Jim Mora Wants to End Dumb UCLA ‘Over the Wall’ Practice Ditching Tradition

Perhaps nothing reflects UCLA’s football program more accurately than the annual “Over the Wall” tradition. Each year, players go “over the wall” to ditch practice. It’s something I never understood, and something I’ve railed against in the past. What does it say about your program when a tradition is to ditch practice?

New head coach Jim Mora was unfamiliar with the annual escape, and he was not happy when it happened Tuesday.

“It’s completely unacceptable and will not be part of the program going forward,” 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 there comes a commitment to do what is asked of you by your coaches on a daily basis. I can just tell you in no uncertain terms that that tradition will not be part of tradition going forward.”

I hope he stays true to his word. The only problem is if the entire team walks out, because then he’d have little leverage to enforce a penalty. I just hope the leaders of the team are wise enough to stop it. It’s incredibly frustrating to support the team as a fan when the players don’t care about practicing. I guess they’re content with going 6-7.

Jim Mora to be UCLA’s Next Head Coach … and I’m on Board with it

Jim Mora reportedly will be named the next head coach of UCLA’s football program Saturday, replacing Rick Neuheisel who went 21-29 over four seasons. The Bruins athletic department undoubtedly dropped the tip to the LA Times and ESPN LA late Friday night because they wanted to bury the news over the weekend. They knew this hire would not go over well with the fan base.

Our friends at Bruins Nation have been rightfully railing on AD Dan Guerrero, who botched the last two football hires. They did not want Mora as head coach.

Similarly, most fans had their hopes up after being told the Bruins were going to spend megabucks to get Chris Petersen from Boise State. UCLA’s head coaching pursuit was over-hyped, making Mora’s hiring a letdown in their eyes. I never bought into the hype because I knew neither Chris Petersen nor Steve Sarkisian were going to leave their jobs — certainly not for UCLA — so Mora is not a letdown to me.

So why am I on board with the Jim Mora hire? For several reasons.

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Jim Mora and Doug Gottlieb Have Incredibly Uncomfortable Interview

I was listening to Doug Gottlieb filling in for Colin Cowherd this morning on ESPN Radio when I came across an extremely uncomfortable interview. They had former Falcons coach Jim Mora on the show and Gottlieb wanted to ask him about Michael Vick’s turnaround in Philadelphia. Mora was Vick’s coach in Atlanta and the two were extremely close. With Vick as his quarterback, Mora went 26-22 and reached the NFC Championship Game in his first season in 2004. So when Gottlieb asked if Mora was “bummed out” that Vick didn’t put in more effort during his time in Atlanta, things got testy. Here’s the video via The Big Lead:

It seems like Mora was expecting to do the interview with Cowherd and was disappointed he got stuck with the substitute teacher he deemed inexperienced. Gottlieb should have also done his homework and realized how close Mora and Vick were and then he would have termed his question differently. Gottlieb’s mistake was stating Vick’s behavior in Atlanta as fact instead of asking Mora to compare the two. In that regard, he came across as unprepared and got burned. Still, Mora was unnecessarily testy, but that’s part of his personality. Most of the people reacting on twitter feel like Mora was more inappropriate than the other way around. Even if Mora didn’t agree with the way Gottlieb was doing the interview, he could have been more cordial. It was just awkward all the way around.