Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley rolls out to pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against New Mexico State Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Utah football: Jim Mora needs little time to turn around UCLA
College football » Bruins just needed right coach — and it looks like they found him.
First Published Oct 01 2013 04:02 pm • Last Updated Oct 02 2013 06:26 pm

Not many folks in Los Angeles believed it possible at the time. But Jim Mora scoffed at the critics and turned the city’s perennial little brother into a college football power. All in less than two years.

When UCLA invades Rice-Eccles Stadium on Thursday to face Utah, the Bruins will do so with a ton of momentum.

At a glance

Jim Mora Jr.

» Is 12-5 in his tenure at UCLA

» Was 31-33 as an NFL head coach

» Is the son of former NFL coach Jim Mora


No. 12 UCLAat Utah

Thursday, 8 p.m.

TV » Fox Sports 1

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Brett Hundley is one of the best quarterbacks in the country and a projected first round NFL draft pick — should he elect to leave early. And linebacker Anthony Barr is one of the most feared defensive players in the Pac-12,

Most importantly, the Bruins are the team in Los Angeles that everyone is talking about now. While once-mighty USC flounders in the wake of Lane Kiffin’s firing, the Bruins are nationally ranked (12th in this week’s AP poll) and a favorite win the Pac-12 South.

"I’ve been fortunate to have a good set of circumstances," Mora said Tuesday. "We’ve had good support from the administration, good support from the fans and we’ve been able to recruit well. At the same time, we’ve kind of taken things day to day. We look at each game in itself and we’ve tried not to get too far ahead of ourselves. I think that mindset has given us some advantages."

Just 17 games into Mora’s tenure, it appears Bruins athletic director Dan Guerrero has made a home run hire. Last season, Mora’s first, the Bruins won nine games for the first time since 2005, This season UCLA is on track to better that total.

Ironic, given the lack of enthusiasm that greeted the former NFL coach’s hiring in 2011 following Rick Neuheisel’s firing. Mora had some success in Atlanta, but was let go as Seattle’s coach after just one season.

It helped that the talent cupboard was far from bare when Mora took over at UCLA. Hundley, for instance, has developed into a 6-foot-4 running and passing threat. Hundley also was a Neuheisel recruit, and the former Bruins coach did Mora a huge favor by redshirting the QB when many Bruins fans hollered for him to start as a true freshman.

Until this season, the shadow of the Trojans has loomed over the program. Neuheisal famously promised that the Bruins would take back Los Angeles from USC, but was just 13-23 in three seasons. It took Mora’s arrival to start making it happen.

"They’ve done a great job of getting the program back on the right track," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "I think it’s been a mixture of things. Jim has done a terrific job. He’s also had a lot to work with."

story continues below
story continues below

In the Bruins, Utah will face one of the most balanced teams in the Pac-12. Through the first month of the season, UCLA looks like the only team in the South capable of competing with North powers Oregon and a Stanford.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.