Jim Mora Jr. argues with columnist over UCLA's effort: 'You don't scare me'
Posted by: Chris Vannini on November 25, 2012
Jim Mora Jr. was not going to fall into a trap.
With the Pac-12 South division already clinched, one wouldn't expect there to be much motivation for the Bruins against Stanford on Saturday. A Stanford win would mean the teams would meet again one week later for the Pac-12 championship. A UCLA win meant a date with Oregon.
Stanford ended up winning 35-17. But when a local columnist tried to get Mora to suggest the Bruins gave up for their own benefit, an awkward confrontation resulted.
"No, because we're competitors," Mora said. "Those guys in there don't spend all the time that they spend preparing for a game in the offseason, during the week, the sacrifices they make, to go out and not try to win every opportunity - that's what they did. They tried their best win and we came up a little short."
The columnist - T.J. Simers of the LA Times - responded by asking if Mora would rather face Stanford or Oregon in the championship.
"No. It didn't matter," Mora responded. "We wanted to win this game today. The objective was to win the game today, and we didn't do it. We came up short. But to insinuate that our players didn't give their best effort would be incorrect. ... I've never in my life stepped on the field to compete and not give my best, nor will I ever."
Simers then compared the game to an NFL preseason game.
"You're making a statement," Mora said. "I don't know if there's a question in there. ... I'll comment on a question."
After a few questions from other reporters, Simers came back by saying it is Mora's job to get to a Rose Bowl, and that Stanford was the easier road.
"Is that a question or a statement?" Mora said. "If you're asking me a question, I'll be happy to answer it. If you're going to make statements, then make them. ... I hadn't thought about (the Pac-12 championship). What I thought about was Stanford; playing and beating Stanford. That's all we thought about. That was it. That was the end of world for us. The universe dropped off after the Stanford game. That's all we wanted to do. ... "Once again, is there a question?
"This is a press conference where you ask questions. If you want to come up, take the mic and make all your statements. There's a seat here and seat here. It'd be great. I'd love to have you up here. You don't scare me."
You can watch the confrontation at the 22-second mark and the 4:38 mark below.
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Chris Vannini is the lead writer for CoachingSearch.com and has covered Michigan State sports for The State News, The Oakland Press and MLive.com. He writes a weekly column for the Detroit Free Press on behalf of SB Nation. Vannini lives in Big Ten country, so his foot speed is far from SEC caliber, but his pulse on coaches is hard to match. Be sure to follow @CoachingBuzz on twitter and send your feedback to email@example.com