UCLA has now lost 5 of their last 6 games against Power Five conference teams dating back to last season and, frankly, I’m starting to wonder if the team will manage to win another game this season.
Normally, I’d say they should have at least one more win in the remaining games, but, after Oregon State put up 47 points against UC Berkeley on Saturday, I’m starting to question that.
Heck, just look at the next three weeks. On Saturday, the Bruins travel to Pullman to face a Washington State squad that was the second team in a row to dismantle Stanford. Suddenly, that "close" loss isn’t looking so good.
After that, Utah comes into the Rose Bowl and you know that Kyle Whittingham will have his team ready to play. Then, they travel to Colorado for a Thursday night game against a much-improved Buffalo team which almost won last year in Pasadena. It doesn’t exactly inspire a lot of confidence.
Because many of the same problems that existed in year one of the Jim Mora era continue to exist today.
I’m going to keep pointing out the fact that, while many of the so-called experts were concerned with the receivers, I was in the minority (and possibly the only one) who has said since Spring that the offensive line has issues.
The offensive line has been a problem since Jim Mora’s first season in Westwood. Yet, somehow, some way, Adrian Klemm still has a job.
Forget the play of the offensive line for a moment.
Here’s a guy who the NCAA recently issued a "Show Cause" order to due to the severity of his recruiting violations. The guy admitted to paying for recruits to attend a football camp and claimed he thought it was ok since they had signed with UCLA. When exactly is it ever ok for a coach to pay for a player’s expenses out of his own pocket? Come on. And he still has a job?
I made the case that after the Southern Cal game last season that he needed to go after the performance of the offensive line last season. That was before we knew the extent of his recruiting violations. Yet, he is still employed by UCLA and our offensive line still sucks. Maybe, just maybe it’s a coaching issue.
He should be fired first thing tomorrow. If not for the poor play of the offensive line over four and a half seasons, then for his recruiting violations. Ok, I’ll compromise on this and say he should be fired for both reasons.
Now, I noticed that some of our readers aren’t willing to lay blame for last night’s loss on Jim Mora. Specifically, I noticed how quick Bruin fans are to blame last night’s loss on Rosen’s injury.
Make no mistake. It wasn’t Josh Rosen’s injury that lost last night’s game. It was an undeveloped backup quarterback and that doesn’t mean I’m blaming Mike Fafaul either. I’m not.
I’m blaming a coaching staff which failed to prepare him to be ready to play.
If I can identify that Fafaul could be the most important guy on the UCLA roster, I would think that the coaching staff could as well. Apparently not.
Frankly, I can’t believe that I’m going to use Terry Donahue’s coaching as an indictment of Jim Mora and staff here because of my general dislike for Donahue as a coach because he is largely responsible for UCLA’s "good enough" fan base, but here goes.
There was one thing I truly appreciated about the way Terry Donahue coached at UCLA. Donahue made a point of always getting his backup quarterbacks a good amount of playing time in non-conference games.
Of course, you could argue that Donahue’s non-conference schedules may have been easier than what we play now, but it doesn’t change the fact that Donahue’s backup QBs were always ready to come off the bench because he gave them got them playing time during the non-conference portion of the schedule.
Jim Mora, on the other hand, has been peculiarly stingy about giving his backup QBs playing time until he really needed them. Last night, the fact that Fafaul has never led the team on a sustained scoring drive showed.
Yes, I know what you Mora supporters are going to say. "Well, when could he have done that?" The simple answer is that if he had the team playing to its potential Fafaul should have played the entire second half against UNLV. "But, UCLA would need to be winning big and they never were," you add. Yup, you’re right. They weren’t. And, that’s yet another problem with the Mora era: The team consistently underperforms or plays down to the level of their opponent.
Then again, no matter how much a QB prepares, very little prepares him for when his offensive linemen start using their lookout block techniques. That’s the "block" used when an offensive lineman gets beaten and he yells to the quarterback, "Lookout!"
Far too often, that’s the blocking scheme being employed by Adrian Klemm’s offensive line.
But, I digress.
Many Bruin fans will dismiss last night’s loss due to Josh Rosen’s injuries. But, an elite coaching staff would have a competant backup ready in the event that Josh Rosen got hurt. Fafaul may have been the best option in a pinch last night.
But, if Rosen is still too injured to play next week, I fully expect to see Devon Modster making the start.
Bruin fans, Jim Mora has received a pass from being held accountable for too long. It is high time that somebody (read: anybody) hold him accountable for everything that goes on on the field. He is the CEO of the Bruin Football program, after all, and we, as Bruin fans, are the stakeholders.
Too often, Jim Mora has sat at his postgame press conference and either offered excuses or deflected possible criticism by talking about how tough his players played and how much grit they showed.
But, last night was different.
Instead of going into his usually coachspeak routine that many of us can recite from memory, Mora was actually honest and straightforward after the game. He said:
"It starts with us as coaches. Obviously, we’re doing a horrible job and we have to get it fixed."
Ain’t that the truth.
It was nice to finally see Jim Mora offer the same kind of honesty as Tom Bradley last season when Bradley would say "Excuses are for losers."
Last night after the game, Mora didn’t offer any of the usual excuses. That doesn’t mean he was completely forthcoming about everything. While he did explain that Bolu Olurunfunmi didn’t make the trip to Tempe, he didn’t explain why.
If Jim Mora has stopped offering excuses and is willing to admit that he and his coaching staff are doing a horrible job, perhaps it’s time for all UCLA fans to agree with his self-assessment.
That brings us to our Jim Mora Hotseat Meter.
Last week, after the win over Arizona, Jim’s seat got a little bit cooler as the meter moved from a 6.5 to a 6, which is Warm. Well, this week’s loss coupled by Jim’s honest self-assessment moves the meter back in other direction to a 7. On the Jim Mora Hot Seat Meter, that means his seat is now officially Hot. Should it move to an 8, the meter will then be Red Hot. A 9 is White Hot and a 10 is Alford Hot.
With the JMHM now at 7, maybe....just maybe....Dan Guerrero should start putting a list of potential replacements together.
Over the course of the past few weeks, I’ve suggested Tom Herman, who grew up in Simi Valley and still has family there, and Kyle Whittingham as two possible replacements. Who else should be on Dan Guerrero’s list of possible replacements for Jim Mora if the season starts to spiral out of control?
Let’s us know in the comments below.