Earlier this month in a Pac-12 conference call, a reporter asked UCLA coach Jim Mora if his football program is where he wants it to be.
"No," he said. "I hope I never feel like that."
The Bruins are a team with big dreams, Mora elaborated. They want to win the Pac-12. They want to win the Rose Bowl. They want to be mentioned in the same breath as Alabama, Auburn or Florida State when pundits talk about the national title picture.
Listening to Mora, one gets the sense that he's in it for the long haul at UCLA.
"It's really only been two years - that's nothing," he said. "I hope over the next 10 or 15 years, or however long I'm fortunate enough to be here, it can really be something special."
Next year could be special for the Bruins, even though they lose five NFL draftees.
The biggest piece they bring back is Brett Hundley, one of the most spectacular quarterbacks in a conference with some pretty good ones. He accounted for 3,071 passing yards, 748 rushing yards and 35 total touchdowns last year as he helped lead the Bruins to a 10-3 record. Although UCLA lost a second-round pick in Xavier Su'a-Filo, they bring back plenty of talent on offense.
On defense, the Bruins lost two draft picks at linebacker, but there's plenty of talent to replace them. In the conference call, Mora cited Kenny Orjioke and Deon Hollins as two young players who made strides in spring camp, and other freshmen such as Zach Whitley should make a case to play.
The big-name star who returns is Myles Jack, who gained notoriety for playing both ways last year as a linebacker and running back. Although some media have reported that UCLA is unlikely to use him on offense this fall, Mora said it's possible - he just wants Jack's main role to be on defense.
"I don't plan on minimizing him," he said. "He's a really good football player and we're going to get him the football in any way we can. But we don't ever want to take away from what he does for our defense because he's a truly special linebacker."
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