Pasadena, Calif. — Welcome to a sunny, special addition of FishDuck.com’s “From The Locker Room.” Due to UCLA players taking longer in their locker room postgame than a twelve year old daughter getting ready for school in the morning, the FishDuck reporter on site was able to gain insights from both the UCLA and Oregon perspectives. Obviously after this contest the UCLA group was fairly reserved and matter of fact, while corners Troy Hill and Ifo Ekpre Olomu communicated with energy and positivity after the win.
Coach Mora took the podium first and immediately addressed the confrontation between him and his defensive assistant Jeff Ulbrich during the game. “We are both very passionate and competitive. If you don’t have that fire, then something is wrong with you in this business. It’s two guys who just die to win and are passionate about football and have a long history.” Regarding the challenges of playing Oregon he added, “When you play a team like Oregon, you’ve got to be almost perfect to beat them. They are just so explosive and so good.” Later, Mora was asked to compare the back to back losses they have suffered the past two weeks at the Rose Bowl. “Every loss is different. Every loss has its own formula. The important thing for us is to go back and regroup and block out the noise and get back on track.”
Miles Jack, last year’s PAC-12 offensive and defensive freshman of the year, had more to add regarding the trials and tribulations of dealing with the blur offense. “Credit to them. Marcus Mariota is the real deal. They had three stellar running backs,” he stated. In regard to the area of the defense Oregon stressed the most on Saturday Jack added, “I would say the linebackers. They put us in conflict. They have the option, Mariota looks at the linebacker, and if you run, they have a second receiver out there and he can just throw it to him. Their schemes are great, they have an offensive coordinator that knows what he’s doing, and they have a system that works…clearly.”
A hoard of well-groomed, perfectly tanned LA reporters and their motly beat writer counterparts clamored to the table where future NFLer Brett Hundley spoke hopefully after defeat. “We still have things in front of us that we want to accomplish. We can still get to the PAC-12 Championship, we can still win the PAC12. We have to learn from this, and we will.”
Another NFL level talent, Ifo Ekpre Olomu, had nothing but compliments for the UCLA quarterback when comparing him to Arizona’s freshman quarterback Anu Solomon, who diced the Duck defense a week ago. “Hundley is definitely a better runner, a lot harder to tackle in open space. He knows where the blockers are going to be. Hundley is just a more experienced guy.” To his credit, Ifo didn’t hold back on his honest critique of Solomon. “Sometimes not having experience helps you out. Sometimes you are able to thread the needle on plays where Hundley probably wouldn’t have thrown the ball.” Regarding the overall defensive performance, Ifo said, “I thought we played good for three quarters, but we still haven’t played a full game yet.”
Troy Hill was positive after the decisive win. “We know what we are capable of. We knew what was at stake. We had a better week of practice. Coaches emphasize our practice, and our preparation was great.” Regarding the game plans the past two weeks, Hill said it wasn’t a new scheme that was the difference. “Our defense doesn’t change; it was just a lot more effort. Everybody knew we were playing for each other. We wanted to come out and show each other that we have each other’s back.”
PAC-12 quarterbacks have been lethal so far this season, with corner backs picked on all over the West Coast. Hill emphasized, “The PAC is a strong conference. You’re going to get that air raid every week. You just have to come out every week and be focused. Coach Neal does a great job helping us in the film room.” Hill and the thundering flock backed up this claim, holding Hundley to 225 yards through the air.
Top Photo by David Pyles
Josh Hall is currently enrolled at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa where he is completing his MBA. A proud father of three, Josh enjoys contributing to the FishDuck community, writing remote correspondent pieces for Oregon away games, and throwing out routes in his front yard on Gamedays to his two daughters, Taylor and Tara, and son Titus. Josh welcomes feedback at @joshhall on Twitter.
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