Today, the UCLA Athletic Department officially announced what everyone already knew. Jedd Fisch is UCLA’s new offensive coordinator.
While that isn’t really news at this point, a few other things are.
First, the Athletic Department appears to know that the Fisch hiring hasn’t been perceived all that well by many fans. As a result, in the official announcement, they went out of their way to include quotes from Jedd Fisch’s previous employers about Fisch. There are quotes from former Baltimore Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick, former Denver Broncos Head Coach Mike Shanahan, current Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll, former Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley and current Michigan Wolverines Head Coach Jim Harbaugh.
Overall, it’s an impressive list and they all had good things to say about Jim Mora’s latest hire. But, take another look at that list again.
While I realize that Pete Carroll has had much success in Seattle, does the Athletic Department really expect that a quote from Cheatey Petey — the same guy who ran up a 66-19 score against UCLA when he was at Southern Cal — is going to make Bruin fans feel better about the team’s new offensive coordinator? Gimme a break.
You know what would make Bruin fans feel the team is poised to get better next season? Firing Adrian Klemm. That’s what.
Now, that the ink appears to be dry on Coach Fisch’s contract, let’s get to work fixing the rest of the coaching staff. Unfortunately, that may not be the case based on a quote from Coach Fisch in an AP article:
The first thing we're going to do is evaluate all the players and make the offense best suited for the personnel and the talent that has been recruited to UCLA over the last four years. We are a multiple offense.
But, the Pete Carroll quote wasn’t the only thing which should upset Bruin football fans this afternoon. That honor goes to a quote from Jim Mora. Greg Beacham, the same AP writer who quote Fisch, tweeted a quote from Mora which isn’t in his article.
UCLA's Jim Mora: "I didn't really talk to anyone that runs a spread. As far as I know, spread teams have never won a national championship."— Greg Beacham (@gregbeacham) January 5, 2017
Naturally, the response to this has been swift. Alex Kirschner from the SB Nation mothership responded with a list of several spread offenses which have won national championships since 2000 including last year’s champs and this year’s CFP finalist Alabama. SB Nation isn’t the only one calling out Mora’s moronic statement. Campus Insiders has written about it too. And, I’m sure there will be more.
Of course, in response to Beacham’s tweets, the memes have followed. Here’s a small sample.
Of course, we need to provide equal time.
But, maybe it’s because I’m a child of the 80s and I grew up watching Diff’rent Strokes, my favorite has to be this one.
While I’m on the topic of UCLA Football, I’ve read articles on 247sports and Fox Sports over the past several days listing UCLA as a possible school where Chip Kelly could land should he decide to return to college football. Well, just a reminder, I was the first to suggest that Dan Guerrero should hire Chip Kelly back when he let go by Philadelphia.
I took a ton of heat at the time from Bruin fans who thought Mora was the greatest thing since slice bread. It turns out that he was just the greatest football hire since Dan Guerrero became Athletic Director. But, of course, the two previous hires set that bar pretty darn low and this past season proved I was right then.
Dan Guerrero really needs to give Chip a call, but that probably won’t happen until the Fall at the earliest, even though it should have happened again this week. Assuming it doesn’t happen until then, UCLA is probably stuck with Mora for next season, even though I wouldn’t put it past either Jed York of the 49ers or Dean Spanos of the Chargers if either of them hired him now, given each one’s terrible track record of hiring head coaches.
But, if UCLA is stuck with Mora, he needs to try to rebuild the trust of Bruin fans after this past season. While Jim Mora got by last winter with just letting the Mazzones leave for College Station, this winter, he will not get a pass for keeping Adrian Klemm again this year. I totally get it if Jim decides to keep Klemm around until, say, February 2nd. National Signing Day this year is on February 1st, after all.
But, there can be no doubt that Klemm needs to be gone by Valentine’s Day.
Only then can Jim Mora start to rebuild the trust of UCLA Football fans.