VIDEO: Mora at Media Day

Jim Mora

UCLA Head Coach Jim Mora talked at Pac-12 Media Day about the upcoming season and expectations, Brett Hundley, and personnel updates heading into San Bernardino...

Highlights of Jim Mora's interview:

-- He's hoping the temperature in San Bernardino is in triple digits. "It gives us a chance to get into an environment where there are fewer distractions, where we're isolated and we can focus on each other and get to know each other better. Build those bonds that you need to help you through the season. Overcome some adverse climates, but I like the weather. I like it hot. I think it's good for us.”

-- Injury update: Freshman wide receiver torn an ACL in his knee during summer 7-on-7 , will undergo surgery and is out for the season. Cornerback Johnny Johnson had surgery on his should in the off-season and he’s out for the year. Mora said all the guys who had some injuries and were questionable have all been cleared for fall camp.

-- He indicated he wants to stay at UCLA indefinitely: “UCLA showed a tremendous commitment to me and they trusted me by hiring me. I love it there, and I don't want to go anywhere. It's home now. I want to see us build something special. I'm committed to our university. I'm committed to Dan Guerrero, and probably most importantly I'm committed to our players. We go recruit these kids, go into their homes and talk to their parents and we ask them to commit to us. We see coaches run out on them, and I don't think that's right. We sit in our meeting rooms and talk to our kids about being selfless and sacrifice and putting a team first. Then you see coaches when the first opportunity comes up to take off and better their situation, they run and do it and leave these kids behind with these, to me, empty lessons.”

-- He has established many ground rules for the filming of “The Drive,” a Pac-12 Network show that goes inside the UCLA program for the season: “I'm very protective of our space and our environment.There is a sanctity of the core. Your locker room is special. Who you let into your environment dictates the climate. So anytime you let someone in a meeting that the players haven't seen, it could change the climate of the meeting. So initially we'll start with our photographers in there because our photographers are in there all the time. I don't know that people know that, but because of recruiting and marketing, you have cameras around you all the time. So our players are used to having cameras, all of them, 24/7. But they're also used to the faces behind that camera. So until they start to learn some of these other people and see they are a part of our team, we have to be diligent about making sure we protect our environment. Then we have full editorial control. So nothing's going to get out there that we don't want out there or it will be the last show we do.”

-- When asked about incoming freshmen he’s heard that have stood out in the summer workouts: “I haven't been around them much. I've heard through the grapevine a couple things. Yeah, I've heard really great things about Alex Van Dyke. The players that I've talked to, talking to Brett, talking to Eric. They keep talking about Alex Van Dyke. They keep talking about Nate Starks. They keep talking about Matt Dickerson. They all talked about Kenny Young. Certainly they know Zach Whitley and Najee Toran, and those guys that were there in the spring. Of the guys that weren't there in the spring, those are the names that keep coming up, and Jaleel. Everybody loves those guys. Those are young men that could come in and potentially play. We won't have as many freshmen playing this year as we did last year. Hopefully we don't have as many. But there will be some that contribute. Those are some of the names that I'd look for.”

-- On Brett Hundley as an NFL prospect and Hundley not getting stereotyped: "I can tell you unequivocally Brett Hundley is a first round draft pick. The guy is a future star in the NFL. He's got every tangible and intangible quality you can look for.

"People have a tendency at times to see an African American quarterback and say he's a runner. And I hate that stereotype. I always have. I coached Mike Vick. I believe how we stereotype those guys started with that, and I don't want that to happen with Brett. I'm going to make sure it doesn't. It shouldn't. The guy's a passer, man, but he can run."

-- On the work ethic of Hundley and Myles Jack: "When your best player is your hardest worker, it sets a great example for your team. And Brett is our hardest worker. Brett and Myles. If you asked the guys in the locker room who the hardest workers are on the team, they'd say Brett and Myles."

For the complete transcript of Mora's interview: go here.


In the middle of the interview, Mora recognizes Amanda Pflugrad, Taylor Mazzone's girlfriend, in the interview scrum.


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