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Jim Mora paying for bus to take UCLA students to spring game

Jim Mora has already successfully turned around the UCLA football program in only one year on the job. Now he’s looking to improve the fan support for the team. He’s even willing to pay out of his own pocket to improve fan support.

Mora tweeted on Wednesday to promote the team’s Saturday spring football game at the Rose Bowl:

He did a darn good job making it seem like a fun event. One thing you’ll notice is that he said the buses from UCLA to the Rose Bowl were free for students. Athletic department staff member Josh Rebholz said Mora was paying for the buses on his own.

One thing many people do not realize when they knock UCLA for the sometimes poor attendance at football games is that it’s inconvenient for students to attend the games. UCLA plays home games at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, which is over 25 miles and at least 35 minutes away from campus. On a game day, that’s at least an hour drive. Many students do not have cars on campus, so it just isn’t that easy to get to games and events at the Rose Bowl.

Every action that can get fans to the Rose Bowl helps, even if it means Mora paying out of his pocket.

Helmet smack to Bruins Nation

P. Diddy welcomed criticism of son Justin Combs accepting UCLA scholarship offer

P. Diddy’s son, Justin Combs, has been committed to the UCLA football program for well over a year now. Like most other high school athletes who are recruited to play a sport in college, the cornerback received a full scholarship from the Bruins. Unlike most others, he didn’t need the full ride.

Obviously, P. Diddy has enough money to pay for his son’s college tuition. The fact that Justin accepted the scholarship has led to a great deal of criticism, but Diddy said his family has not been bothered by it.

“I wasn’t annoyed at all,” Diddy told E! News at a WWE Hurricane Sandy fundraiser on Thursday. “I kind of welcomed it, because if he’s going to be doing what he’s doing, if he’s going to be in the city of L.A., he has to be able to handle the pressure. So I thought it was a great learning tool for him to be humble, handle it and go out there and prove himself on the field and prove himself at school.”

In a certain sense, I see Diddy’s point. Everyone loves to complain about how celebrities receive special treatment, but when a celebrity’s son goes through the normal process of being recruited and accepting a scholarship offer there is outrage over that, too. Not to mention, P. Diddy said his family is setting up a scholarship fund for future students.

“We’ll be announcing our overall scholarship fund, so at the end of the day, it all works out for everybody,” he said.

My guess is UCLA will make out on the deal just fine. If all goes well, I’m sure Diddy will be writing a few generous donation checks to the program along the way and after his son leaves school.

Photo via @Jdior_

Jim Mora kicks media out of practice for day, blames incompetent staff

Jim Mora joined crosstown rival Lane Kiffin as the latest LA college football coach to have an issue with the media. Only this situation was slightly different.

Mora kicked the media, and UCLA’s sports information department staff, out of practice Wednesday — just for the day — because of a security breach that he felt jeopardized the team’s privacy. He blamed the issues on the “incompetence” of his staff.

“We had some issues with our SID department,” Mora said after practice.

He was sure to clarify that the ban was just for the day and not permanent.

“Our practices are open. Our practices will be open tomorrow,” Mora said. “Today’s practice was closed because we didn’t have proper security. I’m not going to jeopardize what we’re doing as a football team because of the incompetence of some people.”

Bruins Nation explains that Mora was upset that “two camera crews set up in a restricted area next to [the practice field], and Mora subsequently told the camera crews to leave, told the reporters attending practice in the media shed to leave, and also kicked out the SID.”

Uh oh, looks like we’ve got some shady spies on our hands! They could be feeding info to lowly 1-3 Colorado for Saturday’s game! Watch out now!

Even though I’m making a joke of this, I think it’s pretty unprofessional of Mora to blast the SID publicly when he could have made his point privately. This is the type of behavior that has gotten Mora in trouble in the past, but he gets a pass now because the team has done well. If they start losing, you’ll start seeing complaints.

Video via UCLA Rivals

UCLA football giving fans reasons to be optimistic

It has often been said that UCLA football is like a supermodel: It may look good at first glance, but try to enter into any long-term relationship and you will end up broken-hearted. I was personally raised on the Bruins, which is to say I was largely fed a flavorless mush containing some notes of sweetness followed by a rather bitter aftertaste. Such a conclusion was drawn after one-too-many remote controls were sent hurdling toward the plaster.

This season has brought renewed expectations to Westwood; anyone following the Bruins is as ebullient as one can be two weeks into the season. A new head coach, a quarterback, and a new philosophy has perhaps harbored a sort of newfound delirium that has some — read this writer — thinking that this unbeaten start may not soon end.

It wasn’t too long ago that folks around Southern California were talking about monopolies with the gusto of Uncle Pennybags on a Marvin Gardens binge. Sheriff Rick Neuheisel came to town with guns blazing following that declaration but, following a pistol-whipping that had as much to do with the offensive system run during his tenure as it did with his red-faced tirades directed toward his starting quarterbacks, was soon ridden out of town on a rail with a handsome severance package attached.

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Matt Barkley USC football billboard disappears in Westwood

A USC football billboard featuring Matt Barkley that appeared in Westwood nearby the UCLA campus was covered on Tuesday, sparking a mini-mystery. Both USC and UCLA denied any role in the billboard being covered. A USC spokesman even saying the billboard was part of a city-wide marketing campaign. Finally the billboard company admitted they were the ones who decided to cover it up.

According to KTLA, the billboard site is owned by Regency Outdoor Advertising, a company co-owned by Brian Kennedy, a prominent USC donor, after whom a USC practice fields is named. Kennedy reportedly said the company decided to move the Barkley board to another location.

It seems like this comes down to some big USC fans trying to taunt UCLA by putting the billboard up by the Bruins’ campus. It’s no wonder USC tried to distance themselves from the campaign.

Regardless of who was responsible for the billboard, this is now the second time USC has taunted UCLA in the past few months when it comes to football. The Bruins need to respond on the field to maintain their self-respect.

Photos via SportsCenter/Twitter

Jim Mora claims he didn’t know Cordell Broadus was Snoop Dogg’s son

UCLA received plenty of attention over the past few days after we published a story about them offering a football scholarship to rapper Snoop Dogg’s son. We and many others joked that UCLA was becoming the football school for famous rappers’ sons given that they also have P. Diddy’s son enrolled for the fall. But now we’re learning that Head Coach Jim Mora didn’t even know Cordell Broadus was Snoop’s son when he was offered a scholarship.

“Jim Mora called me on Sunday to tell me why he offered him and he said he didn’t find out until after that he was Snoop’s son,” Diamond Bar coach Ryan Maine told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. “He said he liked his competitive nature, his size and his frame, especially for him only being a sophomore.”

Broadus is a 6’2″ 185 lb wide receiver/defensive back who will be a sophomore in the fall. Maine says he expected Broadus, who played on the frosh team last year, to begin receiving offers after he accomplished more.

“I was surprised he got an offer this early,” Maine said. “I thought it might come after he started playing this season. He was real humble about it and didn’t even want anybody to know because he didn’t want anything to get blown out of proportion. He knows a lot can change in three years with coaching staffs and things like that.”

The big question is whether you believe Mora. Although it’s possible that he’s telling the truth, it’s hard to imagine that he didn’t know Broadus was Snoop’s son.

My guess is he was trying to illustrate the point that he offered Broadus a scholarship based on how he plays, not who his father is. If you believe that is the case, it’s important to keep in mind that Mora was not the coach when P. Diddy’s son was offered and accepted his scholarship; that was all Rick Neuheisel’s doing.

Helmet knock to Eye on College Football Recruiting via Bruins Nation

UCLA gives Snoop Dogg’s son Cordell Broadus his first scholarship offer

It looks like UCLA is trying to become the football home of famous rappers’ sons.

The Bruins have given Cordell Broadus, the son of rapper/actor Snoop Dogg, his first scholarship offer, according to a tweet from Diamond Bar High School football coach Ryan Maine.

Broadus (class of ’15) will be a sophomore in the fall. He transferred to Diamond Bar from Long Beach Poly last fall, and played wide receiver and defensive back on Diamond Bar’s freshmen football team. He is listed at 6’2″ and 185 lbs.

Maine recently stated that he was expecting big things from Broadus.

“We’re expecting him to really lead us the next three years,” Maine told ESPNLA. “Hopefully [our athletes] get bigger, stronger and keep leading this team.”

Broadus joins Justin Combs, the son of music/entertainment mogul P. Diddy, as another famous rapper’s son in whom UCLA has taken interest. Combs committed to play for the Bruins last November.

Let’s just hope there won’t be as much outrage if Broadus decides to accept his athletic scholarship.

Here is a highlight video from his freshman year.

Image via Hudl
H/T Bob Condotta