Let's start this Monday morning with a call in action reminder from this weekend. The Jim L. Mora to UCLA move is done. There is not much realistic actions that can be taken now to undo what has been arguably the most disappointing hire of this year's college football coaching carousel.
The hire as articulated by BruinBlue in his epic guest post yesterday afternoon was entirely predictable for UCLA. However, that doesn't mean we pick up the ball and go home as interested Bruin alums (even though we should wait to financially support this program or the school until Dan Guerrero is fired for his incompetence in his Westwood).
This is where we have to remain engaged. If you are upset about the way Guerrero and his minions from Morgan Center conducted this bungled and questionable hiring process, you should call the Chancellor's office this morning. The objective here is simple:
CALL Chancellor Gene Block's Office: 1-310-825-2151 & Demanding Firing of Dan Guerrero
Call Gene Block's office and calmly and respectfully tell his staffers your specific affiliation with UCLA (i.e. graduation year or expected year of graduation) and share with them your reservations about this latest bungled hiring process by Dan Guerrero and ask for his immediate removal from UCLA. If you still care about those four letters and are upset from this surreal mess, you have to make the call.
Now, speaking of the bungled process, let's make an important point this Monday as we are set to begin the next chapter of UCLA football. To this date here on BN, based on hard facts, statistics, and well referenced (linked) thoughts from Atlanta and Seattle fans, we have raised severe concerns about Mora's qualification to reestablish and jump start the listless UCLA football program. Mora's initial public statements as the head coach of UCLA didn't exactly inspire a lot of confidence. It generated more questions about Guerrero's interview process.
We hope people see an important distinction between criticisms of the hiring of Mora and Mora's role now as the brand new coach of UCLA. We appreciate that Mora is now our coach. We will support his efforts to get our program back on track and we wish him luck. However, supporting Mora doesn't mean we go dark about raising serious questions about the screwed up hiring process and tracking his moves as the new coach and pointing out mistakes that raise concern. UCLA paid Mora a decent chunk of change, making him the highest paid coach in the history of this program. We expect him to hit the ground running.
As we will detail in the coming months, we expect UCLA football to have a huge season next year, and we are not going be in the mood to hear excuses from Block and UCLA administrators about giving room to a new coach who has to "learn" about the college game and get used to his surroundings.
Guerrero made it very clear on Saturday that he went "out on a limb" (emphasis ours throughout):
"Jim will adapt. It is a process that is learned very quicky in this business. Once you're in a living room, once you're in a home, it's the same process of trying to convince a student-athlete to come and be a part of something spoecial. Being out on a limb, hiring an individual who does not have much experience on a college campus, I think Jim will make the adjustment and adaptation very quickly. Bottom line is that we want to recruit a solid football coach.
Guerrero's gibberish didn't make a lot of sense. Nevertheless his mumblings made it clear that once again he made a hire based on his gut feel, instead of looking at facts and statistics. He made a hire, based on recommendations from usual stale source, who have had a role in slow rotting of this program in this past decade. So, while it may not be fair to Mora, it is not fair for the Bruin Nation, that has been suffering for years for not to expect immediate results from this latest wild card hire, that is entire premised on hope and feel.
Now speaking of facts we need get some facts out here that have not been share in last couple of days. The hopy/feely comparison to Pete Carroll has been endless even though we have been pointing out time and time again, how NFL coaches by and large have not experienced much success at the college level. There is another point that is worth making that has been missing in the automated comparisons to Carroll. Unlike Moral, Carroll had extensive experience as a college coach. Here is Carroll's college experience in bullets (via his bio on Seahawks' website):
- Three years as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Pacific (1974-76), working with the wide receivers and secondary.
- One season as a graduate assistant working with the secondary at Arkansas (1977) under Lou Holtz as the Razorbacks won the 1978 Orange Bowl
- One season as secondary coach at Iowa State (1978)
- One season as secondary coach at Ohio State (1979).
- Three seasons (1980-82) as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at North Carolina State
- One season at Pacific in 1983 as the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator, before starting his NFL career
In total Carroll had 10 years of experience of coaching college at various positions ranging from graduate assistant to assistant head coach, spanning both sides of the field. That is a dramatic difference from Mora's one year of experience as a graduate assistant at Washington. So, the comparison between Carroll and Mora does not really apply.
So sorry to burst the Carroll comparison bubble. To add to this prominent national media observers were not all that impressed with this hire. From Stewart Mandel of SI.com:
Nice work, UCLA. I'm sure Mora will be the next Carroll and not Chan Gailey, Bill Callahan, Al Groh, Mike Sherman, Charlie Weis, et. al.
Some people seemed to miss the sarcasm in my Mora column. UCLA just made the 2nd-worst hire of the offseason. And I can't say I'm surprised.
Ouch. Now to be fair, I will also excerpt this interesting note from ESPN's Pac-12 blog, which basically exists as a hype platform to pimp the good news for every conference programs (primarily Southern Cal):
Mora is tireless. He keeps himself in freakishly good physical condition. He's extremely competitive. Those qualities should serve him well as a recruiter and in general. The college game also requires coaches to become schmoozers. It requires them to relate with boosters, speak at banquets and kiss up to high school players (and their parents). Mora has a hard time hiding his true feelings. He is not a schmoozer. This could be interesting. Eventual clashes with university administrators would come as no shock.
Well, the last sentence is interesting. At this point, we are going to give Mora a genuine shot even though he doesn't have any margin for error. That said, if Mora get results on the field, and then make the right moves to publicly demand UCLA execute upon its PR talking points on total commitment to football, we will certainly go all out to support him.
Mora just has to earn the support the hard way ("show don't tell" as aptly put by alpha1906) here on Bruins Nation.