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Sunday, November 19, 2017

College Football

Florida players tweet same reaction amid Chip Kelly report

Chip Kelly 49ers

Multiple current Florida Gators tweeted the same exact emoji on Sunday night at just about the exact same time, leading to a bunch of speculation and questions. What were they tweeting about?

First, here are five Florida players tweeting the emoji with a finger to the chin:

Here’s a Florida recruit, WR Anthony Schwartz directly referencing the Chip Kelly report:

All the chatter around Gainesville is that the Gators are zeroing in on Chip Kelly. In fact, the son of a man on Florida’s search committee sent the following tweet Sunday:

Another reporter came through with a similar report:

Whether the players were told something or were just reacting to a report is unclear, but there’s a lot of buzz surrounding Kelly going to Florida.

Report: Florida increasing efforts to hire Chip Kelly

Chip Kelly 49ers

Florida may be feeling some additional pressure to hire a new coach now that UCLA has also fired Jim Mora and is in the market. Reports on Sunday are saying the school has intensified efforts to hire Chip Kelly.

Football Scoop reported that Florida is “advancing discussions” with Kelly.

The Buddy Martin Show reportedly that Florida’s top officials flew to New Hampshire to meet with Kelly and offer him a contract.

Dating back to last week, we have said that Florida was interested in Kelly and planning to vet him as a candidate for their job. Rumors have also tied Kelly to UCLA over the past year. As soon as the Bruins fired Mora, Florida gained competition for Kelly and had to act.

The other coach Florida reportedly was strongly considering was UCF coach Scott Frost. However, there is competition from Nebraska for Frost, who used to play quarterback for the Huskers.

UCLA players praise Jim Mora on Twitter following firing

Jim Mora UCLA

Jim Mora may have been fired by UCLA on Sunday, but he did not leave a bad impression among many of his current and former players.

Upon hearing news of his firing, several UCLA football players tweeted their praise of the former coach. Below is a roundup of all the things current and former Bruins said about Mora.

UCLA safety Jaleel Wadood, who says Mora “made it cool” to come to UCLA.

Current defensive end Jaelan Phillips:


Report: Josh Rosen especially upset over Jim Mora firing

Josh Rosen

Jim Mora was fired by UCLA, the school announced on Sunday. However, a report says the move actually took place on Saturday night after the Bruins lost to rival USC 28-23.

Bruin Report Online’s Tracy Pierson reports that Mora was called into the JD Morgan Center on campus in Westwood after the USC loss and was asked to step down. When he declined to do so, he was fired.

Mora reportedly met with his players on Sunday, informed them he was fired and that he loved them. Pierson says the team’s players were very upset, especially Josh Rosen.

Rosen grew up in Manhattan Beach, which is where Mora’s family lives. The two have known each other for years and have developed a very close relationship, with Mora defending his QB at every turn.

Mora has long been known as a players’ coach, so it’s no surprise that his team would have taken the news hard. One has to wonder though how this development will impact Rosen’s future. Rosen is a junior and viewed as a potential No. 1 overall pick. He has previously expressed his desire to receive a high education in preparation for a career after football, which would point toward him remaining in school. But the potential to be the No. 1 pick plus the reality that he would be dealing with a new head coach could push him towards an early NFL future.

Beyond the firing meaning UCLA will have a new coach, the other matter to watch is what happens with Rosen.

Chip Kelly mentioned as potential next UCLA head coach

Chip Kelly 49ers

UCLA made a surprising announcement on Sunday that Jim Mora has been fired as the school’s head football coach. With the team one win away from bowl eligibility and coming off a close defeat to rival USC, it seemed like an odd time to fire the head coach.

So why is UCLA making the move? They obviously want to go in a different direction, and they want to make sure they’re in the mix for the top head coaching candidates before its too late. One such candidate could be Chip Kelly.

Over the past year, Kelly has been mentioned as a possibility for UCLA. He has been out of coaching since being fired by the 49ers after one season. He took a year off, but is he ready to return? Some are figuring UCLA could land the former Oregon head coach.

Although he left the Eagles in disarray somewhat, Kelly won 10 games there in his first two seasons. He took Oregon to new heights, including the national championship game. There is very little doubt about his ability to succeed at the college level.

Kelly would excite any fan base, not to mention recruiting base. We know Florida was vetting Kelly as a head coach. Now there’s sure to be competition for his services.

As a UCLA fan, this is pretty much the only coach I would fire Mora for. Maybe the Bruins know something.

Jim Mora fired by UCLA

Jim Mora UCLA

UCLA lost to in-state rival USC on Saturday night, and it turns out that was the last game Jim Mora coached with the Bruins.

On Sunday, UCLA announced that Mora has been fired.

“Making a coaching change is never easy, but it’s an especially difficult decision when you know that a coach has given his all to our University,” UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said in a statement. “Jim helped reestablish our football program, and was instrumental in so many ways in moving the program forward. While his first four seasons at UCLA were very successful, the past two seasons have not met expectations. We thank Jim and his family for his service to our school and his unquestionable commitment to our student-athletes.”

Mora was hired by UCLA in 2012 and enjoyed a run of moderate success during his first few years, transforming a mediocre program into a contender. However, the Bruins finished with a 4-8 record in 2016, and they fell to 5-6 this season with their loss to USC.

It will cost UCLA somewhere in the neighborhood of $12 million to buy out Mora’s contract, so it’s possible they already have their sights set on another candidate. It won’t be long before Chip Kelly’s name starts getting tossed around.

Willie Taggart addresses rumors of unhappiness at Oregon

Willie Taggart

If Willie Taggart wants out of Oregon, he isn’t saying it publicly.

After an ESPN report intimated that Taggart was looking for an exit from the school after just a year in charge, the coach himself shot those reports down following a 48-28 win over the Arizona Wildcats.

Taggart has been linked to the vacant Florida job, but he has downplayed those links as well. Despite the reports and rumors that have been flying, the former South Florida coach appears intent on sticking with the Ducks and building for the future there, at least for now.

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