First things first...Jim Mora was not my top choice for our Head Coach. Nor was he my second, third, or even fourth. No one in their right mind is going to call this a homerun hire. In fact, I would guess many of our Pac-12 competitors are laughing their asses off at our incompetent AD and our third-string hire. With that being said, I've had a chance to let my emotions filter out and I've begun to look at this hire a bit differently. Obviously Mora does not have a stellar head coaching record in the NFL. Is that such a surprise, though? This is a guy who by most accounts doesn't exactly exude the all important NFL qualities (super serious, unimaginative, highly professional, media savvy, etc.). This despite the fact that his father groomed him to be just that. Mora has always come across as a bit brash, cocky/arrogant, eccentric, and petulant. But guess what...those are qualites of some of the best college football coaches in the nation. Think Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Bobby Bowden, et al. Perhaps Mora was in the wrong place all along.
There are a couple other things that I'm starting to "not hate" about this hire. For one, he is almost completely off the UCLA map, which is a first since Red Sanders. He is defensive minded, which is also new. From most accounts he runs physical practices and preaches discipline (Neuheisel did neither). He was a defensive back in college and we need all the help we can get in stopping the pass. Apparently he also received assurances from Guerroro that UCLA would upgrade training facilities...so, it sounds like his head isn't completely in the clouds. I'm very curious to see who he brings in as his assistants and if he trys to retain Mike Johnson, who I like. We are obviously going to need some ace recruiters because Mora does not know the college recruiting landscape. I wonder how much money it would take to flip Tosh Lupoi from Cal (pipe dream). My guess is that our budget will be fairly large because
there is no way we are paying Mora $3M+ per year we are "only" paying him $2.4M/year.
With regards to some of the feedback from Seahawks and Falcons fans, I can't help but feel that NFL players just weren't responding to his style. I can only hope that style translates to the college game, and it's too bad I can only hope. That is really the worst part of this hire...it just feels like a shot in the dark. UCLA should never have to resort to making such a hire, but at least we broke away from an unhealthy pattern. Now if we can just break away from Guerrero we'll be able to rebuild our athletic program and return to our rightful place in college athletics.