There was an edginess to UCLA’s football practice Saturday morning that bordered on ragged. Penalties, a fight, a tirade or two from the coach.
All so the Bruins could get better.
“One of our objectives in practice is to put pressure on ourselves, on each other and on the team,” Coach Jim Mora said. “Create chaotic situations, high-intensity situations. We had Def Leppard playing, and I think I even heard Deep Purple. We were trying to get them in a high-intensity, chaotic environment so when we get to game day we can handle the pressure.”
He got his wish.
Referees were brought in to work the practice, and the defensive players jumped offside seven times. Mora made it clear that he was unhappy … loud and clear.
Mora barked at assistant coaches, then players and then linebacker Anthony Barr, who had been barking at Mora.
All part of the plan, he claimed.
“Sometimes, I go out and get after them today to see where they go, see how they react,” Mora said.
Linebacker Myles Jack and guard Ben Wysocki reacted harshly later, with Jack jumping Wysocki post-play. Both were booted from practice and sent along a staff member to make sure a rematch didn’t break out in the locker room.
“We’re going down the field and an offensive lineman does a cheap shot,” Mora said. “We’re trying to win the game. They would have both been ejected, so I ejected them both.”
A calm finally settled in post-practice, with Mora having a referee give a 25-minute lecture on the neutral zone.
“I’d rather there things happen out here, where we can address it and correct it, than have it happen in game,” Mora said.