Jim Mora and Rick Neuheisel squabble over whose UCLA teams were 'softer'

UCLA’s next football coaches reunion may be a bit awkward.

Current Coach Jim Mora and the man he replaced four years ago, Rick Neuheisel, have exchanged some less-than-friendly words this week on different radio shows.

Speaking on "The Herd" with Colin Cowherd on Tuesday, Mora recalled an early conversation with UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero.

“In our first interview, he asked me, ‘When you think of UCLA? What do you think?’” Mora said. “I’m thinking, what do I say here? Do I tell him the truth or something like it’s a great school and we can be great? I said, ‘I think you’re soft. I think the football team is soft.’

“Dan said, ‘That’s what I think, and we need to toughen it up.’ ”

On Wednesday, on his Sirius XM College Sports Nation radio show, Neuheisel fired back at Mora.

“All he did is go and paint the walls black and wear black on the sideline and think that that’s tough,” Neuheisel said. “I’ve been in the locker room. There’s all sorts of stuff about Sun Tzu and 'The Art of War' and pain and all that kind of stuff. He takes the team to Navy SEAL training. Congratulations, I’m glad you had the money to do it. But don’t talk about toughness with my football team.”

Neuheisel said UCLA’s penalty yardage totals, which have hovered near the bottom nationally throughout Mora’s tenure, is evidence of Mora’s own failures.

“You talk about mental toughness?” Neuheisel said. “[There's s]omething systemic about this mentally tough team going on.”

Neuheisel also took exception to Guerrero’s alleged part of the exchange. Neuheisel argued that Guerrero did not give his teams the resources to be successful.

Neuheisel went 21-29 in four years at UCLA.

“To hear Dan Guerrero say that we’re soft? That makes me bristle,” Neuheisel said. “Because Dan Guerrero never came to practice. He never came to my office in four years. Not one time. Not one time did he ever come and be a part of what was going on out there.”

Twitter: @zhelfand

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