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Friday, August 18, 2017

Jim Mora had ‘productive conversation’ with Josh Rosen

Jim Mora UCLA

Jim Mora spent part of his day on Tuesday speaking with Josh Rosen after the star quarterback’s comments about football and academics made headlines.

Mora, who is entering his sixth season as UCLA’s head coach, joined “The Dan Patrick Show” on Wednesday and spent much of the time discussing Rosen’s comments. At first he tried to deflect things before acknowledging he had a “very productive conversation” with the junior QB.

“We’re right in the middle of camp, pretty focused, our days are pretty full,” Mora told Patrick. “It’s pretty much all about ball. I did have a conversation with one particular player — a very, very productive conversation. We’re moving forward and we’re getting ready for the season.”

Mora then attempted to explain where Rosen was coming from when he discussed how football and school are incompatible.

“I think it’s important to know this about Josh Rosen: He’s very, very, very well respected by his coaches and his teammates because we see on a daily basis his commitment, his work ethic, his attitude, his passion for football. We also know he’s an incredibly intelligent young man that does have opinions. Oftentimes, those opinions are conveyed to others because he is trying to bring attention to some that are less fortunate or have less than he does, and at times he feels are being taken advantage of,” Mora told Patrick.

“The message to Josh is: It’s OK to have opinions. And as a 20-year-old you’re going to have opinions now that maybe you don’t have when you’re 22, 23, 30, 50, 60 that are maybe different from when you were 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. But when you express those opinions, you create perceptions, you create controversy, and you have to be willing to live with the consequences.”

Mora was asked about Rosen saying playing major college football and trying to keep up with a rigorous academic load is like having two full-time jobs. The QB also said that schools are more interested in just keeping their players eligible rather than actually seeing them do what’s best.

“Do I know for a fact whether or not his opinions are valid? No. I do know this: Forbes did an article comparing academic and athletic excellence, and UCLA ranked second behind Stanford,” Mora said. “We spend millions of dollars on academic support. We’re not just trying to keep them eligible; we’re trying to graduate them. Our graduation success rate is the second-highest in the Pac-12 to Stanford. So I’m very comfortable with all of our sports programs.”

Mora acknowledged that being a college student is “incredibly demanding,” so he recognizes it is not easy to do both. His message to his QB was: be careful about what you say.

“My job as an educator — as a coach at UCLA — is to help these young men understand how to move through life in a positive, respectful way, where the reflections people have of them are going to be positive.

“There’s a thing called freedom of speech in the United States of America. Part of the learning process is sometimes saying things that come back to bite you a little bit. That doesn’t mean you can’t have opinions and that doesn’t mean that you can’t work behind the scenes to try and make things better for everyone. The things that we say … we have to own. So we have to be careful what we say. That doesn’t mean we can’t have opinion. And if we have an opinion, let’s try to also offer solution.”

Mora described Rosen as empathetic and painted Rosen as someone who says things in a way to try and stand up for less fortunate players.

It was only two weeks ago that Mora expressed delight over Rosen keeping a lower profile. So you know that he’s not exactly thrilled Rosen was all over the national conversation this week.

You can listen to the entire interview below:

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