Nick Saban-Type Reaction To Players Jumping ‘Over The Wall’ Is Just What Bruins Football Needs
It was a suspicious hire at first, UCLA seeming to try and replicate USC’s success with Pete Carroll by getting turned down by every “name” coach while finally giving into a former NFL guy who was frantically waving his hands as if to say, “hey, over here! Over here!”
It worked for USC because Carroll turned out to be a dynamic recruiter, terrific with college kids and a hard-core competitor.
At UCLA, the hire was Jim Mora, Jr., even less of an accomplished NFL coach than was Carroll. Heads were shaking in Westwood.
But, like Mike Garrett across town, Athletic Director Dan Guerrero may have caught lightening in a bottle.
Mora has yet to even coach a practice, has not even formally taken over the team, and has already laid into current members of the Bruins.
When seniors continued a bizarre tradition of “going over the wall,” which basically means jumping over a wall after stretching to skip out on practice as a group, before the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, Mora nearly blew a gasket. It’s a sign that the laid-back tradition of UCLA, the one in which the Bruins are mentally soft and play up to good opponents and down to bad ones, may be sinking into the past like sunsets in the nearby Pacific Ocean.
“It’s completely unacceptable,” Mora said. “It’s a privilege, not a right, to play football for the UCLA Bruins. With the commitment you make when you sign on here comes a commitment to do what is asked of you.
“I can tell you in no uncertain terms that that tradition will not be part of tradition going forward. My general feeling is that if they want to skip out on practice and jump over a wall, then they might as well keep going because they are not a part of what I want to be a part of.”
And that was just his stretching exercise. Check out the full contact reaction.
“I’ve never heard of anything like it in college football and I don’t ever want to hear about it again here,” he said. “I’ve never been around anything like that and nor will I ever be around anything like that.
“I hope they had fun going over the wall [Tuesday] because it is the last time it is going happen. It might happen again but you won’t see those guys on the field the next day.”
As the extra point to his touchdown of words, he added, “Dan Guerrero gave these kids an opportunity to compete one last time for UCLA. It really bothers me that they disrespected that gesture.”
This is exactly the toughness UCLA needs, a Nick Saban-type of sternness that has been lacking for decades. This is what he discussed with Guerrero in his interview.
“We both agree that the culture of UCLA football needs to change,” Mora said. “We’re going to do all we can to change it.”
Maybe he will change it. Change is definitely needed at UCLA. Perhaps Guerrero is indeed onto something with this hire.