Jim Mora talks about UCLA’s early bowl prep

Jim Mora said Saturday that UCLA has yet to start preparing for Virginia Tech, but will move into a “game week” earlier than it did last season for the Holiday Bowl. The Bruins lost 49-26 to Baylor.

“I think last year we maybe spent too much time with the young guys and not enough time on Baylor,” Mora said.

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UCLA hires former USC assistant Kennedy Polamalu

In a move that strengthens UCLA’s place atop Los Angeles, the Bruins are set to hire former USC assistant Kennedy Polamalu. Bruin Report Online first reported the news.

Polamalu replaces former UCLA running backs coach Steve Broussard, who was fired on Monday. The Bruins had landed just one running back recruit — four-star prospect Craig Lee — through their first two signing classes of the Jim Mora era.

Formerly known as Kennedy Pola, the 50-year-old is well known for his recruiting acumen. A Trojans’ fullback from 1982-1985, Polamalu became the school’s running backs/special teams coach in 2000. Over the next four seasons, he coached running backs Justin Vargas and Hershel Dennis, as well as All-American punter Tom Malone.

He also coached Reggie Bush and LenDale White when the pair combined for 1,604 yards and 21 touchdowns from scrimmage as freshmen. Continue reading

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UCLA’s Jim Mora agrees to six-year extension

Jim Mora has agreed to a six-year extension with UCLA, the school announced today, ending nearly two days of speculation that he would bolt for Washington.

CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman first reported that Mora would stay.

Steve Sarkisian’s departure for USC had left the Huskies’ top spot open, giving Mora a chance to return to his alma mater and take what he had once called his “dream job.”

Practicality overwhelmed sentiment, however, and the 52-year-old opted to stay with the program he has touted as a budding national contender. The extension will keep him through the 2019 season. Continue reading

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Hundley ‘not concerned’ about potential Jim Mora departure

Echoing earlier comments from his teammates, UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley said today that he isn’t worried about coach Jim Mora potentially going to Washington.

“I’m not concerned at all, to be honest,” he told sports radio host Jim Rome. “I haven’t really heard too much. Obviously, there’s so much talk about it right now. But I’m not concerned about it at all. I know Coach Mora. I love him to death. Obviously, he loves UCLA. He loves the players. We love him. We’re not really worried or anything like that about him leaving.”

Of course, it would have been surprising if Hundley or other Bruins had said otherwise, but they at least backed up the tone Mora set with his post-USC press conference. Earlier reports that Mora was in Seattle were unfounded. Continue reading

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Could Jim Mora leave UCLA for Washington?

USC’s hire of Steve Sarkisian has already opened up speculation that Washington is gunning for UCLA’s Jim Mora. I broke down all the reasons he has to stay in Los Angeles in the Daily News, but for simplicity’s sake, I’ll list both sides now.

The case for UW: Alma mater, better facilities (including a new, on-campus stadium).
The case for UCLA: Two-year foundation already built, natural recruiting advantages, family settling in (son at Claremont McKenna, father in Palm Springs), weather, not having to coach against Myles Jack.

As for the murmurs placing him in Seattle today, well … one Jim Mora definitely was.

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Notes and quotes: UCLA claims L.A. with 35-14 win

A roundup of the coverage in Sunday’s edition of the L.A. Daily News:
– UCLA’s 35-14 win over the Trojans gave the team rightful claim to the city, at least for another year.
– Brett Hundley had his way with USC’s defense. Will he come back to do so again?
– The Bruins’ defense held the Trojans to 314 yards, the lowest output of any UCLA opponent this season.
– The loss takes pressure off USC athletic director Pat Haden to hire interim coach Ed Orgeron.
– Columnist Tom Hoffarth shares the story of his old USC jacket, a gift long lost.

Some thoughts from the victory:

– Might as well start with some quick “we run L.A.” quotes …

– Jim Mora is clearly moving UCLA along the right path. Continue reading

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At a glance: No. 22 UCLA at No. 23 USC

No. 22 UCLA (8-3, 5-3) at No. 23 USC (9-3, 6-2)
Coliseum, Nov. 30, 5 p.m.
TV: ABC (Sean McDonough, Chris Spielman, Shannon Spake)
Radio: AM 570 (Chris Roberts, Matt Stevens, Wayne Cook)
Prediction below

Last meeting: UCLA beat USC, 38-28, just the Bruins’ second rivalry win in 14 years. Anthony Barr ends Matt Barkley’s college career.

Key storylines: With conference implications out of the picture, USC and UCLA will be playing almost purely for pride. For coaches on both sides, however, the game will reshape the narrative of their respective seasons. Continue reading

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