VIDEO: Mora on Pro Day

Coach Jim Mora talked about how the players fared today at Pro Day, their times from the day, how the UCLA program has contributed to the performance and more...


Opening statement:
It was a pretty successful pro day here. A lot of guys did some pretty good things and impressed the GMs and scouts that were in attendance. Talking specifics, Anthony Barr clocked a 4.45 electronic and improved his bench frmo 15 to 19. After he came back from the combine, he worked with Coach Alosi and made some huge gains and did a tremendous job. Shaq turned in, now these are electronic, 4.32 electronic. Once again, i think the work he did with Coach Alosi paid off. Cassius improved to a 4.68 electronic. He's back working with Coach Alosi as well. I think you're seeing these gains in two weeks and it's impressive. You see X, and one of the things that is impressive about X is he's sitting there with the scouts and the coaches, and they're saying 'why is this guy doing all the drills when he did so well at the combine,' and it just speaks so well to the character of Xavier. He always wants to be competing, he always wants to be improving. His electronic was a 4.88, very impressive. A lot of these scouts out here feel he's the best guard in the draft. I had two scouts say he's the best guard coming out since Steve Hutchinson, and that's saying a lot. Now that's just two guys opinion, not all 32 teams opinion, but pretty impressive showing by him. Jordan Zumwalt ran a 4.61 electronic. We had a number of guys under 4.4. Once again, these are electronic, not hand held, which is a true time. Thiggy was a 4.38, Stan McKay was a 4.38, Malcolm Jones ran a 4.57 and really had a good day for the scouts today. Brandon Sermons ran a 4.39. We had a couple guys come back that gave it a shot last year, Aaron Hester ran a 4.37, Jerry Johnson ran a 4.31, electronic. Now those times, people are going to hear those times and say 'you're insane, you don't have all those fast guys.' Once again, those are electronic times. If I was out there scouting and heard that, I'd be like 'I don't know about that.' But once again, it was a successful day. It's a great way to showcase what's happening around here. Today was about those guys though. We tried to create an environment out here where they could have a job interview. Because that's what it is. I thought they all fared very well.

On if he felt like a proud papa watching his players perform:
Yeah. It's interesting because I've been to hundreds of these pro days, hundreds of them, in my 20-something years in the NFL. But it's different when it's guys that you know, guys that you coach. There is a different energy, a different excitement and it's really fun to see those guys come out and do well. Oftentimes when you're in the NFL and yuo go to a pro day, you're there to see one guy. And here I'm seeing 15, 16, 17 guys that I really care about and it's exciting when they do something well. Just having the experience that I did in the NFL and Coach Alosi having that experience and Coach Ulbrich and Coach Klemm and Coach Yarber and Coach Polamalu, we're able to teach them to perform well out here and to take it to the next level. From a mental standpoint, from a work ethic, from a mindset, how to watch film, because we've all been there and it's an advantage for this program having that and I think it's showing in a big way.

On if he felt they were loose:
They were all very confident, and they should be confident, because they were all well prepared. If you had the chance to work with Sal Alosi, you're going to be prepared. All you have to do is what he's asked you to do and you're going to be prepared. They had confidence because they knew they were prepared. We spent the last two years preparing them for not just this moment but the moments in the NFL. And I felt they were very confident and they should be.

On Anthony Barr draft stock:
Mock drafts are typically made by guys that have a limited amount of information. They don't get to see the entire picture. Typically, unless you're a guy like Mike Mayock, you don't get to watch a lot of game film. You may get to watch TV copies, but you get a different perspective when you're watching coaches film. It's the GM, it's the coaches, it's the assistant coaches that are going to determine where a guy is picked. I think it's fun, it's interesting to pay attention to the mock drafts. But in the end it's prognostication on paper by guys that don't know the entire package.

On if he still thinks Barr is a top 5 guy:
I think definitely a top 10 from what I got from the guys today. And they understand with Anthony, the ceiling is so high. They see the talent and then he comes out today and he runs a 4.45. At 247 pounds and 6-4.5 and then he goes and benches 19 times which is a four rep improvement. So they understand that there is so much room for growth. You look at a guy like Xavier, with his athleticism and his footwork and his stamina, those coaches, you come in here with an agenda. It's to find out a lot about these kids- what their work ethic is, what their threshold is, how far can you push them, how are they going to react when you push them. It's not just about athleticism, it's diving into their character and I think our guys show well when it comes to that, in the things that are important to the guys at the next level.

On if he provided any feedback after the combine:
A little bit. My first suggesstion was come back and work with Coach Alosi. We've got Datone Jones working out here, Johnathan Franklin working out here. Guys that have been with Coach Alosi and have been at the next level and they chose to come back here. This is the gyu that knows their body best. He knows how to push them. He's a guy that is one of the most respected strength and conditioning coaches, not just in college football, but in all of football. So it doesn't make any sense to me why anyone would go anywhere else to train.

On his feeling on how much testing matters compared to his game:
You've got to look at the film. But this is a chance for a guy on the hoof. See what his body structure looks like, watch him work through drills, see how competitive he is in an environment like this. It's an opportunity to interview these guys, watch film with them. The San Diego Chargers were in here ay 7:30 this morning with Anthony watching film with him. And to pick his brain on football, to the extent you can't at the combine. At the combine, you get 15 minutes, but here you get all day. What I used to do is call a guy and say 'hey listen, i'm staying here, pick me up, meet me up' and see if he was prepared. See what his car was like, see if he had a restaurant picked out, if he knew how to get to the restaurant, was he responsibie, was he on time, then the next day, watch film, can he watch film and break it down, does he understand offense if he's on defense and defense if he's on offense. I've scouted probably 1,000s of players and just the fact that we can bring in an Anthony Barr and say hey, this is what you can expect. If they want to have dinner with them, the way you dress, how you speak, how you look them into the eye, all of those things are part of the evaluation. But that's a small part. It's what you do on tape that really matters.

On how a messy car could affect a players draft stock:
It's everything. These scouts are getting ready to invest millions and millions of dollars. Not just in the contract, but in the evaluation process. So millions of dollars. You only get seven picks plus your compensatory picks. So you better be right. You're going to dig for everything. And it might just be the miniscule thing. We're talking about millions of dollars of difference in those jumps. So you evaluate everything, to the point where you go way overboard. But, you've got to know. Youve got to know you're making the right decision.

On if he ever got caught up on something when he looked back:
I tried not to. What it is, you're looking for red flags. And if the red flag pops up, you go back and you investigate it. A guy didn't run so well, a guys wonderlic wasn't so good. Why? I need to go back and find out.I need to talk about it. Maybe he doesn't read as fast as player B. It's about putting the puzzle together. Once again, having the NFL staff that we do, there is not another staff in college football that has the NFL experience that we have. We have four Super Bowl rings. I've been affiliated with 19 Hall of Famers. So we have a wealth of knowledge to share with our players to try to prepare them for the next level and it pays off in a day like this. Now it's their hard work, but I think we're able to give them some guidance.

On if he weighed the Pro Day or Combine heavier:
The Pro Day, because you got to get your hands on them. You got to spend a little time with them. They were in their environment. Its hard to perform well at the combine. The combine is an opportunity to get all the prospects together under one roof. Getting seen by all the doctors, getting interviewed by all the teams, but I always put more stock in the pro day. These coaches and GMs have been in there since 8 this morning. They've been watching film and meeting with our coaches. I got to meet with them and talk about each of our players and what his character is and what kind of person he is. What kind of leader he is, what kind of work ethic he has.

On Cassius Marsh:
Cassius was amazing today. These guys out here today are not going to be able to go out to another school and see a guy do what Cassius did today. He worked out as a defensive end, an outside linebacker and as a tight end. So you talk about versatility- that's amazing. I've never seen that. I might see a guy who is a defensive end do some pass drops or a linebacker who they project as a down lineman do some pass rushes, but I've never seen a guy work out as a defensive end, outside linebacker and tight end. And I think that's goes to show you Cassius's athleticism and stamina and us our willingness to play our guys places to help us win.

On if teams said they like Marsh as a tight end:
I don't know about tight end, but I know there were a couple of teams who said they like him as an outside linebacker. He's like Kevin Greene. If you got him on the edge and matched him against the back, he can make some plays. He's got the hands for tight end. I think there is a lot of interest and intrigue in Cassius.

On what red flags he'd look for as an evaluator:
Attitude. Facial expressions. You're listening for guys muttering under their breath and see if they want to compete. They're tired. You try to break them out here. You try to break them as a coach or a scout. Do their shoulders slump? Or do they bow up and keep going? You're just a sponge.

On Jordan Zumwalt's stock:
When you have a game like he had in the bowl game, that helps. He went to the Senior Bowl and that helped and he spent a lot of time with Coach Ulbrich preparing for the Senior Bowl. Remember now, Coach Ulbrich played in the Senior Bowl, so he knew what to expect. I coached in the Senior Bowl so we've been able to help on those lines. I think what scout's like about Jordan is his versatility. He can play inside, he can play outside. He's going to be a dynamic special teams player, he's like the Energizer bunny, he just goes and goes and goes. He always has a smile on his face. Scout's like that. They like that a lot. He might not run a clean shuttle, but he'll knock a guy down.

On former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia (who was throwing for Pro Day):
Jeff Garcia has improved so much. And I can say that because I was on the field the day he made his first start as an NFL quarterback. I was the defensive coordinator in San Francisco. Jeff came out for mini-camp, Bill Walsh had hand-chosen him. I remember saying to Greg Knapp, the offensive coordinator, 'we're in some deep trouble, this guy can't play quarterback.' He's throwing ducks all over the field. Now, the one thing that Jeff has is heart and grit and he's a tough son of a gun. He looked strong early. I think he's a viable number three for somebody. A board holder. He'll compete.

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