We have to stop meeting on Thursdays like this. The Sunday Morning Quarterback column was designed to be a once-a-week column, not a twice-a-column, after all.
But, I just cannot resist pointing out another reason as to why the UCLA Football program is definitely under the wrong leadership.
One of the things that has driven most Bruin fans crazy for the past four and a half seasons has been the “penalty” problem and Jim Mora’s failure to control it.
I’ve argued that it comes from a lack of discipline being instilled by the coaching staff.
Let’s compare two similar situations.
With about three minutes to go in the first quarter, Darren Andrews takes it for 35 yards. Andrews then taunts BYU and almost half of the gain was wiped out. Of course, Coach Mora chewed Andrews out on the sideline. But, was that the worst of it for Andrews?
Quite possibly. But, since the media is not allowed to report on anything they might see in closed UCLA practices we don’t know for sure. To be fair, in both Spring and Fall camp, Mora required players who committed certain penalties like false starts to run the length of the field and back and ejectable penalties like fighting led to ejections from practice.
On the other hand, if Andrews was playing for Chris Petersen and the Washington Huskies, it definitely wouldn’t have been the end of it as evidenced by how Huskies coach Chris Petersen handled quarterback Jake Browning at a recent practice.
According to ESPN.com, Petersen made Browning do 500 push-ups as a punishment for the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
ESPN reports that Browning’s Husky teammates offered to do some of them for Browning, but Petersen wouldn’t have it.
Something tells me you won’t see Browning or any other UW player get called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for quite sometime.
That’s how you instill discipline in a team and eliminate stupid penalties.
In other notable news, news outlets that cover more than UCLA or the Pac-12 are starting to notice the problems in Westwood.
Dan Wolken of USA Today named the UCLA fanbase as the most miserable in college football after last weekend’s loss to Arizona State. Wolken writes:
These days, though, Mora’s program is exactly what his critics feared from the very beginning. Not only is UCLA foundering and badly underachieving in Mora’s fifth season, he has sullied the program’s reputation by retaining assistant Adrian Klemm, whose blatant cheating was caught red-handed by the NCAA.
Yet, despite this Adrian Klemm still has a job today.
Wolken continued to capture the sentiment of many Bruin fans perfectly:
And because Bruins fans have seen this movie before — in fact, it’s really the only movie they’ve ever seen going back several consecutive coaches now — the opportunity to re-live it in 2016 makes them the most miserable fan base in college football this week. [emphasis added]
Ouch. Talk about an indictment against UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero’s ability to hire football coaches.
And, that, my friends, is why many Bruin fans are finished with Jim Mora as coach of the Bruins and Dan Guerrero as Athletic Director. But, Wolken isn’t the only outside of Bruins Nation saying it.
In an article on Today’sU.com, Matthew Zemek details the Dorrell-Neuheisel-Mora era and finds one common theme:
The Bruins couldn’t protect their quarterbacks, who constantly got injured. UCLA couldn’t recruit or cultivate performance on its offensive line.
To be sure, the first three years of the Mora era managed to mask that problem because Brett Hundley was as mobile as he was. And, let’s just say Rosen got lucky last year. Perhaps it was the Mazzone system which resulted in Rosen getting rid of the ball before his offensive line could deliver their “Lookout!” blocks. But, whatever the reason, Rosen did not get sacked as much last season as this season.
Meanwhile, we come full circle back to Washington as Zemek compares the job Chris Petersen has done in about half the time that Mora has had:
In two and a half seasons, Petersen has developed and recruited a powerful offensive line which is enabling quarterback Jake Browning to stuff the stat sheet.
This raises a rhetorical question: Is there anything a good coaching staff can do at Washington which shouldn’t be expected of a UCLA coaching staff?
Obviously, the answer is no. So, then, why does Dan Guerrero continue to allow this to happen?
It’s time that Mora’s seat got a lot hotter because come Monday, November 28th, Guerrero needs to hold Jim Mora accountable for his failures as UCLA’s head coach.