurt us. I think Stanford is one of the best in the country and they average over five a game. We just have to play penalty free as possible and hope we stay focused and minimize them.

On if youth plays a role in that:
At times, but I just hate to use that as an excuse. At times. I don't want it to be an out. It doesn't matter how young we are, we have a job to do. We have to be focused and move when the ball does. You don't want it to be a self-fulfilling prophecies, and hammer on them about penalties, and they're so tight. Sometimes you just have to back away from them. That's been my approach since halftime of the Cal game. I'll back away for a minute. I may have to change my approach.

On if Stanford is easier to scheme against:
I wouldn't say easier, but more conventional and something we're used to seeing more often. It's still about execution. It's about guys being in the right spot at the right time. It's about giving them the right call at the right time. And then it's about making plays. But when you watch them on film, at least for guys like myself and Jeff and Lou, we've seen this a little more than teams like Cal or Arizona State or the other teams we've played do. I think they have confidence in their quarterback. They've always been a heavy tight end team. But they're relying less on them and more on their wideouts. They've got good skill players so you're seeing the ball spread out more. This is a really good quarterback we're facing. They want to have the ball in his hands because he makes good decisions and good throws.

On the growth of the secondary:
They're playing well right now, the key is to keep playing well. They've got confidence right now and I think the confidence has come through playing five games and playing solid. They've made some mistakes but they've learned from them and they haven't repeated them. They've gelled as a unit. Part of being a good secondary is learning how to play together and having a feel for where the other guy is going to be and how he'll react to a certain route or a formation. A lot of that is non-verbal, it's just a feel thing. The experience they've had through five games has given them confidence in each other. It's good to see and they've just got to keep progressing.

On if Utah exploited anything in Stanford:
No. Utah is a good football team and Stanford is a good football team. It was a game that came down to the last play on the six-yard line. Going into the Utah game and coming out of the Utah game, we knew what a good football team they were. It was just a good game and two really good teams playing football. I enjoyed watching it. We didn't learn anything we didn't already know about Stanford. We know Stanford is big, tough, physical, smart, well-coached, disciplined, all of those things.

On Thomas Duarte's role:
I think that his role will continue to expand. Thomas is a good player and we've been bringing him along at kind of a steady pace. This week, with Darius Bell a little questionable, he wasn't out here today as you probably noticed. Don't know his status for Saturday, but if he's not able to go or if he's in a limited role, than Thomas' role will increase even more. We like him, he's a good player. He's got a big catch radius. He's confident in himself, Brett's confident in him. He doesn't make mistakes. He's a good young football player. We're glad he's on our team.

On if Duarte's a good blocker:
We don't put him in a lot of situations where he's down attached to the core, attached to the tackle, where he has to block defensive ends or linebackers, but when you get him out in space, just like the rest of our receivers, he'll get his body on people and allow our runners to get the extra yards.

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