Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
 
Tag:Jim L. Mora
Posted on: February 2, 2012 12:31 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 3:41 pm
 

National Signing Day Winners and Losers: Pac-12

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Breaking down who won and lost in the Pac-12 on National Signing Day.


WINNERS

Stanford's future backfield. We don't want to say anyone could succeed at quarterback or tailback behind a line featuring Andrus Peat, Kyle Murphy, and John Garnett. Dame Helen Mirren would fail, probably. We wouldn't like Bill Nye, the Science Guy's odds. Most 12-year-olds would struggle.

But when we're talking about an offensive line class David Shaw said "could be one of the best in college football historywithout hyperbole, it's hard to rule anyone out. And when it comes to players like potential 2012 quarterback starter Brett Nottingham or new running back signee Barry J. Sanderswe think the chances of success are so sky-high as to be nearly guaranteed. Jim Harbaugh and Andrew Luck might be gone, but if the results of National Signing Day are any indication, the Cardinal as a program aren't going anywhere.

Players to watch: DT Aziz Shittu, RB Barry J. Sanders, OT Andrus Peat.

The checkbooks of future Pac-12 assistants. The conversions of five-star Shaq Thompson (pictured) and receiver Jordan Payton to Washington from Cal (even if the latter was only temporary) were already evidence enough for the impact of ace recruiter Tosh Lupoi's move from Berkeley to Seattle. The Huskies capping their late surge by stealing away USC commitment Pio Vatuvei and fending off a late challenge from the Trojans for quarterback Cyler Miles was just beating a dead horse, really.

Which is why any coach with bona fide West Coast recruiting connections is likely about to find himself a much hotter commodity than they were before Signing Day began. The Huskies aggressively pursued Topoi, doubled his salary at Cal with their new conference media money, and saw immediate, dramatic dividends. Topoi might have been the first coach to have his wallet fattened overnight by Larry Scott's TV negotiations, but with results like these, he won't be the last.

Washington players to watch: DB Shaq Thompson, ATH Jaydon Mickens, CB Brandon Beaver.

Jim L. MoraTo silence the doubters for good, Mora will have to win on the field as well as the recruiting trail. But there's little doubt that Mora has at least done the latterWith another high-profile Cal exile safely in the fold in Ellis McCarthy, the Bruins spent Signing Day polishing up an already impressive haul with a pair of blue-chip receivers in Payton and Javon Williams--an area of sore need with Nelson Rosario gone.

The Bruin brass appeared to be aiming to hire the next Pete Carroll when they took a chance on Mora, and though there's still a long way to go before the comparison is valid at the collegiate as well as pro level, this class is a heck of a step in that direction.

Players to watch: DT Ellis McCarthyATH Devin FullerDB Ishmael Adams.



LOSERS

Lane Kiffin's pied piper flute. Around mid-afternoon, this was shaping up to be a typical Signing Day for college football's most notorious late-game recruiter; sure, Vatuvei had gon to the Huskies, but Kiffin had also managed to pull both high-upside end Leonard Williams and No. 1 athlete Nelson Agholor (pictured) out of Florida despite each's various Sunshine State suitors. With Miles, Peat, Murphy, and Shittu all considering the Trojans and Murphy's late announcement rumored to be potentially affected by Peat's, another matching set of Signing Day coups appeared within reach.

Instead, the Cardinal swept the big linemen while Miles stuck with the Huskies. Those decisions didn't exactly make the Trojan class a disappointment--far from it, given that it finished 9th in the country while boasting just 16 (uniformly outstanding) recruits. But it does mark the first time that Kiffin wasn't able to simply snap his fingers on Signing Day and come away with a bushel of five-stars; it will be interesting to see if, in 2013, Kiffin doesn't leave things quite so late.

Players to watch: OL Zach Banner, WR Nelson Agholor, OL Jordan Simmons.

Cal. It's not that the Bears' class wasn't solid, maybe even better than solid; Tom Lemming ranked it 15th despite only having 17 signees, and the Bears did an excellent job of filling needs at both offensive line and wide receiver. It's that it was so close to being a game-changing, program-momentum-turning, spectacular class before Lupoi's defection took the air out of the sails. 

Tedford is right that the commitments at the Army All-American game from Thompson, McCarthy, and Payton didn't mean anything on the Bears' bottom line, but it's silly to think they didn't mean the Bears had a clearcut opportunity to sign all three (and others) they couldn't take advantage of. It's debatable, too, when that kind of opportunity will come again for Tedford.

Players to watch: QB Zach Kline, WR Bryce Treggs, OL Freddie Tagoloa  

Oregon State's secondary. Want another example of the impact of position coaches on current Pac-12 recruiting? Look no further than the Beaver defensive backfield, which saw no less than four players decommit after OSU secondary coach Keith Heyward -- like Lupoi -- defected to Washington. (One of them was highly regarded corner Devian Shelton, who did get Kiffined away to USC.) The Beavers recovered to still sign four defensive backs, but when even Mike Riley was admitting there were holes at corner that went unfilled, it's safe to say things didn't go as planned.

Players to watch: OL Isaac Seumalo, TE Caleb Smith, QB Brett VanderVeen  




Maxpreps photos by Gary Jones and Margaret Bowles.
Posted on: January 17, 2012 9:20 pm
 

UCLA hires Redskins' Spanos as D coordinator

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Jim L. Mora has finished filling out his initial coaching staff at UCLA, dipping into the NFL ranks one more time to hire his ninth assistant--and his first defensive coordinator.

That hire is Washington Redskins linebacker coach Lou Spanos, who Mora introduced with a statement Tuesday afternoon. A longtime NFL veteran, Spanos spent one season with the Redskins after 15 as part of a Pittsburgh Steeler defensive staff that oversaw some of the NFL's best units during that span.

"I am thrilled a coach with Lou's NFL background and defensive pedigree has agreed to join our staff. Now that our coaching staff is complete, I'd like to thank [athletic director] Dan Guerrero for his support as we sought to bring the finest coaches in football to UCLA," Mora said. "We have a collection of men that will not only be mentors to our student-athletes, but given their experience at the highest levels of football, will also be able to provide them a blueprint for competing and winning, and reaching their athletic potential."

Spanos has his work cut out for him; he takes over a Bruins defense that finished 89th in total defense this past season and 94th in 2010. He'll also have to climb that hill without any experience as a coordinator at either the pro or collegiate level.

Fortunately for the Bruins, Mora has plenty of that kind of experience; between the two of them, there's no shortage of NFL-tested experience ready on the defensive side of the ball. Thanks to other hires out of the pro ranks like linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich and strength and conditioning coach Sal Aloisi, the Bruin staff (per the announcement) "have over 90 years of experience in NFL as either players or coaches."

How much that experience is worth remains to be seen, since plenty of college staffs have been built around the idea of "NFL experience" before and failed miserably. But on paper, Mora has built the kind of staff that should be able to compete in the Pac-12.

Want more Bruins football? Follow our CBSSports.com UCLA RapidReports, written by Sean Ceglinsky. 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.

Posted on: January 9, 2012 1:19 pm
 

UCLA dismisses three players

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The first inevitable sign that a new regime has taken over at UCLA has arrived: roster turnover.

The Bruins announced Monday that three players have departed the program: redshirt sophomore defensive end Wesley Flowers, freshman tight end Raymond Nelson, and junior defensive back Randall Carroll

“At UCLA, we have a high set of standards that we expect every student-athlete to adhere to. Unfortunately, these three gentlemen choose not to do so,” new Bruin head coach Jim L. Mora said. 

Flowers and Nelson were dismissed from the program for a violation of team rules, while Carroll "failed to meet UCLA’s academic requirements" and is no longer enrolled at the school. 

Where their on-field impact is concerned, Carroll might be the biggest loss; the one-time star recruit (who Rick Neuheisel once lured away from USC to acclaim) still only collected two tackles this season, one fewer than the ostensible corner earned in receptions as a receiver. Flowers struggled to find the field after several injuries, and though Nelson saw action in eight games as a true freshman, he did not record a reception.

The bigger takeaway is that Mora -- like most coaches tasked with overhauling a stagnant program -- is wasting no time making over the Bruins in his preferred image. Mora has already declared an end to the Bruins' "over the wall" tradition and hired a former NFL player of hisSeattle Seahawks special teams coach Jeff Ulbrich, as the Bruins' new linebackers coach and special teams coordinator. The Bruins only narrowly missed on hiring longtime San Diego Chargers assistant John Pagano as their new defensive coordinator; he was promoted to the same position with the Chargers instead.

Mora's choice at offensive coordinator was more conservative (grabbing Noel Mazzone after his dismissal at Arizona State), but nonetheless, Mora has clearly begun putting his stamp on the program. But dismissing a handful of rule-breaking players and hiring position coaches are one thing--salvaging what had looked like another lackluster recruiting class will speak even more loudly, and it looks like Mora's well on his way to accomplishing that, as well. 

It's still early to say anything's truly changed for the better in Westwood -- if Eye on CFB had existed when Neuheisel was hired, you might have been reading this same post four years ago -- but after developments like the dismissals and NFL-centric hiring approach, it's safe to say things have at least changed.

Want more Bruins football? Follow our CBSSports.com UCLA RapidReports, written by Sean Ceglinsky. 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview. Like us? Tell our Facebook page.

Posted on: December 21, 2011 6:57 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 7:00 pm
 

Mora blasts Bruins and "over the wall" tradition

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

College football has many ... unusual traditions that have endured for decades despite being, you know ... unusual, and since that's part of what makes the sport such a vital part of so many communities and the American sporting landscape as a whole, we want to be sensitive to those traditions. That even goes for one as ... unusual as UCLA's annual "over the wall" tradition, in which the senior Bruins skip practice en masse by leaping over the facility's south wall after pre-practice stretching.

New Bruins head coach Jim Mora, however, doesn't have to be sensitive at all. And following the latest edition of "over the wall" at Tuesday's UCLA practice, he most certainly wasn't:
“It’s completely unacceptable ... I can just tell you in no uncertain terms that that tradition will not be a part of tradition going forward. [Athletic director] Dan Guerrero and I have spoken about it and we both agreed that the culture of UCLA football needs to change. That was part of the interview process and so we’re going to do all we can to make sure we change it.”

“I can tell you this, my general feeling is if they feel that they want to skip out on practice and jump over a wall then they might as well just keep going because they’re not a part of what I want to be a part of ...

You know Dan Guerrero gave these kids an opportunity to compete one last time for UCLA and it really bothers me personally knowing Dan how I do that they disrespected that gesture if you will that he presented them in going to this bowl game ... It’s a tradition that these guys have grown up with and it’s just a tradition needs to end. And so I hope they had fun going over the wall or whatever you call it yesterday because it’s the last time they’re going over the wall.” 
To their credit, not every Bruin glad to see another revival of "over the wall." "A lot of the guys unfortunately are OK with it," quarterback Kevin Prince said. "It's in the past and we're just going to forget about it for now and in the future make sure it doesn't happen anymore." 

Mora naturally appreciated that reponse, saying that "the kind of players that are going to fill this roster from now on are guys that would be pissed off about it." But of course, those are apparently not the kinds of players that are on the UCLA roster right now; the seniors leading the charge "over the wall," at least, are the kind of players that would walk out on a critical day of preparation for their final college game and deprive the rest of the roster of a chance to work towards better things in 2012. 

Sorry if that's insensitive; we're not condemning the "over the wall" tradition itself, or at least we're trying not to. But we also don't blame Mora one bit for every ounce of condemnation he's steered the tradition's way or -- it has to be said -- in the direction of the "leadership" of his 6-7 football team.
Posted on: December 10, 2011 3:16 am
Edited on: December 10, 2011 2:14 pm
 

UCLA hires Jim L. Mora as head coach

Posted by Bryan Fischer

After letting go of head coach Rick Neuheisel and attempting to hire several big names, UCLA has finally found a head coach.

Former Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons head coach Jim L. Mora will be the new coach in Westwood, the school announced Saturday morning. The Bruins had attempted to hire Boise State's Chris Petersen, Houston's Kevin Sumlin and Washington's Steve Sarkisian before Mora took the job. This will be the first time the Bruins have hired a head coach who has not been an assistant coach or player at the school since 1949. The LA Times first reported the news Friday night.

"As someone who has been around the game of football my entire life, I have always held the UCLA job in the highest esteem," Mora said in the release. "Given its location and its tradition, UCLA is truly a sleeping giant and I realize that an opportunity of this magnitude doesn't present itself more than once in a career, so I jumped at the chance to be a Bruin."

Mora has been out of coaching since 2009 after being let go by the Seahawks. He has been in the NFL since 1985, including stops in San Diego, New Orleans, San Francisco and Atlanta. In four seasons as a head coach, Mora compiled a 31-33 overall record and reached the NFC championship game in 2004 before losing to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Mora was serving as an analyst for the NFL Network the past two years before being hired by UCLA. Better known as Jim Mora Jr., he lived in Los Angeles when his father, Jim Sr., coached at the school in 1974. The 50-year-old also played defensive back at Washington in the early 1980's.

"UCLA has always been a place of high expectations, as it applies to our students, our faculty, our researchers and, not least of all, our athletic program. With more NCAA championships than any other university, the reality is that our fans count on us to be great. The hiring of Jim L. Mora as head coach of UCLA football proves that this is still a place where champions are made and integrity matters," said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block.

The Bruins went 6-7 on the season under Neuheisel, losing 50-0 to crosstown rival USC and most recently to Oregon in the first ever Pac-12 Championship game last week.

UCLA will play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on December 31 with offensive coordinator Mike Johnson serving as interim head coach.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com