If UCLA pulls out of this two-game tailspin and Jim Mora survives to someday coach a championship season, the school may want to clear space for a plaque.
They could put this plaque inside the school’s beautiful hall-of fame, adjacent the reconstructed replica of John Wooden’s home office.
Or, maybe, tack it on a nail across from Jack Robinson’s locker.
Casey Wasserman, naturally, will pay for all of this.
What would be on this plaque?
Inscribed would be the words Mora spoke after Saturday night’s massacre at Stanford, the 58-34 loss that put everything in peril for the 2017 campaign.
As speeches go, this is not Winston Churchill on Dunkirk.
“We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and on the streets…”
Mora’s intonation reminded me more of quarterback Tim Tebow after Mississippi.
Florida had just lost at home, to Ole Miss, putting the entire 2008 campaign in jeopardy.
Tebow entered the press room after that defeat and delivered a talk that will forever resonate in Gator lore.
It was called “The Promise.” Tebow was visibly shaken to the core.
“I promise you one thing,” Tebow said, “A lot of good will come out of this.”
You could almost hear Hans Zimmer as he continued.
“You will never see any player in the entire country play as hard as I will play the rest of the season, and you will never see someone push the rest of the team as hard as I will push everybody the rest of the season, and you will never see a team play harder than we will the rest of the season. God bless.”
Drop mic, exit stage.
Tebow’s words dripped with power, sincerity and backbone.
No player played harder, or pushed his teammates harder. Florida did not lose again and capped a national championship season with a win over Oklahoma.
I’m not saying UCLA will win the rest of its games and win the national title.
But what Mora said, after the program’s 10th straight loss to Stanford, should stop boosters from rounding up a list of potential replacement candidates.
Not yet at least.
You know words mean something when they jump off the page. I did not hear Mora’s post-game, but rather came across them via transcript while rummaging through the CSI of the Palo Alto event. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.