Jim Mora

Mora, UCLA strike a deal on contract extension


Funny how that works, eh?

Earlier this week, speculation surfaced that the San Diego Chargers had reached out to Jim Mora‘s representatives regarding interest in the UCLA head coach.  A couple of days later, the pot has been sweetened by his current employer.

In a statement, athletic director Dan Guerrero confirmed that Mora has been given a one-year contract extension.  The first-year coach is now signed through the 2017 seasons.

No details were given as to any type of enhanced compensation Mora and/or his coaching staff may have received as part of the extension.

“What Jim Mora has accomplished in just one season as our head coach is remarkable,” said Guerrero. “The wins, the Pac-12 South Championship, and the bowl berth were accompanied by an equally impressive performance by the team in the classroom and in the community.”

What Mora accomplished was nine wins and its second consecutive Pac-12 South title.  It was just the second time since 1998 (10 wins in 2005) that UCLA has won more than eight games in a season.

It also tied the most wins for a first-year head coach in Bruins history, joining Terry Donahue’s nine in 1976.

“First and foremost, I want to thank Dan Guerrero for his commitment to me and my staff, and our shared belief that we are on the road to creating something very special. I believe UCLA will win championships,” Mora said, “The 2012 team established a foundation which will launch us forward. Our staff, our returning players, our administration, and the entire Bruin community are pulling together in an effort to win championships. I am proud of our players for what they are doing in the classroom and on the field, and I am grateful for UCLA’s commitment to achieve excellence.”

The release added that UCLA is working on plans to build an on-campus football training facility, and to provide additional support to the football program, with details to be announced.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.

Unitas Award whittles watch list in half down to 15

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 03:  Trevone Boykin #2 of the TCU Horned Frogs looks for an open receiver against the Texas Longhorns in the second quarter at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season?  Watch lists are being whittled.

The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior.  The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.

The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).

The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten.  The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).

Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.

Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah