Sunday, December 11, 2011

UCLA hires Mora as new head football coach

By Kshell

The UCLA Bruins(6-7,5-4) have announced who their new football coach is. Their new coach will be former Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks head coach Jim L. Mora who will be attempting to coach college football for the first time in his career.  The hiring of Mora is an interesting move for the Bruins but a move that they had to make. The Bruins who will be going to a bowl game with a losing record ranked 85th in the nation in scoring and 96th in defense scoring as well. Mora who was only 31-33 in the NFL in four seasons as head coach will hope to pull a Pete Carroll(who was just 33-31 in four seasons as NFL head coach) and take over the Pac-12 in a big market. Mora is taking over a sleeping giant in UCLA who has experienced success in the past and is an easy sell for recruits.

Mora while in the NFL did experience some success as a head coach. During his first season in Atlanta Mora led the Falcons to the NFC championship game with an 11-5 record. The reason Mora was fired after just three seasons in Atlanta was due to controversial statements he made about leaving them for the Washington Huskies job. While with the Seahawks Mora was fired after going 5-11. Mora was head coach in Seattle for just one season which is hard to pin that season on him considering he took over a 4-12 team who still hasn't produced a winning season. Mora will be trying to take his NFL experience to the college game for the first time. Mora will try to bring UCLA Bruins football back on the map like it was under Terry Donahue when the Bruins were a top tier Pac-10 team. Mora is defensive minded which in a league that features Chip Kelly, Steve Sarkisian, Lane Kiffin, Rich Rodriguez, and Mike Leach will be important.

The program Mora is taking over is a quality program. When Terry Donahue coached the Bruins from 1976-1995 he won more Pac-10 games than any coach in conference history. Donahue compiled a 151-74-8 record while going 8-4-1 in bowl games which included two Rose Bowl wins. Donahue led the Bruins to three Rose Bowl appearances. After he retired the Bruins had back to back 10 win seasons in 1997 and 1998 including another Rose Bowl appearance. You can win at UCLA and recruit well there. Although the recruiting has been bad the last two years the Bruins in 2010 had the 8th ranked class in the entire nation which was 2nd in the conference. In 2009 the Bruins had the 5th ranked class which was fanked first in the conference and in 2008 10th ranked class which ranked 2nd in the conference. From 2002-2010 the Bruins had seven ranked recruiting classes including four top ten classes in the nation. The Bruins have won before and with all that talent in southern California recruiting has never been an issue.

In conclusion, I fear Mora going to UCLA more than I do Mike Leach going to Washington State. Mora is entering a better situation for one. He is taking over a team who is going to a bowl game and taking over a program which actually has tradition. He is also taking over a place which is easy to sell recruits and I feel being defensive minded will help him as well. Look at the teams who dominate the conference in years past like the Pete Carroll USC teams or the Don James Huskies teams they had one thing in common which was defense first. Offense is exciting but defense still wins championships which is why Mora will be successful at UCLA. As a Huskies fan it will be tough rooting against Mora but I'm happy for Mora that he finally has a chance to be successful. I have no doubts in my mind that Mora will find success with the Bruins. For the rest of the Pac-12 they better watch out as the Bruins and Cougars will be significantly better over the next decade than they were this past decade.

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