Pregame graph: Examining the Jim Mora era

UCLA Bruins head coach Jim Mora with his team in the tunnel prior to a NCAA college football game against the USC Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Jim Mora set out to start a “Bruin Revolution” when he came to UCLA. Nearly six seasons and a $75-million football facility later, the university is looking for someone to start a new wave.

Mora had the most successful first three years of any UCLA head coach, winning 29 games in that span. But disappointing results in the past two and a half years cost the 56-year-old head coach his job on Sunday.

Here’s a look at what Mora’s teams accomplished compared to the previous two head coaches, Rick Neuheisel and Karl Dorrell. Mora’s teams are highlighted in dark blue, Neuheisel’s teams are yellow and Dorrell’s teams are bright blue. Graphs are broken down by wins in each year and different offensive and defensive stats. Click through the categories using the drop-down menus or the arrows. Continue reading “Pregame graph: Examining the Jim Mora era” »

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Weekly Q&A: Cal answers

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Happy Thanksgiving, friends! I’m thankful for this space that allows me to do a job I love and interact with you. 

Firing Jim Mora before the end of the season (let alone at all), and being a finalist and perhaps winner in the Chip Kelly sweepstakes vs. an SEC powerhouse just doesn’t seem very UCLA-like. An SEC team might operate like this, but historically not UCLA. And not Dan Guerrero. What’s different now at UCLA? Who poked the Bruin Bear?

In short: money. Specifically, Casey Wasserman’s money. I think it’s telling that Wasserman is involved in the search committee. (More on his role here.) As an outsider who moved here only a few years ago, I’m more and more fascinated by his influence in this city every day. He helped bring the Olympics to Los Angeles so if there’s anyone who can will UCLA football to prominence, he would be a very good bet. He put his name on the $75 million football facility and he doesn’t want it to languish away in mediocrity. (I wouldn’t be surprised if Under Armour’s money also has a big influence in this.) So Wasserman, and other high-powered donors/alumni, likely wanted to move quickly and gamble on a big-name coach like Chip Kelly, despite the disruption the mid-season fire caused for the players and the staff. The higher-ups likely heard that Florida was starting to move on Kelly and they knew they needed to make a bold move. It’s a high-risk move, to go all-in on one coach, but it seems that the group has a fair chance to pull it off. Continue reading “Weekly Q&A: Cal answers” »

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Chip Kelly to decide between UCLA, Florida, according to reports

UCLA is one of the final two candidates vying for Chip Kelly‘s coaching services as ESPN reported the former Oregon coach is expected to decide between UCLA and Florida this week.

UCLA met with Kelly on Tuesday, two days after firing Jim Mora on the same day Florida officials met with Kelly.

Kelly is most known for his innovative, high-powered spread offense that lifted Oregon to a 46-7 record. He brought the program to the cusp of its first national championship in the 2010 season when the Ducks lost to Cam Newton’s Auburn team in the BCS national championship game 22-19. Since leaving Oregon, he was fired from two NFL teams, the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers, before spending the past year as an ESPN analyst.

In 2013, after he had already left Oregon for the NFL, Kelly was given an 18-month show-cause penalty for “failure to monitor” in the NCAA’s investigation of the Will Lyles case in which Oregon paid $25,000 to the 7-on-7 coach to steer recruits to Oregon.

The show-cause order expired in 2014, however, so schools will not face any restriction in hiring the 53-year-old coach now.

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UCLA links: Josh Rosen sends thanks to Jim Mora

Josh Rosen knows he hasn’t always been perfect, both on and off the field, but through whatever controversy he stirred up during the past three years, Jim Mora always defended his quarterback. Rosen is grateful.

“We all are forever indebted to him,” Rosen said of his former head coach who was fired this week. “He has helped me grow up, mature, get closer to becoming a man. I mean, I’ve made a lot of mistakes and he’s always been by my side when I think a lot of people maybe wouldn’t, so it’s not just with me it’s with everyone on the team.”

More on Rosen’s reaction to Mora’s firing and how the team is moving forward with Jedd Fisch

Other links:

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Photos: UCLA women’s basketball falls to No. 1 UConn

Click the photo above or (HERE) to see photos of No. 5 UCLA’s 78-60 loss to No. 1 Connecticut at Pauley Pavilion on Tuesday.

Above, clockwise from top left: UConn head coach Geno Auriemma cheers on his team from the bench; UCLA forward Monique Billings tries to box out UConn’s Azurá Stevens; UCLA guard Jordin Canada pushes the ball up court; UCLA head coach Cori Close talks to Canada. (All photos by Scott Varley/SCNG)

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