UCLA football head coach Jim Mora was supposed to be the exact opposite of ex-head coach Rick Neuheisel.
So far, he has been. His practices have been tough, he’s been demanding, and he’s proven to be tireless.
What hasn’t changed, it seems, is the attacks on rival U$C. Neuheisel was notorious for saying things about South Cal that is on par with what a young fan like myself would say. Now, Jim Mora is dabbling into that territory. From the LAT:
Mora, discussing recruiting on the Roger Lodge radio show, said he makes a point to tell parents how safe it is at UCLA, noting, “We don’t have murders a block from our campus.”
The murder of two Chinese graduate students near the USC campus in April became international news.
Mora was likely referencing South Cal as a whole, and the stereotype — a more accurate one than what’s liked to believe — that South Cal is an area filled with crime, as opposed to the two recent, specific deaths of the graduate students.
Of course, Mora said this wasn’t referencing South Cal at all:
But Mora said Thursday that he was speaking only about the UCLA campus.
“I just said our campus is safe,” Mora said. “I didn’t say anything about anyone else’s campus. I just said it about our campus. I didn’t mention another campus. We don’t have anybody getting murdered a block off of our campus.
“If anybody, whether USC or Cal State San Bernardino, is offended by the statement, then that’s their insecurity, not mine.”
To be fair to Mora, he probably wasn’t referring to South Cal, and he might just have said that UCLA didn’t have anything crazy going on, “it’s not like we have murders a block from our campus”-type of thing.
More than likely though, Mora was referring to South Cal’s horrible area, which is, indeed, crime-laden and sketchy at the very best. $outh Cal fans are offended since they are firmly entrenched in the belief that Mora meant to reference the actual murders of the grad students, but they’re $outh Cal fans and that’s what they’ll do.
This may or may not be a good thing, that he’s slighting $C so soon. Neuheisel did this and oftentimes, it amounted to nothing; instead, it was just embarrassing since we never beat $C under Neuheisel’s reign. Mora will go through the same thing unless UCLA stays competitive in the Pac-12 and with $outh Cal.
Otherwise, it’s Neuheisel 2.0.