Jim Mora Jr. On the Game Versus Stanford: “Our players don’t give a crap that it has no bearing on the Pac 12 South”November 20, 2012 – 9:30 am by Chris Fedor
It was just one season ago when the UCLA Bruins couldn’t decide on a quarterback, stumbled to a six win season and got smacked by 50 points against USC. In just one season, Jim Mora Jr. has turned things around for the Bruins. After their win this past weekend against USC, UCLA is now sitting at 9-2 on the season, they have a very strong freshman quarterback in Brett Hundley, one of the most successful running backs in school history with Jonathan Franklin and they will once again have a birth in the Pac 12 Championship. That’s still a little ways away though. First things first, UCLA will be looking for a 10-win season with a win over Stanford.
Jim Mora Jr. joined Fox Sports Radio with Petros and Money to talk about the week leading up to the USC game, what he thought of his first UCLA-USC rivalry game, on the play of Jonathan Franklin this season, on the play and poise of Brett Hundley in such a big game a week ago and how he will keep his focus on Stanford even though UCLA has already locked up a spot in the Pac 12 Championship game.
On the week leading up to the USC game:
“I thought we had a good week of preparation and a good week of preparation typically leads to a good performance on Saturday. I thought our coaches did a nice job of coming up with a plan and I thought our players did a nice job of learning it. Then putting it into practice on Saturday. Typically when you’re prepared you can be a little bit emotional, you’re a little bit more confident.”
What he thought of his first UCLA-USC rivalry game:
“It was cool. I liked it a lot. I liked the whole thing. I liked both teams wearing their home uniforms and I’m sure there might be some UCLA people that don’t appreciate me saying that because the Rose Bowl is our home field but it’s a tradition that goes back years and years and years. I thought it was great to have two student sections showing their passion for their universities. I thought the play on the field was spectacular on both sides. I thought both teams competed with a lot of class and really went after each other. I thought there was a really mutual respect amongst players and coaches. I thought it was a great day.”
On the play of Jonathan Franklin this season:
“I didn’t have any expectations because this is my first year. I didn’t know what he was capable of and I didn’t know what this team was capable of. Our only goal each week is to come out and be better than we were the previous week, to keep growing as a football team and that hasn’t changed and it won’t change, but in terms of expectations for Jonathan or anybody else, it was hard for me to have those because I had nothing to go off of. I’m certainly excited for him, it’s really fun to watch him play, but we have a whole bunch of other guys on this team that are having breakthrough seasons in their own right, it’s just that they’re doing it in a different form. Jake Brendel is having a great year, Eric Kendricks is having a great year but you don’t hear as much about those guys because they’re not toting the pill. I’m excited for Jonathan, I really am.”
On the play and poise of Brett Hundley in such a big game this past weekend:
“What we’ve tried to do as a team is take that approach this season. I think that’s the right way to approach every game is every game is the most important game that you’re going to play that season. I think that’s how you build consistency and Brett has certainly done that with his performance. None of us have been perfect, Brett hasn’t been perfect, I haven’t been perfect, we haven’t been perfect as a team but we just take the approach that we’re going to take it one day at a time, one play at time and try to be the best we can be and he has the poise to be able to do that and I think our football team has the maturity to do that. We’re going to keep doing that.”
How he will keep his team ready and motivated for this Stanford game even though the Bruins have clinched their spot in the Pac 12 Championship:
“Because our guys don’t play for bearing, our guys play to win. They don’t give a crap that it has no bearing on the Pac-12 South. They give a crap that if they win, they win and if they lose then they lose. You know that. You were a competitor. You were a great player. Why did you play? You play to win, right? That’s what these guys do, these guys play to win. You know as well as anybody that the great competitors, it doesn’t matter to them. They just want to get out in the arena and they want to fight, they want to play and compete and we’ve got a bunch of guys like that. I don’t worry about that. Plus Stanford is ranked, I think they’re eighth in the country. We better get up for that one. It will be fun. It’s going to be great and our guys are in uncharted territory right now and they’re enjoying it. They don’t want to lose this feeling and I think that is a great thing.”