T.J. Simers

Nothing 'masterful' about UCLA's victory over Utah

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"Excuse me," Mora said, and I really don't know why any coach should be excused for making something sound better than it really is.

But before I got around to my question, he was telling everyone in the room this was like some kind of monumental, sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat heart-thumper.

"Were you bored most of the afternoon?" I repeated. "Didn't you find that a boring game?"

"I don't know if I've coached a boring game in my life," Mora said, which was obviously a fib, because he had just done so.

"I think when you love your job it's not boring," Mora added.

"Oh, it can be boring even when you love it," I replied, and I know, because I was living it here in the Rose Bowl.

"Is that a question?" said Mora.

I told him it was a response to his comment while advising him from time to time that's how it goes when discussing what happens in a football game.

Sometimes these news conferences sound like Pentagon briefings after a bombing run, given the solemn tone in the room. And yet this was just a UCLA-Utah football game, a very boring UCLA-Utah football game, so why sound so serious dissecting it?

In the big scheme of life it's only a momentary diversion.

The UCLA sports information department passed out a transcript of Mora's postgame news conference, but edited out the question asking Mora if it was a boring game.

Sometimes UCLA thinks it really is conducting Pentagon business, I guess.

What's wrong with Mora playing it straight with everyone and just saying, "I'm sorry we couldn't give you an exploding scoreboard on what should be a more exciting football Saturday? We owe you one, and I think the day is coming when we will deliver on that promise."

What's wrong with admitting the obvious, and saying, "I'm sorry we could only give you one touchdown in the second half, but if I'm right about the freshmen we're playing, we're going to have a bunch of exciting second halves for years to come."

And what's wrong with taking maybe just another 10 seconds to say, "I'm sorry for mistreating Steve Rourke."

It still would have been a boring game, but it's amazing how understanding folks can be when you tell them you are sorry and you can do better.

t.j.simers@latimes.com
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