UCLA did running back vs. linebacker blocking drills for the first time, we got a good look at 1-on…
VIDEO: Mora on Thursday
As it should be, of our four practices, that was the best one. We got a lot of work done. I told them we finally have gotten to a point where we can practice fast, we practice hard and guys are staying on their feet. When you stay on your feet, you avoid injuries for the most part. That's a real positive. It shows our level of athleticism has improved up along the front and it shows our level of maturity has improved since we understand what we need to get done. I was impressed with the way they worked today and we have to keep pushing every day and they're pretty darn committed to that.
On Kenny Clark:
You started to see it halfway through the year last year when he became consistent in there. He's so strong and he plays with tremendous technique and pad level. Probably his wrestling background helps him with knee bend and leverage. He's just very dependable. He can eat up two blocks and doesn't get popped out of his gap. He's improved as a pass rusher. He's an outstanding football player. Often, he's overlooked because he's a nose tackle. He doesn't necessarily make a lot of tackles. But he has a real impact on our defense.
On if he expected Clark to make a big impact that quick:
You know, when we watched him, we thought that he would be a guy who could do that. Sealii and he rotated in and then Kenny assumed that role. I'm not sure you ever know when I guy progressed but he did.
On Jordon James:
His hamstring was a little sore but he did all the individual. I'm not sure, I didn't ever get a report that he was hurt. That might have been what you guys were witnessing.
On Thomas Duarte:
Remember last year, when he kind of tweaked his hammy? It's nothing serious, we just wanted to make sure he was ok before we put him out there. Same with Bornstein.
On Cameron Griffin:
The only real serious injury is Cameron Griffin. Saturday when our doctors come out here, they're going to evaluate it. It doesn't look like it's real positive, but we'll see and keep our fingers crossed.
On Alex Redmond:
The heat got him yesterday and before we put a guy out here, we're going to make sure they're re-hydrated. He's doing fine, able to eat dinner and breakfast and hold it down, but was lightheaded. Our medical staff caught it early.
On Eddie Vanderdoes:
Brute strength. He's so strong, he depends on his strength rather than technique. Two days ago, he was at a point where he was trying to fight, brute strengh. Yesterday, I saw him executing his technique. He had an excellent practice. He showed up again today. When you get Kenny in there, and Eddie and Owa and Ellis, you have some good looking guys who can do some things.
On the defensive line:
We play a 4 or 4i, inside shade on the tackle, and then when we go to our nickel, we play with two defensive lineman and four linebackers. Having a guy like Kenny or Ellis, having an inside guy, works for us.
On replacing the pass rush:
You don't replace Cassius and AB and Keenan Graham. The guy who has shown up through four practices to me was Aaron Wallace. When you go through the things he did in the spring and something you love is snatched away, you appreciate it more.
On Ryan Hofmeister:
The Hof is consistent. I've never heard him say a word in three years. He does it by example. He's steady and a great special teams player and he's a captain on the team. I don't know, though, we'll see (on defense). You can't underestimate him on special teams. He's an example on this team. His teammates respect the heck out of him.
On if Vanderdoes' foot injury has set him back:
It doesn't seem to have set him back. I'm sure he'd be further along if he'd gone through spring but there is nothing noticeable. The first few days he was bullying but now he's settling into his technique. I don't see him being rusty.
On coming out to San Bernardino:
We love coming out here. They take care of us. The food is excellent, the dorms are great. The facilities are nice, use of their locker room. We have that lower field. We haven't used it yet. There are some little details, they painted the lines to close to the field. It's a nice field though. Just to get away, it's become something that our players have really embraced. It's more rugged and a little more extreme than Westwood, which might be an understatement. It works for us though.
On the NCAA ruling for more freedom for schools:
My focus is on camp right now, but I read it. We talked about it at Pac-12 Media Day with our commissioner, Larry Scott and he warned us this might be coming. There are a lot of smart people and I'm just a football coach.
On Nate Iese:
Nate's role has really expanded. Did you see that catch he made? He can do some things, carry the ball, blockout of the backfield, we can flex him out. He's athletic and he can run. As we go and look at gameplans, we'll come up with unique ways to use him. He's really going to figure in. It's exciting for him.
On Craig Lee:
Craig is really raw. He's got a lot of skill. He needs to learn how to put his foot in the ground and go downhill. I've seen tremendous improvement in Craig. I saw it in the fall to the spring and the spring to now. His blocking is getting better, he's catching the ball a little better. The big thing with Craig, if he can get to open space, he's going to be hard to catch. He has to learn. Paul Perkins has a patience to him. Craig still doesn't know where the hole is going to be.
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