Bumped. GO BRUINS. - BN Eds.
I was at the South Bay Bruins "Meet Jim Mora Jr." evening Tuesday, May 15th at the Automobile Driving Museum (cool place) in El Segundo, near LAX.
There was a pretty good turnout...drinks for sale, small silent auction, display for the Rose Bowl luxury seating, then about a one-hour talk by Mora.
Mora is very energetic and engaging, and clearly knows how to say the right things. He talked about his commitment to make the alumni, fans, and supporters proud to walk around Los Angeles wearing UCLA gear. He pointedly called u$c "Southern Cal."
He talked about each coach in detail, the recruiting process, and what he calls the "Bruin Filter" they use when looking for players. Twice he mentioned building a fence around Los Angeles in terms of recruiting, and that he hears the perception that UCLA gets the players who Southern Cal doesn’t want but he wants to quickly make sure it is the other way around.
Read on for a few highlights.
A few highlights from his talk:
Regarding uni’s, he said they are re-designing the sleeves of the current uniform and removing one layer of fabric near the shoulder so that the "stripes" can go around more of the sleeve and not be cut off. (He knows the details of how many layers of fabric there are!). He said there will be an alternate home jersey and an alternate away, and that on Tuesday this week they chose the two games at which they will wear the alternates. Sounds like a white alternate and blue – he pointedly said not black.
Regarding the white uniforms from last season, he said he has joked he wants to open the season at Rice wearing them, and win that game big, to take the stigma off of them.
When asked what he worries about at night, he said without much thought – "The depth of the offensive line." Then… the depth at middle linebacker. And the depth of the secondary. I think it’s clear he tries to be clear and thinks carefully about what impression he leaves, because in the middle of the next question, he said something like, "Just to put it in context, there’s never been a time, as assistant or head coach, that I haven’t worried about my team’s depth at offensive line."
Also regarding the OLine, he said he doesn’t feel they have "gelled" yet, and he is waiting for that. That they all have to play so closely together, they have to be a cohesive unit, and he hasn’t seen that with this group yet.
Regarding QB, he said he went into Spring thinking one of the four (and he pointedly included Jerry Neuheisel among the four), would elevate their play above the others. At first, he was disappointed that it appeared not one of them had, but as he has gone back through the film, he realizes they ALL elevated themselves to the same level….now in the Fall he wants to see one jump out from the group.
He talked about each one of the assistant coaches and what each brings to the team, and he started with Sal Alosi – saying he knows there’s been some controversy about him. Mora even mimicked Sal on the sideline sticking his knee out. But he talked about how Sal is still one of the most respected S&C Coaches in the league, and that he, among all of the staff, spends the most time with the players. And Mora said Sal has a story to tell these kids about making the biggest mistake of your life, and then recovering from it – that this is the lesson the kids need to hear from someone who’s been there.
Mora said Sal and a staff dietician have just reviewed and revised the food the players will get on the plane and at the hotels prior to games, and that they both police the training table.
He said great things about incoming freshman kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn and also said they have a walk-on JC-transfer for backup.
(At the end, I went up to the Assistant Athletic Director who was there (sorry, I didn't catch his name, tall fellow), and asked how soon Spaulding field would be redone. He said bids were out, but it's a complicated bidding process and a very expensive job ($1.3 million), and if it can't be done before Fall it will be done immediately after the season.)