Bruins hope to win on the road again

October, 24, 2012
10/24/12
6:27
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- The UCLA Bruins have won two road games so far this season, equaling the most they had won in any of the past five seasons, but coach Jim Mora said his team still has something to prove away from home.

That's because the Bruins were routed by California, 43-17, in their last road game and Mora would like to see the team rebound.

"The Cal game still bothers me," Mora said. "I want to see us respond on the road and that's really a step that we have to take and it's the next step in our development. I think that's important, going on the road after getting beat pretty soundly on the road and responding so that's our goal."

It's well documented that the road has been unkind to the Bruins in recent years and it's especially true in conference play. The Bruins were 1-5 in Pac-12 road games last season and the average score in the five losses was 45-14.

The Bruins are 6-25 in conference road games since 2006 and haven't won two conference road games in a season since 2007. With a victory at Colorado already under their belts this season, the Bruins can get a second Pac-12 road win this weekend at Arizona State as well as bring their road win total to three. UCLA hasn't won three road games in a season since 2005.

"I want to see this team be able to handle any environment," Mora said. "I'm not sure if I did a good enough job of getting them prepared for that environment [at Cal] so we're trying to -- without making the focus the environment -- we're trying to make sure that we can handle the environment."

The preparation, however, doesn't include the usual practice of pumping crowd noise in to practice before a road game. Mora hasn't done that since the week leading in to the season opener at Rice and said he's comfortable with the way the players have handled crowd noise on the road.

"Bill Walsh didn't like crowd noise because he wanted to have a good, crisp practice and he felt that communication and coaching during practice was more important than the crowd noise," Mora said, referencing the former San Francisco 49ers coach. "He felt like if you were mature enough that you could block that out."

Mora said his team communicates mostly through hand signals and they have also used large picture placards to signal plays, so crowd noise doesn't affect their ability to call plays on the road.

"We gave them a lot of crowd noise in spring and got them used to it and they showed me a maturity level that they could handle it," Mora said. "So that combined with the fact that a lot of our communication is non verbal, we just didn't feel like we needed to do it."

Peter Yoon

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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