Today is Jim L. Mora's first day as the head football coach at UCLA. He has started it off with a bang:
Redshirt sophomore defensive end Wesley Flowers and freshman tight end Raymond Nelson violated team rules and are no longer members of the team, while junior defensive back Randall Carroll is no longer enrolled at UCLA.
"At UCLA, we have a high set of standards that we expect every student-athlete to adhere to. Unfortunately, these three gentlemen choose not to do so," Mora said.
Mora held his first team meeting of 2012 earlier today.
The note about Wesley Flowers is somewhat surprising. The news about Raymond Nelson, unfortunately is not all that surprising at this appoint. Same goes with Randall Carroll, who has had multiple suspensions in this program since arriving in Westwood.
I guess one of the obvious takes here is that all this is part of "culture change" that we have heard from Mora dating back to his comments following "over the wall" flap. We welcome that. However, we have to keep in mind that we heard about "culture change" from Rick Neuheisel. We also heard about cleaning up the "underbelly" during Karl Dorrell. We have all gone through this routine before.
There is also the matter of number of scholarships. I think UCLA fans can stop worrying about number of scholarships Mora and his coaches will be handing out for the incoming class of 2012. I imagine we will see few more moves pertaining to current roster in the coming days as Mora, coaches and the current players figure out the level of commitment to the current regime and also towards re-establishing the UCLA football program (instead of dreaming about going over the wall).
While we are hopeful that these moves will send a signal to rest of the program, the results of "culture change" will reflect through discernible positive trends through performances of our student athletes both off and on the field. There is a lot of talent, the previous regime stockpiled in this program. While some of these moves may have been necessary, our expectations for next year will not change. We will not want to see "cleaning up the underbelly" as an excuse for underperformance next season.