Coach Jim Mora's opening remarks during last night's post-game presser were interesting to say the least. Check it out above.
Mora specifically talks about "managing expectations" and then discussed how it is going to take "a little time" to get the program going as the Bruins started 9 freshmen.
Then he admitted how the team was "hung over" after playing two big games in previous two weekends. He conceded that the team "didn't have the enthusiasm" that the team typically has. He suggested the "juices were back" in the second half. Then his talking points kind of channeled themes we have heard from previous coaching staff about how the team will "grow" from it and how it's "hard to win a football game."
There was no comments about the 11 penalties against his football team as UCLA continues the trend as the most penalized team in the conference (if not the country). Sure some of those penalties can be attributed to SPTRs but like it or not UCLA now has a reputation of being an undisciplined football team around the conference. That's not a good thing and it's on the coaches to clean that up as this issue has been a big problem for last two years.
Mora's coachspeak is fine but it's a little unsettling to see him downplaying ("managing") expectations seven games into this year given it was himself who talked about this season being an "opportunity" to break through. And, also the comments about the "juices" flowing in the second half doesn't mean all that much given that this is not the first time his team has looked disinterested and uninspiring in the first half (check back the replays of the Nevada, New Mexico State and UC Berkeley games).
The bottom line is the pretty much unanimous expectations around Mora's program into his second year was winning the Pac-12 South, beating Southern Cal (which is now thriving under an "interim" head coach), battling it out in the conference championship game, and then winning the bowl game.
Making excuses after a lackluster win against one of the worst teams in the conference (while taking commitments from Dorrellian offensive recruits) is not exactly what we had in mind during Mora's second year in Westwood.
Hopefully he and his team gets it together fast and finish out strong rest of this season. Given all the comparisons to Pete Carroll, a Dorrellian/Neuheisel finish will not point this program towards the right direction after Mora's second year in Westwood.