In last 48 hours we have been looking into Jim Mora's track record and experience as a football coach. As discussed Mora's resume raises a lot of concerns. We have also been looking into reflections on Mora's coaching from Seattle and Atlanta fanbases on SBN. What we have found out so far is pretty troubling and seems to raise more red flags around Mora.
Take for example this post from abender20 on SBN's Seahawk's blog Field Gulls. When the decision to fire Mora was announced to the Seahawks fanbase, here is how abender20 ripped into Mora for his difficulties with player evaluation:
As Head Coach, Mora brought in some interesting coaching talent in guys like Dan Quinn and Gus Bradley. Do we credit Mora for seeing some bright young minds or do we debit him for bringing in coordinators running a zone defensive scheme that was ill-suited for his on-field talent? It's the evaluation of personnel that strikes me as the larger failing. This season saw the continued overuse of Patrick Kerney, Craig Terrill, and Colin Cole. Owen Schmitt had a lot of development time wasted as Justin Griffith kept playing. While I like Julius Jones and what he can bring offensively, Forsett was frequently the more effective back (DVOA agrees) and didn't see enough touches. Olindo Mare and Chris Spencer. John touched on his leadership issues quite a bit, as well as the handling of the offensive line. The late-season loss of Derek Walker just to avoid some vague notion of mailing it in. The retention of Bruce DeHaven (this will likely be remedied in short order). There are plenty of reasons to help justify a change.
Brutal. More after the jump.
From the same blog, John Morgan destroyed Mora for the way he threw his kicker - Olindo Mare - under the bus after a tough loss:
Mike Holmgren earned the respect of his team and fans by shouldering blame and not losing his cool in front of reporters. No one confused his restraint with a lack of fire or an unwillingness to discipline his players. It was class. If Mora had been right and Mare had truly been the difference between Seattle winning or losing, centering his criticism on Mare would still have exhibited a lack of leadership.
Mora didn't just handle the loss poorly, he was wrong. Mare had six field goal attempts and converted four. No kicker is automatic. The more attempts a kicker has, the more likely they are to miss. Mare kicked three attempts from 40-49 and three from 30-39. In 2008, all NFL kickers made 89% from 30-39 and 74% from 40-49. If an average kicker attempts three from 30-39, there is a 70% chance they make all three. If an average NFL kicker attempts three from 40-49, there is a 41% chance he makes all three and only a little better than 55% chance he makes two of three. Combine the two and an average NFL kicker should make 4.89 field goals in three attempts from 30-39 and three attempts from 40-49.
Mare made four. Had he exceeded the average, he would have made five and Seattle would have lost by three. If he had nailed all six, a feat an average NFL kicker could accomplish in less than three out of ten attempts, Seattle is tied - theoretically. One can't change an event in a sequence and expect all future events to remain unchanged. Nevertheless, the two missed field goals matched the point differential, making Mare an easy target. Mora ripped Mare publicly, lost his calm and threatened Mare's job. Inadvertently, Mora took the heat off Mare and put it on himself. Mare barely underachieved in a very limited sample. He missed two kicks in a string of six the way the best and worst kickers do. Mora displayed to Seahawks fans across the world a lack of leadership, critical understanding of the game and decision making.
Atlanta fans were not all that enamored with Mora either. The word they used to associate Jim Mora with is "ineptitude."
None of this is comforting. Right now UCLA football is badly in need of competent leadership. We need a good, solid coach who can build a strong foundation in Westwood using the talent Rick Neuheisel brought in last four years. We need someone who is a great evaluator of talent and someone who can earn the respect and trust of student athletes, instead of providing fodder during weekly press conferences.
The overall resume and background we have read on Mora so far is not comforting and I think that is an understatement. We wonder whether Chancellor Gene Block is paying any attention to the details and whether he will allow his athletic director - who has a proven record of failure - to take another huge chance and let down UCLA again. Keep calling and email the Chancellor's office and tell them we will not accept a Mora hire in Westwood.