UCLA Head Coach Jim Mora Says He Would Hire Lane Kiffin If He Could
Football coaching is often referred to as a fraternity, and UCLA Bruins head coach Jim Mora showed why when he showed support for one of his brothers, former USC Trojans coach Lane Kiffin.
The UCLA boss went on the Dan Patrick Show Thursday and talked at length on Kiffin's firing and said that he would hire the former USC boss if he had an opening on his staff (h/t Laken Litman, For The Win).
Mora, who was fired from NFL coaching jobs in Atlanta and Seattle, talked about the stages of grief coaches go through when fired:
As a competitor, the first thing you do is you think, ‘It wasn’t me.' You go through stages. It isn’t death, but I’m sure it’s a little bit like death. You grieve a little bit, you blame others, you go, ‘Why me?’ Hopefully you get to the point where you self-reflect and say, ‘What could I have done better? Why don’t I quit pointing the finger at other people and look inward and decide what I need to change to make sure, if I ever get the opportunity again, I don’t screw it up, like I did the first time.’
He also went deeper talking about Kiffin and how he has handled the situation. Mora commended Kiffin for quickly moving forward and said he believes he'll be given another chance:
We know as coaches that it's part of the business...I always wish Lane the best. I think Lane's a good man and I think he'll land on his feet...I think he’s accepted responsibility. I think that’s how you move on. He’s a friend of mine. His dad had a tremendous influence on my defensive philosophies. I got to work with him in New Orleans. I just wanted the guy to do well. I think he will if he’s given another shot.
From there, host Dan Patrick asked if he would consider hiring Kiffin, and Mora responded saying he would if he had the opening on his staff. He also added that Kiffin is a guy anyone would consider:
Yeah, but I don’t have a position on my staff. I love my staff. I’ve got Noel Mazzone as my offensive coordinator. In my opinion, he’s one of the best in the business. We’ve got great staff chemistry. If there’s ever a situation where Lane was available and he was interested and there was a position available, he’s a guy anyone would want to consider.
Mora continued on, lauding Kiffin's abilities as a playmaker and a potential offensive coordinator:
He’s a good football coach. He’s a really good play-caller. I’ve had to scheme up against him on defense, and when he’s got the quarterback he thinks can make it happen for him, he’s tough to defend, because he’s not predictable. He gives you wrinkles and he sets you up, and he’s a good play-caller.
Would you want your team to hire Lane Kiffin?
Last year, Kiffin's Trojans tallied 513 total yards on the Bruins, including 301 passing yards from quarterback Matt Barkley, though UCLA won 38-28 at the Rose Bowl.
However, Mora certainly has room to be happy with his offensive coordinator, Noel Mazzone. The Bruins are currently No. 5 in the nation and No. 2 in the Pac-12 Conference in total offense, posting nearly 550 yards per game.
Still, Kiffin, a former NFL coach, would make a formidable coaching duo with Mora in Los Angeles, not to mention the intrigue of a former Trojans coach being on staff with USC's bitter crosstown rival UCLA. If Kiffin did join the staff at UCLA, it would whip up a fierce media storm leading up to their annual rivalry contest.
As Mora alluded to, even if Kiffin doesn't find a head coaching job, he might find a new niche as an offensive coordinator, whether that happens at UCLA or elsewhere.
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