College football’s most outspoken quarterback made news again this week. And again, his head coach was asked to talk about it. He just did it a little differently this time.
UCLA’s Josh Rosen has a growing history of wave-making quotes. His latest came this week, when he used Alabama to illustrate the conflict between football and academics:
“Look, football and school don't go together,” Rosen told Bleacher Report. “They just don't. Trying to do both is like trying to do two full-time jobs. There are guys who have no business being in school, but they're here because this is the path to the NFL. There's no other way. Then there's the other side that says raise the SAT eligibility requirements. OK, raise the SAT requirement at Alabama and see what kind of team they have. You lose athletes and then the product on the field suffers.”
In context, Rosen’s comments shouldn’t be controversial. He takes issue with how much the NCAA asks of its players on the field and in the classroom. But some read the Alabama line out of context, and Rosen’s been accused of taking a shot at the Tide. It’s become a full-on thing across the college football world.
Naturally, Rosen’s coach, Jim Mora, was asked about the comment on Tuesday.
Dan Patrick brought it up on his radio show.
"The message to Josh is it's OK to have opinions. And as a 20-year-old you're going to have opinions now that maybe you don't have when you're 22, 23, 30, 50, 60 that are maybe different from when you were 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. But when you express those opinions in a public forum — part of the learning process is saying things that come back to bite you a little bit. That doesn’t mean you can’t have opinions.”
Mora called Rosen an “empathetic young man” and said he looks out for others. But he said Rosen’s words could sometimes be “twisted,” a risk that comes with offering opinions in public forums.
“He’s said some things in the past, but I think he’s matured to the point where everything he says comes from a very, very good place,” Mora said.
When Rosen’s spoken up before, Mora’s sometimes been harder on him.
Last year, Rosen posted shared a picture of himself playing golf at one of Donald Trump’s courses. He was wearing a hat with “FUCK TRUMP” strewn across it.
Mora did not like it. He told Rich Eisen afterward:
I’ve asked him this: I’ve said, ‘Who do you want to be? Do you want to be Johnny Manziel, or do you want to be Tom Brady? And you need to make that decision right now, and you need to start working in the direction that you want to work in. So, if you’re going to go out on Donald Trump’s golf course and wear a hat that says ‘F Trump,’ I said, ‘You’re heading towards Johnny Manziel.’ So, let’s head toward Peyton Manning. Let’s head towards Tom Brady. Let’s head towards Troy Aikman.’
Mora still doesn’t sound thrilled that his quarterback’s in the news for things other than being a quarterback. But his response this time around has been a lot softer.