VIDEO: Mora After First Practice

Jim Mora

Coach Jim Mora talked after the first practice in San Bernardino about some personnel developments -- like a player leaving the program, position changes and injuries, and his first-practice impressions...


Opening statement:
Kylie Fitts has decided to leave the program. It's his decision. We wish him the best and we're just going to march on. I know you have questions about the three scholarship freshman that are not part of the 105. Jordan Lasley, Dwight Williams and Aaron Sharp. Those three guys did not live up to the standards we're looking for, in the summer months, so they're not on the 105. They're not suspended from the football team. They will be rejoining us on August 31st after our first game. I expect them to come back more mature and more focused. Other than that, I really can't comment on that. We made some position switches. Jalen Ortiz is now at corner and he's wearing 18. Charles Dawson moved to slot and he's wearing 8 so they switched positions and numbers. Taylor Lagace is moving to fullback and I thought he looked really good there. We're trying to find ways to get Taylor on the field like we're trying to do with all of the guys, trying to maximize them. We think that's a really good spot for Taylor. We're working Tyler Foreman at linebacker, kind of that hybrid linebacker, since we play so much nickel. We played Dalton Hilliard there. Those are the position switches. I thought it was a good day. We had good meetings this morning and a walkthrough and I thought we had a good practice. It's always interesting to look at the film because we see more good and more bad. I like their focus, attitude and enthusiasm and we're going to get a lot of good work here done in San Bernardino. For us, it's great to come back here. The campus is amazing, the facilities are great for us, we're using a different field this year and we have a nice new field for the defense. The grass is great, the university has taken care of us. The fields are great, the facilities are great, the meals are great. They're very accomodating. I think the weather is perfect. Hopefully it gets a little warmer for us. Having the humidity was good because it's going to be warmer going to Virginia. It's great for us to get back here and eliminate as many distractions as possible and get to know each other better and push through discomfort. It's not just about the weather but eliminating distractions and getting to know each other. It helps you overcome tough times and handle the good times, and can really make it fun.

On how much they get to know each other off the field:
Probably most of it. It's in the meeting room, walking from practice to the locker room or to the dorm or to a meal. What I've asked for them, when we have a free moment now, what do we do? We go to our phones. We isolate ourselves. We don't take their phones away or computers away, we ask them to put it away and spend that time talking. Hopefully they do that and will get to know each other better.

On the defensive line depth with Fitts transferring:
It does effect our depth. We don't look back very often. I think Matt Dickerson is going to do a heck of a job for us. I'm excited about Eli Ankou. Jacob Tuioti-Mariner is one guy. This is one day, but he's explosive. It's depth but I think we'll be ok. It's unfortunate but it's something you deal with in college football. You deal with kids that are still maturing. They have changes in the way they feel about things and their goals change. You just have to plug in. I would not say I'm disappointed in Kylie. I'm disappointed because I like Kylie a lot. I'm not disappointed in Kylie. He has different goals right now.

On Darren Andrews:
He's out for the year. The knee. Remember he missed all spring and had surgery. It's a micro-fracture surgery so he'll be out for the year. Johnny Johnson too.

On Simon Goines:
He's cleared, we're just going to work him in slowly. We're going to work him in individuals and then some team. But he's moving pretty well.

On Mossi Johnson:
He came down on his shoulder. They're taking him to get his shoulder. Hopefully it's just a minor AC sprain. That guy is a good football player and a guy who can have a real impact this year. If it's any positive, it happened early so you can recover. They're taking him to get X-Rays.

On Myles Jack's role as a pass-rusher:
I think sometimes it's fair to judge pass-rush on non-padded days, the offense is at a disadvantage. We would love to see Myles disrupting the quarterback. We have to find a way to replace Anthony Barr's sack totals and Cassius Marsh's sack totals and Keenan Graham's sack totals. If Myles can produce more in that area, that will be good for us. He can move around. In our base defense, he's an outside linebacker but when we go to nickel there is more we can do with him. Once again, it's kind of like using him on offense, it's so intriguing. At some point you have to put the breaks on becaue you have to think of his productivity and his effectiveness and what he does best which is playing linebacker. We have to find that sweet spot though because he's an impact player and we want to create mismatches.

On the right tackle position:
I think it's going to be very competitive there. Hopefully, Connor can stay healthy. The transformation of Connor has been something else. He looks fantastic. I think there will be some days here where he'll have to feel his way, but I hope there is good competition, where Simon is in the mix, and Connor is in the mix and Poasi is in the mix. And then the best guy starts but we develop depth along the way. If you look at our offensive line it looks better than it has.

On if Priest Willis has improved since the spring:
I think it does. There is a lot of questions about if he can play corner and I understand that because he hasn't proven he can, but I see length and speed. Because he came in as a five-star, I think he was expected so much of him and sometimes it takes more time for a guy to develop. I hope I'm right. But I think he can play corner and play it effectively.

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