About two hours before WSU was to take on UCLA, the Cougars took to the field to go through their initial pregame warmup routine. Only one problem:
Here are the Bruins running drills in WSU's warmup area pic.twitter.com/dXN1bjqXzI— Jacob Thorpe (@JacobThorpeSR) October 16, 2016
And wouldn’t you know it — WSU wide receiver Gabe Marks has some thoughts on that!
Gabe Marks' full comments on UCLA warming up on their side of the field (again). My favorite part: "I mean don't cut that, let's be honest." pic.twitter.com/rQJXR3H1Cc— Lindsay Joy (@SWXLindsayJoy) October 18, 2016
It’s best to listen to the audio, because there’s nothing quite like Marks casually eviscerating someone. But if, for some reason, you’re not in a place where you can listen, here’s the full quote.
"I'm not coming back next year, to be able to play them again, but I don't know what their deal is,” he said. “They kind of come off as bad guys when they do things like that. I don't know if they do that to everybody, but it's just kinda douchey, you know?"
Apparently realizing that might not be something he should say — or, perhaps, thinking he probably should at least appear to care — he turned to the resident SID and asked, “Is that OK to say?”
And then, within a about a second, decided he really didn’t care and instead pleaded with the assembled media to keep that comment in their sound bites.
“I mean, don't cut that. Let's be honest: It makes you looks like you're trying to be tough because everyone thinks that, because you live in Westwood and wear baby blue that you're not tough. It makes you look less tough because you're trying too hard. It's just weird, you know? You don't have to do that."
Which, of course, is exactly what all of us know to be true about Jim Mora and his UCLA Bruins. And bless their hearts, they try so hard!
Mora fired his offensive coordinator this past offseason in an effort to instill a “tougher” run-based offense. His offense currently ranks 126th out of 128 teams in the FBS in both yards per game and yards per carry.
Additionally, Mora clearly ...
... coaches his players ...
... to head-hunt.
Mora also likes to try and show how tough he is by yelling at people smaller than him. Like, say, his kicker or his punter:
Jim Mora Went Nuts on His Punter After Very Bad Kick pic.twitter.com/antjsIg3qG— SportsCast (@SportsCast_THN) October 16, 2016
Or this ball boy:
In fact, UCLA is so tough, one of their players felt COMPELLED to respond to Marks ... via Twitter:
UCLA DL Takkarist McKinley responds to Gabe Marks (@throwitupto9) comments from Monday on Bruins warming up on WSU side of the field... pic.twitter.com/MGJb92Okz6— Lars Hanson (@LarsHanson) October 18, 2016
Honestly, I don’t think I could make up a better UCLA quote if I tried.
- Living in a fantasy land? Check.
- Threats of violence outside the rules of the game? Check.
- Whining? Check.
It’s truly the Bruin Trifecta!
(McKinley’s Twitter account is now protected.)
Marks’ comments also got around to Mora, who was asked about them on the coaches’ teleconference. His response?
Jim Mora dismisses Gabe Marks’ comments about UCLA players acting tough during warmups last wk: “he’s just misinformed. It’s not his fault.”— Ashley Adamson (@AdamsonAshley) October 18, 2016
“Misinformed”? I don’t think that word means what you think it means, Jim.
Then, of course, UCLA trotted out the “source close to the program” — which is really just code language for “SID tasked with damage control”:
Person close to situation says UCLA's return specialists were instructed to warm up on wrong side of field and moved once realizing mistake.— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) October 18, 2016
Which is strange, since there are about 20 UCLA players down there doing things other than things you’d expect “return specialists” to be doing.
It’s also strange, given the fact that the Bruins DID THE EXACT SAME THING LAST YEAR:
Gabe Marks and Jeremiah Allison both said the Cougars felt “disrespected” by UCLA because instead of allowing the visitors to have half the field in pre-game warmups, the Bruins sprawled out and continued throwing the ball back and forth on what should have been WSU’s side of the field.
“We’re supposed to split the field. Even if it’s your home field, you should have the decency to let us warm up without interfering with our warm ups,” Allison said. “They didn’t respect us. They threw the ball through our warm up.”
WSU’s strength coach Jason Loscalzo told the team not to let that get to them. “Focus up,” Loscalzo said, “We’re on a business trip.”
Then, linebacker Ivan McLennan “went berserk” and fired up the team, Allison said.
“Ivan turned it up and said, ‘They disrespected us. They’ve gotta pay for it,” Allison said.
Sorry, Jim. This all adds up to a pretty compelling case that your program is, in fact, kinda douchey.
And no, I’m not misinformed.
You want to know what real toughness looks like, Jim?
Just go back and watch the tape of WSU beating your team two consecutive years and wonder just how it is that recruits your program turned its nose up at was able to do that to you.
That would be an excellent place to start learning about what it means to be tough.