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UCLA football: Will third season be a charm for Coach Jim Mora?

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Bruins enter season ranked seventh in USA Today/Coaches' Poll and are the media pick to win the Pac-12 South

On the other side of the weekend sits UCLA’s football season.

Then it will be time for Coach Jim Mora to get revved up.

“I’m never excited for the start of practice,” Mora said. “The season is such a grind, I wish it could be put off. But the second it starts, I’m like, ‘Wow, this is awesome.’ ”

This is Mora’s third season. The Bruins have a 19-8 record since he was hired.

Of 12 previous Bruins coaches who made it this far in Westwood, only two had losing records that third season. Rick Neuheisel went 4-8 in 2010. Harry Trotter went 2-3-1 in 1922, the year after the city installed a state-of-the-art water main on Sunset Boulevard.

What’s that mean? Nothing.

Karl Dorrell went 10-2 in 2005 and was gone two years later.

Red Sanders went 5-3-1 in 1951, bringing his three-year record to 17-9-1. In today’s Internet world, you could hear the crowd on some UCLA fan websites clamoring, "This isn't working. We need a change. It's the athletic director's fault."

Sanders won the national title in 1954.

The Bruins enter the 2014 season ranked seventh in the USA Today/Coaches’ Poll and are the media pick to win the Pac-12 South Division.

“I don’t get too caught up in outside expectations,” Mora said. “I go into every season with a positive outlook. I’m optimistic every year. This is no different.”

Mora said the attention the Bruins are getting, “is a little surprising.” As he has often pointed out, “We haven’t beat Stanford. We haven’t beat Oregon. We haven’t won the conference yet.”

On the other hand, the attention quarterback Brett Hundley and linebacker Myles Jack have received hasn’t surprised Mora.

“They are high-profile guys who propel the team,” Mora said. “It’s great that they are getting this exposure.”

UCLA opens practice Monday at Cal State San Bernardino.

 

 

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