UCLA Football head coach Jim Mora talked to the press on Day 1 of Pac-12 Media Day about the Bruin’s maturity, their new DC, their stud running back and helping a little girl with brain cancer.
It was UCLA Football and Jim Mora’s turn to talk at Pac-12 Media Day and most of what the Bruin boss said was no surprise as he talked candidly about what he expects of his teams this coming season. What is noticeable about Mora is how openly he talks about things that a near and dear to him, but also has a certain reservation about his team.
If you use the quarterback battle as an example, he did not say much, just more “coach speak”. Once again, he would not say who the starter would be between Jerry Neuheisel and Josh Rosen and alluded to the fact that decisions will be made as fall camp progresses.
One thing that did stand out, from a non-football point of view, is when he was asked about helping to spread the word about the daughter of Scout.com national recruiting analyst Brandon Huffman who has an inoperable brain tumor. Mora and his wife Shannon have done a lot to get the word out about helping the Huffman family through this tough time and as we have seen before, Mora was still adamant about how much issues like this are important to him.
Mora then shifted gears to his team and one thing we heard a lot about during Spring Practice was how mature and how professional his team went through practices.
Mora had then met with several Pac-12 Network analysts to get into more specific topics about the season. The biggest focus was about new defensive coordinator Tom Bradley and Mora had nothing but great things to say about the experienced new DC.
"[Bradley’s] entire career is college football, it is what he knows. he is a great recruiter and an amazing man. the players just surround him because he pours out love and respect."
There was one key comment Mora made about Bradley that seems fans of the defense would like, “[Bradley] comes in with an aggressive attitude about how we’ll play defense.” Touching on the concerns of last season’s team, having a defense become a lot more aggressive is something that Bruin fans would love to see. If that happens this year, Bradley could take this season’s team to elite status.
When asked about Paul Perkins, it was suggested that the Pac-12’s top running back last year did not get enough credit for his role on the team and in conference. Mora seemed to think nothing of it and said, “For Paul, what I admire the most is his selflessness, his commitment to the team.” Having a team mentality from someone like Perkins goes beyond personal accolades and you cannot ask anything more than for him to want to get his team into position to succeed.
Lastly, the Bruin coach talked about the defense and what it will be like with Bradley this season. It started when the Pac-12 analysts asked Mora what the defensive set-up will be:
“We’ve been a 3-4 team structurally but we have always played more 4-3 than 3-4 because it is a nickel conference. We’ll have 3 down concepts. We’ll have 4 down concepts. We’ll have 5 down concepts.”
Structurally, it seems the Bruins will continue to set-up in the same way, but with Bradley comes experience and knowledge that will be used to improve the Bruin defense… which, by the way, is stacked with talent.
Stay with Go Joe Bruin as we continue to bring you more from Pac-12 Media Day.
Jul 30, 2015; Burbank, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins center Jake Brendel (left), coach Jim Mora (center) and linebacker Deon Hollins at Pac-12 Media Day at Warner Bros. Studios. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports