POSTGAME: HC Jim Mora Following The Loss to Ball State

OPENING STATEMENT: “Before we talk about the game, our program, our football team, we want to send our thoughts and prayers to Connecticut law enforcement, specifically to those in Bristol that lost their lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families’ and their loved ones. It’s really important that the community band together right now during this tragedy and it doesn’t go un-honored by us here at UConn.”

“With regards to the game, it’s hard to even know what to say right now. The 2nd half, we weren’t good enough to get a win on the road. We couldn’t get first downs. We didn’t get stops when we needed to get stops. We had far too many penalties, that’s been something we had not had a lot of that we’ve done a good job of, but it doesn’t matter what you’ve done in the past, it matters what you do on that particular day, which is today, so we have two weeks now before our next game. We have to do a really great job of addressing the issues that showed up today with regards to penalties, not being able to sustain the momentum we had in the first half and ultimately led to us losing a game that, I always hate to say we should have won because if we should have won it we would have won it, but we at least had a chance to win. Ball State did a great job, but I’m concerned about our football team and the way we performed as a team, as a coaching staff. It was not good enough, it was not acceptable and it will never be acceptable.”

AFTER THE UTAH STATE GAME, YOU MENTIONED YOUR TEAM DIDN’T HANDLE THE SUCCESS WELL, WAS IT THE SAME TODAY, OR WAS IT SOMETHING TOTALLY DIFFERENT?: “No, I think we are over that. I think the last couple weeks we got over that. We just didn’t execute and we had penalties. We were behind the sticks the entire second half and when you do those things, it’s really tough to win, it’s really tough to win against a good team on the road. And we lost. It was just completely unacceptable. We aren’t going to accept it. I’m not going to accept it. It’s not ok to come close, it’s not ok to fight hard. We are here to win football games and so we need to go back and look at it really, really, really hard. We need to look at our calls on offense, on defense and on special teams. We need to look at how we are teaching, how we are executing, what we are emphasizing, how our players are studying, but it was just completely unacceptable. The second half was completely unacceptable.”

YOU WERE CONCERNED ABOUT THE BIG CHUNK PLAYS ON THE GROUND, IT SEEMED LIKE STEELE GOT GOING IN THE SECOND HALF: “Really at the end of the fourth quarter, he made some plays and they were really just running the same play, duo and he got going. We had done a pretty good job of stopping the run most of the game, but you need to stop it when it matters. We didn’t stop it when it matters, so all those good plays are negated by the plays that get him in the end zone. He’s a good player, but there’s no excuse for stuffing the run the entire game and then giving up the runs that we did, late. The first guy that has to be looked at is me. Did I put our defense and players in the right position? That will be the first question I ask myself and the first thing I look at when I look at the film.”

YOU HAD AVERAGED ON 5 PENALTIES TODAY, HAD 12 TODAY, WHAT WAS THE REASON?: “I think one of them was a composure thing, certainly. I think it’d be hard to ignore that, that last penalty was a composure thing. Penalties are a result of a lot of things. Getting out of position where you have to hold or grab someone in coverage because you didn’t have your eyes or feet in the right spot. Sometimes it’s a function of just getting beat and trying to recover. Sometimes it’s a lack of focus at that particular moment. It can be a lot of different things. We need to go back and analyze every single one, try to come to conclusions as to why it happened and then emphasize it and fix it. We can’t say, well we’ve only averaged 5-per game and this is an anomaly; if you say it’s an anomaly, it’s going to happen again and we aren’t going to accept that.”

IN THE FIRST HALF, WE SAW A LOT OF PASSING AND ZION WAS A PERFECT 11-OF-11 OR 12-OF-12, DID THE FIRST HALF PEFORMANCE EFFECT THE 2ND HALF PLAY CALLING?: “No, we were moving the ball on the ground and through the air in the first half. In the 2nd half we didn’t move it on the ground, or in the air. I think a lot of that had to do with some of the penalties, certainly the execution. As I said, we’ll go back and look at the calls, were we doing the right things against the looks we were getting on defense, did we make the correct adjustments? It’s just important that you are really, really hard on yourself whether you win or lose. Naturally you are harder on yourself when you lose. You just never write off a loss, you never write off a win either, you always go back and analyze it, it’s the only way you can get better. These guys are intent on getting better. This was severely disappointing. This is the most disappointing loss of the year. We had a chance to go 4-4, get to .500 with the bye and didn’t get it done. There’s a lot of guys that are hurting in that locker room, but we will bounce back.”

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2 months ago
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