UCLA has moved on from football — at least this spring — but the players and coaches are still focused. Hard-nosed head coach Jim Mora has had is team moving in the right direction for two seasons, and looks to do the same in his third. After weeks of practice and a spring showcase to remember, where does Mora have his team?
It was just before the game ended when LB Myles Jack was pulled aside for an interview. After a few questions and answers, Jack dropped the magic words: National Championship. It has been quite some time since a UCLA player could mention that and not sound crazy, but Jack was more than not crazy, he was convincing. After explaining that a successful season would involve a National Championship run, it immediately became clear that the team has their heads in the right place. Ask me what the best word is to describe it, and the answer is simple: Belief. These players believe in themselves, each other, their coaches, their facilities, and their fans, and that’s what a National Championship is going to take.
They say, “Defense wins championships”, but I beg to differ. Not offense, nor defense wins it all. Passion, belief, and other intangibles lead to a great season; the talent and production follows. It takes a special set of coaches and mentors to teach student athletes these skills that come with both time, maturity, and practice — and UCLA has just that in Jim Mora and his supporting cast.
From Brett Hundley to Myles Jack and Charles Dawson to Roosevelt Davis, this deep Bruin squad has developed and worked its way into the national picture, and are finally getting their much deserved respect. Returning impact players like DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa are sure to have an impact, and you can bet that incoming recruits like RB Nathan Starks and WR Alex Van Dyke are ready to do their part. Keep your fours up, and your eyes open as this UCLA squad preps to take down opponent after opponent in the upcoming season.