Mora Yells at Rosen: Good News For UCLA


UCLA Coach Jim Mora Publicly Dressed Down Freshman QB Josh Rosen at Wednesdays Practice. This is good sign for the 2015 UCLA Football Team.

If you were on twitter following anything UCLA Football Wednesday night, then you couldn’t miss reports of Coach Jim Mora‘s rant at QB Josh Rosen at the end of practice.

…I would bet the rant was a little more calculated…

According to the local media, Mora started yelling at Rosen after some nonchalant play and then directed some extra commentary towards the assembled media:

[Chris Foster Translation: Rosen had a “decent day” …]

A Bruin fans first take on the incident might be to worry.

…Anyone who has been through a “Hell Week” or a military boot camp can attest to a pattern often used by coaches and instructors…

UCLA Football is loaded in 2015, but it could all be for naught if they can’t get a serviceable QB to materialize. The competition is officially still open between veteran-but-noodle-armed Jerry Neuheisal and Rosen, but ever pundit with any knowledge of the situation fully expects Rosen to be starting sooner rather than later. Rosen is not immune to this buzz, and has never been accused of being overly humble anyway. It would be perfectly natural for an 18 year old (especially one already anointed as “chosen”) to start getting a little of the big head. Whether Mora has observed this over time or whether it just struck him at the end of practice, it is important for Mora to keep Rosen from assuming the quarterback job is being handed to him for as long as possible.

…They ease the group into training, teach until the recruits start to feel comfortable, and then they pull the rug out and really try to create some adversity…

Maybe Mora (who is an emotional dude) thought he saw a player slacking off in the moment and just unloaded on him with the fiery diatribe. However, I would bet the rant was a little more calculated. Anyone who has been through a “Hell Week”, a fall camp, a military boot camp or some sort of public safety academy experience can attest to a pattern often used by coaches and instructors: They ease the group into training, teach until the recruits start to feel comfortable, and then they pull the rug out and really try to create some adversity.

A football coach may declare that he just saw “the worst practice of his career” and assign wind sprints or gassers until someone pukes, or the Drill sergeant may strip the recruits of their patches, uniforms or guns until they “get their attitude right”. Although it can be hard to spot when you’re on the wrong end of the boot, its usually a contrived attempt by the man in power to create a sense of adversity.

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Its the old cliche: “They tear them down so they can build them back up.” There’s no proof that this is Mora’s intent, but that’s what it smells like to me. Some feel like publicly berating and then commenting to the media about it can be harmful. In todays climate, players that get their feel-goods hurt may decide that they need to take their talents elsewhere (QB’s are especially prone to leave Town). But what if (as is expected by many), Josh Rosen is starting at the Rose Bowl against the Virginia Cavaliers in a couple weeks.

Positive affirmation and pats on the butt aren’t going to keep Rosen safe when ACC linebackers are trying to turn him inside out. Will the crowd at that Think Tank in Tuscon be well mannered and polite if he gets off to a rocky start against the Arizona Wildcats at the end of September (as the Bruins did against ASU in 2014)?

There’s only so much you can simulate in practice, and manufactured adversity may be the best medicine Josh Rosen can hope for before the start of the 2015 season.  I hope Mora and Noel Mazzone pull out every trick in the book before the start of the season.

Go Bruins!

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