The UCLA football program has been a pretty funny joke for about a decade now. Since Terry Donahue left, the Bruins have failed to accumulate any sort of momentum or put themselves on the national map. Bob Toledo, Karl Dorrell and recently-fired Rick Neuheisel have failed to live up to expectations. (Although you can blame that on the always-incompetent Athletic Director, Dan Guerrero, for not throwing enough money into the football or basketball programs.)
And with the hiring of Jim Mora, Jr., most figured this was another desperate, bogus move by Guerrero. And though the next season is nine months away, he’s kind of already proving us wrong.
Mora’s only been on the job since Monday and he’s already making waves despite his hire barely making ripples. First, Mora, Jr. managed to pry heavily-coveted offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone from Arizona State:
ASU fans, students and alums were pretty ticked that Mazzone left ASU, and the UCLA blogosphere tingled with happy emotions.
That wasn’t it for Mora, though. The dude was on such a role, he thought he’d pick up a few of the best recruiters in the conference (and, depending on who you ask, the nation) in Demetrice Martin:
That is to go along with the hiring of Adrian Klemm and Steve Broussard, too.
OK, so maybe Jim Mora, Jr. wasn’t the sexiest, most ideal hire, especially considering Washington picked up Mike Leach while Arizona reeled in Rick Rodriguez. Sure, his coaching experience in college is, well … what coaching experience in college? But the dude seems restless and is hungry as hell. His career hasn’t exactly been astounding, so the fact that UCLA has given him an opportunity to revive his career could make this his last chance at redemption.
When Mora was hired, the UCLA fan-base was furious — after reaching out to guys like Chris Petersen, Kevin Sumlin and Al Golden, we “wound up” with Mora. In all honesty, I was pretty upset that Guerrero managed to screw up another head coaching hire.
Of course, Mora’s finished product will be heavily criticized in nine months. But for now, he’s all making us look like we had no idea what we were talking about.