WESTWOOD—The No. 11 Trojans narrowly beat the UCLA Bruins, 28-23, on Saturday November 18 at the Coliseum. The following day, UCLA fired Head Coach Jim Mora.
UCLA hired former Oregon Ducks Head Coach Chip Kelly to revamp the program. The deal is for five years at $23 million. After a brief stint coaching the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL, he returns to the college football landscape.
Kelly’s was the catalyst and creator of the Ducks feared ‘Quack Attack.’ Kelly transformed the culture in Eugene, with their state of the art offensive schemes. Utilizing a mobile quarterback to spread the field.
“It is an absolute honor to join the Bruin family, and I am grateful to Chancellor [Gene] Block and to [athletics director] Dan Guerrero for this incredible opportunity,” said Kelly per the program’s announcement. “UCLA is a world-class institution with a distinguished history in athletics, and we will do our part to uphold its tradition of excellence.”
In his six years, Mora posted a record of 46-30. Mora brought the school back to national prominence with help from Quarterbacks Brett Hundley and Josh Rosen.
Leading the Bruins to a pair of school record-tying 10-win seasons, winning the PAC-12 South in 2013 in Mora’s tenure.
UCLA capped off their season with a 30-27 victory over the Cal Golden Bears on Black Friday, November 24, thanks to a last second field goal by J.J. Molson, it was dubbed the Bear Bowl where Offensive Coordinator Jedd Fisch served as interim head coach.
The UCLA Bruins finish off 2017 with a 6-6 record, meaning the Bruins qualify to play in a bowl game.
Every game at the Rose Bowl ended in a victory the entire season. Unfortunately, they were unable to win one single game on the road.
The Bruin revolution Mora promised was never answered or fulfilled, he never won the PAC-12 Conference, failed to beat Stanford. Worst of all, the Bruins never played in the Granddaddy of them all.
The final straw was his third loss in a row to USC, after defeating the Trojans his first three seasons.
“Making a coaching change is never easy, but it’s an especially difficult decision when you know that a coach has given his all to our university,” said Director of Athletics Dan Guerrero in a statement on Sunday.
Sadly, the Jim Mora reign was met with an uneasy relationship with the boosters, who expected better, albeit lofty expectations. In addition, he made no friends with the media. Cantankerous from day one; there was more tension in the post game interview than on the field. Hand to God.
This coaching move all but assures every Bruins fan Rosen indeed will go pro, and enter the 2018 NFL Draft.
Kelly tends to recruit and mold mobile Quarterbacks, Josh Rosen is a born pocket passer, the styles simply will not mesh.
The highly touted Junior is projected to be the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
UCLA did give Jim Mora credit for rebuilding the Football program, going from laughingstock under Rick Neuheisel to a relavent force to be reckoned with on the National stage.
“Jim helped reestablish our football program, and was instrumental in so many ways in moving the program forward. While his first four seasons were very successful, the past two seasons have not met expectations. We thank Jim and his family for his service to our school and his unquestionable commitment to our student-athletes.”
Their final game on Black Friday, had more on the line than one would anticipate. The significance for the Bruins means the season stays alive.
The last second, walk off field goal guarantees the UCLA Bruins will play in a bowl game after all.
The Bruins qualify for bowl eligiblity with six victories. It was likely Josh Rosen’s final game at the Rose Bowl. He was knocked out of the game, and did not return. Still, the Bruins rallied around their leader for the exciting, moral victory.
It seems like a terrific fit for Kelly to return to college, and more importantly, the PAC-12 Conference.