Wiggle room is important.
Speculation and rumors abound on the Internet -- shocking -- and UCLA Coach Jim Mora, and his future in Westwood, are fodder for a few.
Mora was asked Thursday about speculation that he was on the San Francisco 49ers' list. His reply: “I prefer to concentrate on this game. I think you do everyone a disservice that has put so much into this season and got to this point if you think about anything other than the task at hand.”
But when given the chance to squash this once and for all, Mora said, “I have no plans to coach anywhere else but UCLA at this time.”
The key words are “plans” and “at this time.”
Plans change and who knows what the future holds. It gave Mora an out, and his agent some leverage.
Still, there is little chance that he will be taking his laser-locked gaze elsewhere. ("little chance" being a writer's wiggle room).
Remember Mora to Michigan? Chatsports.com was all over this last month based on an inside source, who has been “very accurate,” saying Mora was interested in the Wolverines job.
“We have yet to confirm this story from a second, but are still going to put it out there based on the long-standing credibility of our source.”
That credibility took a hit. Mora was not interested in Michigan.
This week, the NFL scuttlebutt machine chugged along.
The New York Jets had reached out to ask about Mora’s buyout. A low-level call was made. Mora has no interest in the Jets.
The San Francisco 49ers seemed a more credible rumor, as Mora spent nine seasons as an assistant coach with the team. There are no indications that the 49ers have any “plans” to talk to Mora “at this time.”
The question unasked was: “Why would 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke hire Jim Harbaugh’s doppelganger.”
Baalke and Harbaugh had a less-than-smooth ride together.
Harbaugh went to Michigan, and Chatsports.com patted itself on the back, claiming it had this first -- that credible inside source appears to be a hit-and-miss guy.
Rumors will persist, and they certainly help Mora’s agent (he parlayed those into contract improvements and athletic department commitments).
Mora won’t be coaching anywhere else but UCLA … at this time.