ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando -- an old Seattle collegue with yours truly -- has some interesting observations about new UCLA coach Jim Mora.
Here are a couple of highlights:
I've long thought Mora might be well suited for the college game, but I never envisioned him coaching for one of Washington's conference rivals. Mora played for the Huskies. He was blindsided when the Seahawks fired him to hire Pete Carroll. Now, he'll be coaching for UCLA against his alma mater -- and against Carroll's former right-hand man at USC, Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian. Weird.
Mora is tireless. He keeps himself in freakishly good physical condition. He's extremely competitive. Those qualities should serve him well as a recruiter and in general. The college game also requires coaches to become schmoozers. It requires them to relate with boosters, speak at banquets and kiss up to high school players (and their parents). Mora has a hard time hiding his true feelings. He is not a schmoozer. This could be interesting. Eventual clashes with university administrators would come as no shock.
Mora will probably be back in the NFL at some point. I wouldn't be surprised if he eventually coached at his alma mater, either. He's only 50 years old.
Mora's search for a staff at UCLA could target some current NFL assistants. Mora has ties to San Francisco 49ers running backs coach Tom Rathman. They were assistants together for the 49ers years ago. Greg Knapp, quarterbacks coach for the Houston Texans, was Mora's offensive coordinator for the Seahawks. Ed Donatell, the 49ers' secondary coach, was Mora's defensive coordinator in Atlanta. Mora's defensive coordinator in Seattle, Gus Bradley, remains in that role and presumably would have nothing to gain by taking a college job. Seahawks line coach Tom Cable was once rumored as a candidate for the UCLA job. Mora's hiring ends any shot at that happening, a good thing for the Seahawks.
One thing to watch is Mora and the media. He's got thin skin. I was a columnist when he was serving as the Seahawks' secondary coach before taking over for Mike Holmgren, but I never really got to cover him.
My impression then was he'd be a good college coach.
Now we'll find out, eh?