Dear Jim Mora: A Letter Regarding UCLA Football


Here is an open letter to Jim Mora, head coach of the UCLA Football team.

Before I began, I want to personally and on behalf of all Bruins, thank you. The teams we have witnessed after your hiring in 2011 have been monumentally different than the UCLA football teams of the 2000’s. And for that, Bruin fans across the nation owe you a very very large thank you card.

I know UCLA fans can be difficult, we never show up on time, leave early and complain about losses as if we have been used to winning over the past decade.

I certainly fall victim to this type of behavior. But no matter what rumblings go around the internet or what you hear from the stadium after a failed 3rd and short, just know deep down, every fan appreciates you.


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Dear Jim Mora,

I think you can agree. The past 4 years have been a heck of a ride. From unexpected wins, to unexpected losses, finding hidden gems of players (cough cough thank you for moving Anthony Barr to LB) to the merry-go-round of defensive coordinators, facility upgrades to unending injuries. I could go on forever and I am sure you have many more grievances that we do not know of.

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This is the beauty of college football. Within a span of 5 minutes your emotions can alter significantly, to the point where it really isn’t healthy, i.e the last 2 drives of the Washington State game.

What we feel in the stands is so minute compared to the intensity and pressure on the field. A friend of mine played football at UCLA up until 2011 and told me, “We put in 9 months of grueling work for what? 12 Saturdays a year. The pressure and nerves are unimaginable”. Yet, none of us would have it any other way.

But something has changed. It is not necessarily a bad thing, but change has come across this program like the slow moving marine layer off of the Santa Monica Bay. Maybe the program has settled in a bit, maybe we have learned to act like we have been there before. Yet I get the feeling that the spark just isn’t there anymore.

After losing 42-14 to a pretty elite Oregon team with Marcus Mariota under center, one could feel the sense of urgency in your voice and in a way it was comforting. You just knew that the program was heading in the right direction. Back then, “Playing hard isn’t enough” and your fire was certainly felt when you said, “The coulda, the woulda, the shoulda, all that crap, we don’t want that. I’m tired of that. It’s time for UCLA to turn the fricken page and be something different”.

Read that last quote again. Even after a loss on national TV, I knew we had something special brewing in Westwood. The energy that radiated from that press conference was something Bruin fans hadn’t felt in a long time. And to be frank, I miss that. I miss the pissed off for greatness type of attitude, the type of attitude that screams “We own this town” in the Coliseum tunnel.

Over the past 4 years we have all witnessed some disappointing and avoidable losses. Specifically this year against Arizona State, Stanford, Washington State and USC. Here at Go Joe Bruin we have covered the details of those games in depth, but I want to simply discuss the post game statements (Thanks to for the easy access transcript).

Now, I don’t want these to be taken out of context, for the Stanford game, I know you were discussing how UCLA did not get any closer to the elite status they want. But this next quote seemed a bit defeated.

Oct 15, 2015; Stanford, CA, USA; Stanford Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan (8) is pursued by UCLA Bruins linebacker Deon Hollins (58) in a NCAA football game at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

“But I’m proud of our guys, you guys don’t get to see the inner workings, you don’t get to see their attitude and how they are in meetings and they’re giving it everything they have got. They’re giving everything they got every single day. Everything they have got. Everything. Every day. So that’s what you have to ask for. And that’s what you have to demand and they do it.”

I appreciate the sentiment about the players going hard, but looking back to the 2013 Oregon game, playing hard isn’t enough. And I miss that Mora. After the USC game, we heard about disappointment and how heartbreaking it was to look at the players. All maybe true, but personally, I like to hear about the fire inside everyone to get better, how they won’t rest until we turn the corner and reach the elite status.

I know it is hard to sustain that attitude and approach for 4 years but think how motivated the players were to be better, and how the fans were ready to go to war with the team.

After the trend of dropping two conference games in a row, with another one or two disappointing losses per season, this program needs a fire under its butt. Fans, players, coaches, heck maybe even the security guards at the Rose Bowl need a spark. And for better or for worse, you are the coach and you are the one who needs to provide this burst.

We need the Mora who calls out the fans for not standing on 3rd downs, we need the Mora who puts an end to the over the wall tradition, we need the Mora who won’t accept being close, we need the Mora who is willing to do anything to take UCLA to the promise land.

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I believe in you. I will still go to war with you and I 100% have your back. I think you are the man for the job. I just don’t want you to get too comfortable. We haven’t won anything yet, but I know we can. There are so many reasons for optimism regarding this program.

So lets do this together. You and I, well maybe you and 85K others in the Rose Bowl stands.


Brian Canup and all the other loyal Bruin fans out there