Thursday, August 16, 2012
Angry Mora tosses entire team from practice
By Peter Yoon
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. -- Mere hours after making his team start practice over, UCLA coach Jim Mora threw in the towel early.
The second session of a double day came to an abrupt end when an irate Mora sent the entire team back to the locker rooms at Cal State San Bernardino. He did not allow players to stay after for additional work or meet with their position coaches. No players spoke with reporters.
Afterward, Mora would not address specifics of what made him so upset, but acknowledged some of the general things that make him upset as a coach.
"Lack of effort, lack of focus, lack of discipline," Mora said.
The morning session got off to a rocky start when the Bruins showed a lack of focus during a walkthrough. Mora restarted practice, making the players re-do warm-ups and stretching. He then went back to the walkthrough.
"The start of practice we had to kick it in a little bit," Mora said Wednesday morning. "These are young men and they are still developing, still learning and still maturing. Sometimes they just need a little push to get going."
He pushed the team right off the field as the evening session was winding down. The practice had become physical with several shoving matches and lots of trash talking. The coaches tried to control it; they even sent one player off the field after a skirmish.
But the lack of discipline continued and Mora launched into a explicative-filled tirade and halted practice in the middle of the 11th period. The team normally goes 12. Mora huddled the team together for more scolding before sending the players to the showers.
It was the penultimate practice at Cal State San Bernardino for the Bruins, who have been in the Inland Empire for 12 days and were at the end of their 15th practice. It's been unusually hot, with temperatures routinely reaching 105 or higher, so the players may be starting to wear down. Wednesday, however, was the first day in the last 10 when temperatures did not hit triple digits.
"It’s been great to be out here, but I think it’s time to get back to Westwood," Mora said. "The players are excited to get home, sleep in their own bed, get in familiar surroundings. It’s been a great two weeks out here, but I think it’s time to go back. We’re two weeks away from Rice and it’s time to go home."
Other practice notes:
Switching sides: Freshman running back Fabian Moreau wore a defensive white jersey and played cornerback during the afternoon practice. Mora said he didn't know if the move was permanent and that he just wants to get a look at Moreau on that side of the ball.
"He looks like a lot of really good corners I’ve been around," Mora said. "He’s fluid. So we just figured we’d take a look at him. Nothing is permanent, but when you see an athlete like that you want to try to utilize his abilities."
Injury updates: Offensive lineman Simon Goines (heat) returned to practice in full pads, but sat out the latter half in an effort to avoid a recurrence. … Will Oliver (heat) also returned in full pads. ... Receiver Shaquelle Evans received treatment on his left hamstring and sat out much of the practice. ... Running back Damien Thigpen (leg) worked out on the side. ... Tight end Ian Taubler (heat) did not dress. ... Receiver Devin Lucien (concussion) also did not dress.