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PACIFIC-12 CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: STANFORD v UCLA


November 30, 2012


Johnathan Franklin

Brett Hudley

Jim Mora


STANFORD, CALIFORNIA

Stanford – 27
UCLA – 24


COACH MORA:  First of all, congratulations to Stanford and David Shaw and all their players, staff, students on winning the Pac‑12.  That's an outstanding football team.  I thought that was a tremendous game tonight against two quality opponents.  I thought kids on both sides just fought their tails off, and we're very disappointed that we came up short.
I think we have a lot to be proud of this year.  I think we've accomplished a lot so far, and it's only the beginning.  We've been together less than a year.  I think our seniors have set a great foundation, which we can build on and become a football team that year‑in and year‑out competes for not only Pac‑12 Championships but at the highest level.  That's our goal.
Very disappointed, obviously.  Not for myself, I'm disappointed for the young men in that locker room that just poured their heart into this season.  They did everything that we asked.  I told them they shouldn't be ashamed of anything.  Obviously, there are a lot of tears, a lot of disappointment.  But I think they should be proud of what they've accomplished.  Well, you did poll people at the start of the season.  If anybody thought that we'd have been sitting here tonight with less than 45 seconds left on the clock in a potential to tie it or even win it, I'm not sure anyone would have taken that bet.
So, obviously, we've got a lot of work to do to become the team that we want to be.  That will start immediately.  We'll get the bowl practices in.  I don't know what bowl we'll be at.  We'll have a tremendous off‑season.  We'll continue to work on our size and our speed, our strength.  We've got a tremendous strength and conditioning program that's been in place for 11 months, and I think there are a lot of bright things on the horizon for UCLA football.
But tonight was certainly Stanford's night, and we're very disappointed, but that's all I've got.

Q.  Was there any thought to maybe going for it on 4th and 4 to try to make the field goal shorter?
COACH MORA:  There was a thought.  But if we didn't get it, we wouldn't have had a chance to kick a field goal.  And Ka'imi has developed into the type of kicker that everybody in that room has confidence in going out and trying to make that kick.

Q.  How much was the difference tonight experience and them having been here before and you guys haven't?  Did you see things that maybe next year with experience your team will do better or do different?
COACH MORA:  I think experience is always going to help you.  Talent that has experience is certainly going to typically perform better.  But I didn't see anything on our side that led me to believe that we were overwhelmed or lacking in experience.  I did see a Stanford team that's very poised, has been there before, is years into their system and their program and we're just beginning.

Q.  You talked about the seniors laying that foundation.  Have you had a chance to talk to Johnathan Franklin, especially after the way he ran tonight?
COACH MORA:  No, I mean, we spoke as a team, and then I came out here to see you guys.

Q.  What happened on their long touchdown pass and that third down?  Was there a communication break down?
COACH MORA:  Yes, there was.  There was a communication breakdown.  We busted the coverage at a very inopportune time.

Q.  Franklin had a huge game rushing.  What was the biggest difference between this game and last game for you guys on the ground?
COACH MORA:  Well, we blocked better.  You know, we found some seams.  We got to the second level.  That's typically what it is when you run the ball well.  I mean, Johnathan's a hard runner.  He's a guy that's tough to bring down.  If you can get him to the second level, get him in space, he's very effective.  I thought our guys did a nice job much doing that for him tonight.

Q.  Can you talk about their quarterback, Kevin Hogan, and his ability to make plays and win games?  In four starts, he's beaten four ranked teams in a row.
COACH MORA:  He's an impressive kid.  He's very poised.  You know, I don't know how many games he started, but he's very poised.  He's careful with the ball.  He makes good decisions when he's on the move, when he's outside of the pocket, and I think that they did a nice job of using him as a runner tonight as well.
We've seen him run.  He had some effectiveness running against us last week, but more scrambling.  Today he did a good job running the football.

Q.  A lot was made about the weather coming into the game.  Did it have any impact on your team at all today?
COACH MORA:  No, I don't think so.

Q.  Just between you and me, were you holding back Hundley last week?
COACH MORA:  No.

Q.  You didn't set him free this week?
COACH MORA:  No.

Q.  Because he obviously had a different dimension when he's running.  Any explanation why he didn't run last week and did this week?
COACH MORA:  He did a nice job this week, I thought, of taking what was there.  They played a little bit more man‑to‑man, and when a defense has their backs to you in man‑to‑man, you take off and you go.  And I thought Brett did a good job of that tonight.  That's obviously an element of his game that we'd like to accentuate, and tonight he did a nice job of that.

Q.  They did a good job of controlling Johnathan Franklin last week.  What were you thinking when he broke off that first big run there on the first series?
COACH MORA:  We've run the ball well all year.  If I'm not mistaken, Johnathan Franklin just became UCLA's all‑time single season rushing leader.  He's already UCLA's all‑time career rushing leader.  We felt confident that we could run the ball.  We felt confident that we could run the ball all year against anybody.
They did an excellent job against us last week.  This week we've had some success.  But the end result is trying to win the game, winning the game.  We didn't do it; they did.

Q.  With the lack of success on kickoff return in the last couple of games, were you considering at all having the guys take a knee when they got the ball rolling in the end zone?
COACH MORA:  It depends.  It depends on how deep it is.  I'm not going to tell them to take a knee.  We're confident we can block it up.  We've struggled returning kicks the last couple of weeks.  We've had some injuries.  I hate to blame injuries.   I'm not blaming injuries, but we've had to make some adjustments to players that are in positions not only to carry the ball, but to block.  It's affected us, but it's not really my style to tell a guy to take a knee in the end zone.  We're going to try to go for it.  I think you know that about this team.

Q.  UCLA's had great single seasons in the past 15, 20 years.  How hard is it to impress upon these kids the difficulty in sustaining this?  The importance of sustaining this beyond this year?
COACH MORA:  Well, that is something that we'll talk about later.  This is a tremendous group of young men.  I mean, they are great kids.  They have done everything that this staff, this university has asked of them.  I think that they've represented UCLA with tremendous class.  I think that judging by the disappointment in that locker room today, I don't think it will be hard to get these guys refocused and reenergized for the future.
Right now probably not a great use of the word or word to use, but we need to mourn a little bit.  We need to get over this one.  We poured it out there.  Look at these guys.  These two guys, these are a couple of great young men, and they freaking poured it out there today, and we came up short.  We'll eventually move on, but this one's going to sting for a while.  You don't get this close, and get that close, and lose and not have it hurt.

Q.  You've talked a lot this year about finishing, and that's kind of been a big thing.  You guys start the fourth quarter with the lead.  What was it you saw out there that wasn't allowing you guys to finish this off?
COACH MORA:  We busted a coverage.

Q.  With how well you guys played especially with how well you did on the ground, do you chalk this up to just a few mistakes, that blown coverage, maybe a few penalties?  Is that how you feel like you're going to look back at this game?
COACH MORA:  Well, I don't know.  When I look at the film, I'll be able to give you a better answer.  We made some mistakes.  They made some mistakes.  We made some plays.  They made some plays.  They made the plays when they had to make them.  They put their players in position to make the plays and their players made them.
First thing we'll always do as a coaching staff is look at ourselves and say what could we have done better to help these guys that poured their freaking guts out on the field have success?

Q.  Johnathan, can you talk a little bit about what's going through your mind right now?
JOHNATHAN FRANKLIN:  Of course like Coach said, it hurts definitely.  But in life you have your bumps, you have your trials, but all you can do is look forward.

Q.  Johnathan, they had done a pretty good job of neutralizing you last time you guys played.  You had said this was a good opportunity to show what your offense could do.  Could you just talk a little bit about your performance tonight?
JOHNATHAN FRANKLIN:  All credit to the offensive line.  They did a great job to open up big holes and I just ran through them.  The receivers did a great job of blocking down field.  Brett did a good job carrying out things.  But kudos to those guys.  I just ran down the field, and through the big holes they opened.

Q.  How do you feel after this season, after your past seasons?
JOHNATHAN FRANKLIN:  God is good, and it's a blessing to be able to go through a season with those guys.  That's what I'm going to miss the most.  I love the game of football, but those group of guys, they're great men, great character, great athletes.  I'm definitely going to miss them.  But I'm blessed.  I'm going to just put everything else in God's hands and I know he's going to take care of me.

Q.  On that last drive, you were scrambling around a lot and a lot of time was taken off the clock.  Were you trying to burn the ball, throw it out of bounds or do anything to stop the clock there?
BRETT HUNDLEY:  We just had to make a play.  I was trying to make a play.  Nothing was there, and what happened, happened.

Q.  Johnathan, in your time at UCLA, you've had some very bumpy road as long the way to get to this point.  To get that close to the Rose Bowl, having the lead in the fourth quarter and not being able to achieve it, how do you put that in perspective so you can step back and focus on a bowl game and what's been a very successful season?
JOHNATHAN FRANKLIN:  I mean, it's life.  On the field, off the field, you have letdowns, you have your trials, like I said.  All you can do is learn from it and get better as an athlete and as a person.  Watch the film, look at the mistakes we made, and get better.  We have one more game together, and we've got to give it our all.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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