Jim Mora Jr. held his introductory press conference at UCLA today. It was his first day on the job, and he seemed anxious to get the ball rolling. The Q&A lasted fewer than 15 minutes, with a brief introductory statement and then a few questions from the crowd. Most of the concerned hinged on trying to figure out exactly what kind of coach the UCLA Bruins had just brought in.
Mora began by stating his objective:
"objective is simple. To make Bruin fans proud of their football team"
In what may have been a jab at his predecessor Rick Neuheisel and his campaign declaring the football monopoly in Los Angeles over, he said, "I don't want to stand up here today and make any bold predictions or make outlandish statements." He also conceded the fact that:
"it's been a tough decade for UCLA football."
UCLA hasn't been awful over the last decade, going 56-57 with their last two coaches. However, that isn't meeting expectations in Los Angeles. Even in the 2005 10-2 season, they lost to USC and we're passed over for the Pac 10's #2 bowl bid, with the Holiday Bowl choosing Oregon and UCLA having to settle for the Sun Bowl. UCLA has only beaten USC once since the turn of the century.
Still, Mora was high on UCLA football's prospects:
"I say it's a sleeping giant in college football....I've always felt this was a program that you could build into a special place."
Of course, the first step in building a program is recruiting, and Mora was so excited about it he said he planned to start today. He admitted that "[recruiting] might be what he is most looking forward to the most." He was thrilled with the prospect of touching a young man's life, getting to have that impact.
For more on Jim Mora, the Bruins, and why Powder Blue is the best shade of blue, visit Bruins Nation.