Why didn’t Jim Mora want to shake Bill Snyder’s hand?

SAN ANTONIO — Brace yourself for a flurry of embeds, because this is a story that could not be a story without the existence of social media.

After UCLA’s 40-35 win over Kansas State in Friday’s Alamo Bowl, Jim Mora walked toward Wildcat coach Bill Snyder and reached out for a customary postgame handshake. But almost as soon as their hands touched, Mora turned away and shook his loose.

Here it is:

Yeah, that’s not a good look for Mora. At this point, you could probably talk yourself into arguing that Mora didn’t mean to snub Snyder — that perhaps he was called away to the trophy podium or something like that. But that was a fairly forceful shake, and it didn’t take long for the footage to spread and outrage K-State fans. Mora didn’t do himself any favors with the way he handled questions about the exchange afterward. Continue reading

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UCLA 40, Kansas State 35: Jim Mora, Bruins talk after Alamo Bowl

UCLA head coach Jim Mora and the Bruins spoke to the media following a 40-35 win over Kansas State in the Alamo Bowl, one that clinched a second straight 10-win season. During the press conference, Mora grew testy when asked about the team’s inability to close out games — as well as when asked about what appeared to be a handshake snub with K-State coach Bill Snyder.

Also on the podium were quarterback Brett Hundley, linebacker Eric Kendricks, linebacker Myles Jack, defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa, and running back Paul Perkins.

Kendricks and Perkins were named Alamo Bowl MVPs on their respective sides of the ball.

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What to watch in Alamo Bowl: No. 14 UCLA vs. No. 11 Kansas State

This is it. The final game of UCLA’s season has arrived, with the Bruins set to close their third campaign under Jim Mora by hitting 10 wins for the second straight year. The Alamo Bowl matchup against Kansas State will pit Mora against Bill Snyder, who has led a very different career arc, and also be a goodbye tour for quarterback Brett Hundley, and seniors such as linebacker Eric Kendricks and defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa.

A few things to watch for in today’s 3:45 p.m. PT kickoff at the Alamodome:

Can UCLA limit Jake Waters as a running threat? It’s no secret that the Bruin defense has been stretched a bit this season when faced with dual-threat quarterbacks, but the team will probably be better prepared given the month-long layoff since it last played.

Waters is a bit of a different runner than most Pac-12 runners. He’s not as physically imposing at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, and he readily admitted that this week. But he runs tough and deliberate, though those scampers are usually more built into K-State’s offensive playcalling rather than pure, freelance scrambling.

The Wildcats are undefeated this season when Waters runs for at least one score, although he’s found the end zone with his legs just once in his last six games. UCLA’s defense will need to be careful not to overpursue to keep that number down.

Will any K-State skill players not named Tyler Lockett stand out? The 5-foot-11 wideout is the Wildcats’ all-time leading receiver and arguably its best pro prospect, but even big games by the All-American don’t necessarily guarantee wins for his team. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Jim Mora, Bill Snyder preview Alamo Bowl

UCLA coach Jim Mora and Kansas State coach Bill Snyder talk to reporters before the Alamo Bowl, fielding questions on their respective (non-)interest in the San Francisco 49ers job opening and potential retirement date.

» A look back at the ups and downs of Brett Hundley’s UCLA career.
» The upcoming quarterback competition this spring boils down to either incoming freshman Josh Rosen or current backup Jerry Neuheisel — and smart money’s on the former.

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UCLA center Jake Brendel will return for senior season

UCLA center Jake Brendel has requested an NFL draft evaluation, but said Wednesday that he will definitely return to play his senior season.

Although the news isn’t surprising, the return of offensive line’s most veteran member stabilizes the unit just as the team prepares to introduce a new starting quarterback — a race that Brendel expects to come down to either current backup Jerry Neuheisel or incoming five-star freshman Josh Rosen.

If the Bruins keep the same starting offensive line heading into next season, they will have a senior, a redshirt junior, and three true juniors up front.

“We can take this offseason and really just hone in on our skills and work on just our simple techniques and work on just a lot of the simple things,” Brendel said. “Just break everything down, and really just progress as a unit. It’s always nice to have five selected guys that are going to be starting, and then once the new class comes in, we can just see who fits in where.”

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How UCLA’s Owamagbe Odighizuwa studies other athletes

If you missed it yesterday, here’s a link to the story on UCLA defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa, who may be the program’s first-ever philosophy major. One tidbit that didn’t make it was how the senior studies other athletes.

Instead of just looking at players who play his position, he likes to examine everyone from tight ends to tackles to quarterbacks — focusing on some of the intangible aspects of how they carry themselves and prepare for games.

“I think schematically, some of those players that are in the NFL don’t do what we’re doing at UCLA,” he said. “Guys like J.J. Watt aren’t really doing what I’m doing. Schematically, they’re two different things. But I like the attitude he brings to the game, his approach and dedication. I like guys like Rob Gronkowski. He likes to have a good time off the field, but when the lights come on, he handles his business. And then you compare it to a guy like Tom Brady, who has a family life. He’s married with kids.

“I like to just get a feel for that. Continue reading

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Kansas St. defensive coordinator Tom Hayes recalls UCLA stint

On a Kansas State staff which has four coaches combining for 89 seasons on campus, Tom Hayes is a relative newcomer. The defensive coordinator is finishing up just his fourth year as a Wildcat.

But it’s not as if the 31-year coaching veteran lacks experience. His winding career includes a nearly decade-long stop at UCLA, back before anyone playing in this year’s Alamo Bowl was born.

“It was different in many ways,” Hayes said. “One thing is I had a lot more hair and it was dark.” Continue reading

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