Rick Neuheisel suggests UCLA a good fit for Big 12 expansion

Former UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel wasn't happy with Jim Mora calling his old Bruin teams "soft." (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Former UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said UCLA should be interested in the Big 12. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Former UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel said in an interview on Sirius XM College Sports Nation that UCLA might be a good fit for the Big 12, which is looking to expand.

“Just as Texas A&M wanted to branch away from Texas, I wouldn’t be surprised to see UCLA say, ‘You know what? We don’t want to deal with this USC thing. We’re going to be our own guy,'” the former coach said Wednesday. “It wouldn’t shock me at all.” Continue reading

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Rick Neuheisel lashes out at Jim Mora’s criticism of his UCLA teams

Former UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel wasn't happy with Jim Mora calling his old Bruin teams "soft." (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Former UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel wasn’t happy with Jim Mora calling his old Bruin teams “soft.” (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

On Tuesday, Jim Mora decided to explain the genesis of how he turned around the UCLA football program.

Appearing on The Herd with Colin Cowherd on FOX Sports 1, the Bruins’ current head coach described his first interview with athletic director Dan Guerrero back in December 2011.

“I’m thinking, ‘What do I say here?'” Mora said. “Do I tell him the truth or something like it’s a great school and we can be great? I said, ‘I think you’re soft. I think the football team is soft.’ Dan said, ‘That’s what I think, and we need to toughen it up.'”

This is not an entirely new story. Both Mora, who just completed his fourth season with the Bruins, and several players have told some version of it in the past — usually by describing the program’s culture in broader strokes rather than recalling a specific exchange. This iteration, however, was enough to set off former UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel.

On Wednesday, the 55-year-old lashed out at Mora during his own radio show on SiriusXM.

“All he did was go and paint the walls black and wear black on the sideline, and thinks that that’s tough,” Neuheisel said. “I’ve been in the locker room. There’s all sorts of stuff about Sun Tzu, and The Art of War, and pain and all that kind of stuff. He takes the team to Navy SEAL training. Congratulations. I’m glad you had the money to do it. But don’t talk about toughness with my football team. I’ll go to war with anyone.” Continue reading

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Rick Neuheisel: UCLA football held back by lack of nutrition facility

Jim Thompson / SportsBronze.com

Jim Thompson / SportsBronze.com

After UCLA’s season-ending loss to Nebraska on Saturday in the Foster Farms Bowl, Jim Mora stressed the Bruins’ need to self-reflect — to analyze everything from its practice structure to strength and conditioning.

“You just tear it apart,” he said.

The fourth-year head coach particularly harped on UCLA’s need to get bigger and stronger, so as to not get “pushed around” by power teams such as the Huskers and Stanford. His predecessor doesn’t think that will come easy.

On SiriusXM College Sports Nation today, former Bruin coach Rick Neuheisel said that the fact that the program still doesn’t have a dedicated nutrition facility will hamper its efforts to maintain size throughout the course of the season.

“UCLA is built now to handle spread offenses,” Neuheisel said. “They are three-down front, they are going to accordion out and play the Oregons and Arizona States and Arizonas. But the size issues are still going to be there for UCLA. And it gets back to the one thing that was widely out of whack for my program there as compared to the program across town, USC, which is the nutrition.”

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Rick Neuheisel: UCLA quarterback competition is still close

Jerry Neuheisel is the only UCLA quarterback with significant game experience, but few consider him the favorite to win the starting spot. (Andy Holzman/Staff)

Jerry Neuheisel is the only UCLA quarterback with significant game experience, but few consider him the favorite to win the starting spot. (Andy Holzman/Staff)

When UCLA starts training camp next Monday, finding a starting quarterback will be the biggest question facing the Bruins — and one that Jim Mora wants answered “sooner rather than later.”

And while most observers expect true freshman Josh Rosen to win the job, the head coach has given no public indication as to which way his leaning. This week, Mora’s predecessor offered his two cents.

On Tuesday, former UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel talked about the quarterback race on SiriusXM College Sports Nation, offering his thoughts on Rosen as well as a defense of his son, returning backup Jerry Neuheisel.

The elder Neuheisel admitted that Rosen looked good in spring ball, calling him a “bonus baby” that comes in with a strong arm and plenty of hype — although without the running ability of former UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley.

“The question is, do you want him to go in right away and have those — the learning curve that always goes with your first couple of starts?” Neuheisel said. “And just weather that, and become the guy that everybody thinks he’s going to be? Continue reading

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Scott White makes ‘seamless’ move to UCLA linebackers coach

Scott White has only officially been UCLA’s linebackers coach and special teams coordinator for a little over a month, but his time in Westwood predates even Jim Mora.

White is entering his fifth season on the Bruins’ staff, and most recently served as a defensive quality control coach. He had been taking a visible role coaching linebackers, and was a natural candidate for a promotion after Mike Tuiasosopo was let go after just one season.

“It’s been seamless,” Mora said of the transition. “He’s doing a heck of a job on special teams. He’s got great energy and passion and the players really respond to him. He’s an excellent communicator. You guys don’t see it in the meeting room, but when he stands up in front of the team … he just has really great command. Guys tune in to him.

“The most important thing when you stand in front of a room with players is that you have credibility. You can lose it fast. Scotty has credibility with our players.” Continue reading

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