Recently, CBS Sports interviewed Jim Mora about the perception of UCLA football. There were quite a few interesting nuggets.
I love Mike Vick. I’d let Mike Vick babysit my kids.
Well, OK. That’s a far less relevant quote, but we found it funny. Here’s a realsies:
“The perception of UCLA football to those of who were not involved with UCLA football,” the Bruins’ new head coach says, “was that UCLA football had become soft.”
“That was the perception,” Mora reiterated, “Our intent is to make sure that nobody can say that about us again. Whether it’s truth, doesn’t matter. Our goal is eliminate that perception, wipe it off the map, never let it cross anyone’s lips again.”
Jim Mora is absolutely right. “Soft” is a bit of a generous word. If Mora were being candid — we’re glad he wasn’t, since last time he was candid he said this – he would’ve said this team was filled with a 85 lazy bums who didn’t give a shit about football and didn’t mind getting man-handled on a consistent basis.
Regardless, we’d like to re-iterate that Mora is spot-on. UCLA football in 2011 — and, really, for the past decade — has been disgustingly inconsistent, filled with apathetic play from the athletes and excused because Rick Neuheisel was the one helping to run the program into the dirt. Begging for bowl games isn’t exactly what UCLA should be about and neither is having the dishonor of being the first college football team to go 6-8 on the season.
But these are Mora’s worries now, as much as they are ours.
And though Mora is considered one of the worst hires in the country — at least, that seems to be the consensus among non-UCLA football fans — he also seems to understand the importance of grabbing opportunity by the balls and yanking as hard as possible.
Recruiting has improved significantly since Mora took over this past January. A not-shitty offensive system is to be implemented behind a quarterback who will finally have an offense tailored to his strengths — be that Brett Hundley or Richard Brehaut. The coaching staff is filled with reputable names that no one scoffs at.
Overall, thus far, Mora’s been tireless. The dude has worked his ass off in this short amount of time, and he knows the pressure’s dialed up on him. The dude is on a tight leash with UCLA fans, meaning if he brings home another losing season, then there will be riots going on, at least on the internet.
We don’t know if this will happen. We can be confident all we want, tell ourselves that Mora has proved he’s worth all $2.4 million he’s going to be paid in 2012. We can be convinced by his ability to say the right things and hire the right people.
But the dude needs to win, because UCLA fans are sick of losing in a sport that seems to matter most.
Here’s to hoping the unconventional, seemingly crappy hire, was the right one.