UCLA coach Jim Mora says mean stuff to people. It's one of his things, second only to saying dumb stuff.
Lots of football coaches have said mean things. Some of those coaches have been very good. Others have been very bad. But because he's 4-1 right now amid reports of him dressing down a co-worker while freezing out local media, the columnist angle on his behavior is pretty much WOOOO OUR COACH IS A DICK SO THAT MEANS WE'RE ALMOST ALABAMA NOW:
And you have to admire the way Mora sent the traditional "it's us against them" football message to his team.
According to witnesses, it was like someone shredding a tackling dummy, or tossing fresh meat to a pack of animals.
He berated an unassuming sports information assistant in front of the whole team for allowing a TV cameraman to stand in the wrong place.
In doing so, he gave the sports information assistant an earful of some very impressive obscenities, which of course the young players would expect from their demanding leader.
Then Mora forced the guy to make the walk of humiliation off the practice field.
Settin' a tone! Sendin' a message! Winning is winny winner business for winners!
But this appears to be just another thing he does* wherever he ends up, and none of those stops has yet to yield any serious winning, no matter how many mean or dumb things he says. (But at least this episode is being really well-received nationally! Super well.)
* Like, all of it crossed over. It remains to be seen whether his hot starts and cold finishes will translate as well, but that's been my suspicion all along.
Mora's indeed done a great job of lighting a fire at UCLA. He's recruited his ass off, assembled a very good staff and has the Bruins trending upward for the first time in forever. Since his days in the NFL, he's wanted to be a Pac-12 coach, and he's got the skills and the demeanor to do it. Within a couple years, maybe we will look back on his hire as similar to Lane Kiffin's or even Pete Carroll's.
But we think berating a school employee in front of dozens of players counts as any sort of evidence that UCLA can sustain its early-season success? Nobody praises Steve Spurrier, Mark Dantonio or Nick Saban, three of the most successful coaches in the sport, for this message-micromanagement stuff. All we do is laugh at it. So let us laugh even more heartily at Jim Mora, who is not one of the most successful coaches in the sport.
For decades, UCLA football has had to measure itself against USC. Now all we talk about when we talk Los Angeles college football is how much distance Mora's putting on Kiffin in the Brat Power Rankings, which do not count towards the BCS standings.
Check the national college football scoreboard right here, and look through SB Nation's many excellent college football blogs to find your team's community.
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