LOS ANGELES – Jim Mora was the subject of a lot of speculation last fall as the coach who might replace Steve Sarkisian at Washington, but his comments Thursday at Pac-12 media days indicate that was going to be more than a longshot.
Mora, a UW alumnus and coach of the UCLA team picked to win the Pac-12 South, praised Washington’s hire of Chris Petersen and said, “UCLA showed a tremendous commitment to me; they trusted me by hiring me. I love it here. I don’t want to go anywhere.
“I’m staying there until they kick me out.”
On a general level, Mora, who coached the Seahawks for a year before Pete Carroll was hired, said it’s wrong for coaches to ask for deep commitments from players, and “we see coaches run out on them. I don’t think that’s right.”
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Asked about whether those feelings guided him in considering the Huskies, he said, “Yeah, that’s how I always feel. I was never going to leave UCLA. Dan Guerrero (the athletic director) went out on a limb when he hired me. Let’s not kid anybody. I wasn’t the most popular hire in college sports.
“For me, this is the place I want to be.”
A couple of injuries are important to early-season possibilities for at least two programs.
Stanford coach David Shaw said receiver/returner Ty Montgomery, one of the nation’s most dynamic players, might not be ready to return by the crucial Sept. 6 conference opener against USC after offseason elbow surgery.
Meanwhile, Oregon State is concerned about the progress of its top offensive lineman, Isaac Seumalo, who has had a long recovery from a foot injury. Seumalo might not be ready early, as the Beavers begin with games against Portland State and Hawaii.
Mora consented to Pac-12 Networks’ request to be the featured team in 2014 on the reality show “The Drive,” a weekly offering which documents a team’s seasonlong saga.
“I may be dead wrong, but I don’t think it’s going to be a problem,” said Mora.
Mora points out that the Pac-12 Networks is in partnership with the league’s teams, unlike HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” on an NFL team. Asked if he had established any ground rules, however, he shot back, “Any? I’ve got a list. We have full editorial control. Nothing’s going to get out there that we don’t want out there, or it’ll be the last show.”
• The league’s coaches boarded a bus in midafternoon to catch a flight to take them to the East Coast, where they were to experience ESPN’s “Car Wash,” a series of interviews and introductions with the cable giant designed to promote the league.
• Arizona State’s Todd Graham said his team is the “smartest” he’s had, with “the best character.” Graham said 70 of 110 players recently had a 3.0 GPA or higher. The two players ASU brought to the event, offensive lineman Jamil Douglas and quarterback Taylor Kelly, are grad students with a 3.92 and 4.0 GPA, respectively.
• Asked about the implications of social media on his team, Stanford’s Shawsaid, “It’s the best and the worst thing for a lot of young people. There’s such potential for so much damage to be inflicted on other people. We constantly counsel these guys: This is a window to your world, so show them what you want them to see. If you’ve got something negative to say, something specific, pick up the phone and talk to them.” That said, Shaw conceded — to laughter from reporters — “Oh, we’re monitoring all the time.”
Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or firstname.lastname@example.org