It's been an interesting day for college football fans as we learned about USC axing Lane Kiffin. I fell asleep on the couch at 1:30 am while ASU was crushing USC, woke up a few minutes later and had two thoughts: time to go to bed and Kiffin's in trouble. My kids woke me up around 8:00 around the time Kiffin's firing was announced. Text messages started flowing in from my dad, my brother-in-law and a few friends.
I've had a number of thoughts in my head on this subject. I was at our game in Knoxville when Kiffin was there and a couple of locals were genuinely excited about bringing in Kiffin and him taking over for Phil Fulmer. I thought of those folks month later when Kiffin left Knoxville and despicably arranged to take some of his players with him. When the firing was announced today, I thought of those folks in Knoxville again. I hope they were smiling a little (or a lot).
But the big thought that really occupied my mind was that I am so glad that we have Coach Mora. Right now, there isn't a big enough sample size to determine if he'll bring us up to maintained excellence. But I think we can affirm that with Coach Mora, we have a coach that genuinely cares about his players, cares about the program that he gets to lead right now. Mora brings a fire to see his players improve and to drive them to excellence. You know he wants the win, but I really think he enjoys the development that his players go through in his program.
There have been other instances in the past (notably for me, Mora going on Twitter to defend a player), but the way that Mora handled the tragedy of Nick Pasquale's death really showed me that Mora is truly invested in his job. Many of us teared up in his post-game interview on the field when we saw his passion and love for one of his walk-ons who was taken way too early. I am going to bet that we will lose some games with Mora at the helm, but I don't think he'll ever screw our program and become a national laughingstock like Kiffin did at USC. I think there's too much personal investment on Mora's part in our beloved Bruins to ever let anything like that happen.
So we'll watch USC flail around this season; it's going to get ugly. Who knows if Kiffin will find a new job, but his name is sullied and should be kryptonite for any program that doesn't want to tank. USC may find a homerun hire to replace Kiffin, but I'm proud that we have Mora. Just like he wouldn't trade his players for anyone else, I wouldn't have anyone else running our program right now.