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Posts Tagged ‘Jim Mora’

Pick 10, F.B.S. Notebook: Week 2 (Sept. 8)

Let’s not beat around the bush: this isn’t a great week. I mean, it’s great – better than what we’re used to, better than any non-football weekend – but it’s not great, all things considered. There’s no Michigan and Alabama to end the night; there’s no prime-time game on ABC at all, in fact. Instead, we’ll close our night with Nebraska and U.C.L.A., Georgia and Missouri and, later on, Arizona and Oklahoma State. Very, very intriguing games. But with perhaps the exception of Georgia, depending on how highly you think of the Bulldogs, these games don’t carry any title implications. That doesn’t make the games any less interesting – or change the fact that every game, especially while teams find their footing, carries some level of importance. Let’s run down the entire weekend’s action.

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    No. 58: U.C.L.A.

    It’s the first two weeks of any a coach’s tenure, and it’s the most important two weeks of his tenure: hiring time. It’s absolutely vital. It trumps every single endeavor from that point forward, because every move he makes from those weeks on is directly impacted by the hires he makes over the first 14 days, give or take. How were Jim Mora’s first two weeks? Mora hit it out of the park: His new staff, hired in the weeks after he was named as Rick Neuheisel’s successor on Dec. 10, is so good that it overwrites the most looming concern surrounding his arrival — that Mora, after decades in the N.F.L., knew nothing about the college game. Well, Mora knew enough to hire the right man at nearly every spot on his new staff, and that’s all that counts — for now, at least. And while U.C.L.A. is knee-deep in a painful learning curve, one that will continue in August and through much of this season, Mora brought on the sort of staff that will help him bridge the gap between N.F.L. lifer and F.B.S. neophyte.

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      The Year in Review: U.C.L.A. (6-8, 5-4)

      Urban Meyer aced his hires, as most expected, and Kevin Sumlin brought no slouches to Texas A&M, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Paul Chryst brought the band with him to Pittsburgh, which should help the Panthers land the degree of consistency they craved after Todd Graham’s one-and-done year with the program. Rich Rodriguez brought some quality names with him to Arizona; it’s not surprising that his offensive staff is loaded, but reeling in Jeff Casteel was his biggest hiring coup. If you’re looking for the best new staff in college football, however, the conversation begins and ends in Westwood.

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        Revisiting Two Painful Stories on Jim Mora

        Posts go up, they get read — most of the time, at least — and they fall behind newer stories, often never to be read or considered again. Embarrassingly, I even wrote the same story twice, in a way. On Oct. 26, I wrote about the quarterbacking succession plans in place at Houston, Boise State, Auburn and elsewhere. On Dec. 30, I tackled the same topic, albeit with a slightly different tack: Boise State and Houston were again discussed, in addition to Southern Mississippi and San Diego State. In short, stories often float out of view in the weeks and months after they’re published. On the other hand, some stories stick around, and are considered and reconsidered even weeks and months after they’ve been published.

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          Oregon-U.S.C. at the Coliseum and More

          It’s completely apropos of the Pac-12 to lead its release of the 2012 conference schedule with a picture of fireworks exploding high above Autzen Stadium: Oregon is explosive, for starters, but the Ducks also factor into next season’s most highly-anticipated regular season game west of the SEC. In other words, get your popcorn — and blasting caps — ready. It’ll be Ducks and Trojans at the Coliseum on Nov. 3, the same day as Alabama’s trip to L.S.U., which makes for an interesting Saturday. And it’s only 303 days away!

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            There Is Only One Pete Carroll, U.C.L.A.

            U.C.L.A. just saw the second part of the “Matrix” trilogy, loves Linkin Park’s new album and can’t believe they cancelled “Dawson’s Creek.” The Bruins are living in the past, and not the recent past: U.C.L.A.’s mindset is trapped in 2003, when everyone — not just the Bruins — was looking for the next Pete Carroll, an N.F.L. coach with a golden touch for the college game. Unfortunately, it’s no longer 2003. It’s no longer than 2005, 2007 or 2009. It’s 2011, and in hiring Jim Mora as Rick Neuheisel’s placement, U.C.L.A.’s football program shows how far behind the curve it really is.

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              Guerrero-Led U.C.L.A. Is Taking on Water

              It’s been 12 days since the news first broke, a week since it was official, and U.C.L.A. is still lost at sea. While the rest of the Pac-12 — outside of Arizona State — is moving and shaking, the Bruins are treading water. Of course, anyone familiar with athletic director Dan Guerrero should have expected nothing else: Guerrero, since arriving in 2002, has been responsible for firing Bob Toledo, hiring Karl Dorrell, firing Dorrell, hiring Rick Neuheisel and then, a week ago, firing Neuheisel. This is par for the course. As is the parade of names, some noteworthy for good reasons, most noteworthy for not, and U.C.L.A. is getting nervous. The fan base is running out of fingernails.

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                The Countdown

                A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.