In Josh Rosen’s world, school and football aren’t a match made in heaven at UCLA and while he received wishy-washy feedback, coach Jim Mora defended his Junior QB Thursday after the Bruins’ pre-season training camp.
Rosen told Bleacher Report Tuesday that “football and school don’t go together.”
“They just don’t. Trying to do both is like trying to do two full-time jobs. There are guys who have no business being in school, but they’re here because this is the path to the NFL,” Rosen said. “There’s no other way. Then there’s the other side that says raise the SAT eligibility requirements. OK, raise the SAT requirement at Alabama and see what kind of team they have. You lose athletes and then the product on the field suffers.”
Rosen does have a point that playing QB and being a full-time student is comparable to juggling two full-time jobs, because UCLA was ranked No. 2 in the nation by Forbes in universities that succeed academically and athletically.
Mora already spoke about Rosen’s comments on the Dan Patrick Show, but he also added more Thursday that while Rosen’s comments came off snarky with his nose in the air, he was also speaking on the behalf of his teammates.
“I don’t believe in the victim mentality and I don’t believe in entitlement. And I’m not saying that Josh has a victim’s mentality or entitlement because he absolutely doesn’t,” Mora told the Los Angeles Times. “If people were able to spend time around him that these players and this staff do, they would realize that usually when Josh makes a statement like he did, it’s because he is sticking up for others who maybe have not had the opportunities in life he has had.
“You can commend him for that. You can criticize his words or the way that they were framed, but I think it’s really hard to criticize the motivation, which is to help his teammates and help those around the country that maybe didn’t grow up in the same circumstances as Josh.”
However, Mora also alluded to the high academic expectations set at UCLA and while even though the main goal for every football player is to reach the NFL, being a student-athlete should also be a focus. In other words, Mora used the ole’ student comes before athlete cliché.
“We spend millions of dollars making sure that are student-athletes are not just graduating, but they’re getting an education,” Mora said. “We want to make sure they always have the chance to fill their emotional and motivational buckets, so I think as a school, as a department and as a program, we are going to great lengths to make sure that our players are always on the right track to success.”
Rosen’s comments didn’t vibe well with others and Mora said his QB has to deal with the repercussions although his words can be misperceived.
“So if you’re going to make statements, you have to understand there are going to be consequences,” Mora said. “I’m really proud of the fact that at UCLA, we have a really tremendous balance of academic and athletics.”