97-9 ESPN officially welcomed new UConn Football Head Coach Jim Mora to the Dunkin' Music Lounge in Hartford for a Coach's Show with Mike Crispino broadcast live on-air!
Coach Mora spoke about his background, what he hopes to bring to the team and their current dynamic as well as college football in general.
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UConn Football Coach Jim Mora on transitioning his career to college football and the key differences of college football versus professional:
"The difference for me, besides recruiting, is the impact you're able to have on the young men that are in your program that are looking to you as a mentor, sometimes a father-figure. They come to you for advice through tough times, to share the good news with or when they're lonely or away from home, they can walk in your office and sit down and get comfortable a little bit. In the NFL, those situations really don't exist anymore, it's a business"
Growing local talent and community relationships is a priority for the new coach to breathe some new life and energy into the program. UConn Football Coach Mora spoke about utilizing the Transfer Portal, high school recruiting and finding football players who can enhance your program:
Are conferences important? The Coach's take on an independent schedule with no conference affiliation:
Let's talk about quarterbacks, one of the most important positions on any football team. The interview turned to coaching Atlanta in 2004 with Michael Vick and his quarterbacking abilities as well as the skillset the coach looks for in a player:
"The number one attribute you're looking for in a quarterback is being a good decision-maker. Does he take care of the football? Doe he know when to throw it out of bounds? Does he know when to concede it down and get to the next down? Does he know how to turn it on and let it go?"
Questions came in from the live audience, including the most wondered question by UConn fans and most-asked question of the Coach during any interview, "Why UConn?"
The three pillars of toughness are important to Coach Mora but why he prefers to call the team 'hard' instead of 'tough':
"I like the word 'hard'. 'Hard' is unrelenting. It's resistant to the pressure. It's firm and unyielding. It's not easily moved. I like that mindset. Toughness is good but I gravitate to the word 'hard'. We're going to be a hard football team."
A brush with celebrity! Coach Mora was once the coach of UCLA football and recruited Snoop Dogg's son, Cordell Broadus. What was the experience of interacting with Snoop as a father and visiting Snoop's "compound" in Ingelwood, California?
“I’ll tell you this about Snoop - he smokes a lot of pot (surprise!) but he’s an incredible person. As genuine as they get..they’re just like a mom and dad that really care about their kid and all of that other stuff went away. The questions were, 'how are you going to help my son be successful?' 'how are you going to hold him accountable?' 'how are you going to support him?'
Coming in as a new coach, has Coach Mora had the opportunity to dissect the current roster, the potential and some of the players yet?:
"I'll dive into evaluating those guys more and more every single day. What I'm impressed with is their character. I think you can start with that and certainly build from that. We're going to populate this team with high-quality young men that are good football players and they care about their team first. It's going to be fun to do that. I would hope that the young men in that locker room that fit that mold and I believe that there are."
The UConn Huskies take on the Houston Cougars on Saturday, November 27th live from Rentschler Field in East Hartford, CT at 12pm. Listen to the live broadcast on 97-9 ESPN on your radio or via the free iHeartRadio app.