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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UCLA assistant Scott White named Pac-12 Recruiter of the Year

UCLA’s Scott White was named Scout.com’s Pac-12 Recruiter of the Year today, joining two other Bruin assistant coaches who have earned that same honor.

Landing five-star recruit Mique Juarez helped push the linebacker coach and special teams coordinator ahead of competitors such as USC’s Tee Martin, Stanford’s Mike Bloomgren, and Washington’s Jimmy Lake — each of whom were honorable mentions. Juarez was the last of four highly touted linebackers to sign with UCLA, with the team having already announced the arrivals of four-star prospects Breland Brandt, Krys Barnes and Lokeni Toailoa.

White first served as a UCLA graduate assistant in 2011 under Rick Neuheisel, and remained on the staff in various capacities after the Bruins hired Jim Mora as they entered the 2012 season. Mora promoted him from defensive quality control to linebackers coach last February.

“We’ve been able to provide some stability here with the staff,” Mora said Wednesday, when speaking generally about his assistants. “When you promote from within, I think that helps you create that feeling of stability. … Quality promotions from within really help us.”

New UCLA quarterbacks coach Marques Tuiasosopo was named the conference’s top recruiter a year ago, when he was at USC, while offensive line coach Adrian Klemm earned the nod in 2013.

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Cathedral defensive end Hunter Echols commits to UCLA

A day after UCLA announced its latest recruiting class, the Bruins added one more prospect to its 2017 haul.

Los Angeles Cathedral defensive lineman Hunter Echols announced his commitment to UCLA on Thursday morning, but added that he will still be taking his visits to other colleges. Scout gives the 6-foot-4, 220-pound recruit a four-star ranking, and considers him the second-best defensive end in California.

The Bruins also have verbal commitments from defensive back Rhedi Short and linebackers Jaquan Henderson and Rahyme Johnson.

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