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Jim Mora: 'I've always thought that good coaches are good coaches'

With plenty of coaches changing jobs across the country, many of those new jobs require a title change, too. Jim Mora did just that when he arrived at UCLA. Upon his arrival, Mora retained offensive line/recruiting coordinator coach Angus McClure but McClure's new role on the new UCLA staff would come with a twist. He would keep his recruiting coordinator role, but after coaching offensive line and tight ends at Sacramento State, Nebraska, Buffalo, among other places, as well as for five years in Westwood, McClure was asked to move to the defensive line. 

"I've always thought good coaches are good coaches, and no matter where you put them, they're going to work hard to learn the techniques and they're going to make their players successful at that position," said Mora.

McClure proved Mora correct this fall. The Bruins' defense improved substantially from 2011 to 2012, jumping from 95th to 54th nationally in rushing defense and leaping Olympic gold medal triple jump levels in sacks (112th in 2011 to 7th in 2012) and tackles for loss (102nd to 15th) from year to year. McClure's coaching proved to be a major difference in UCLA's improvement from 6-8 a year ago to 9-4 with the Holiday Bowl still pending. 

"I think the first thing he did was connect well with the players and gain their trust. When you're switching positions from offensive line to defensive line, there might be a little apprehension initially but Angus is a really good football coach and he understands line play from both sides of it," Mora explained. "I think besides just being a really good technician, he was able to give them a perspective that's unique given the fact he's coached offensive line so well."

Mora's perspective provides evidence for four things: A) His eye for coaching talent, B) McClure's coaching ability and C) Evidence for assistant coaches tasked with changing positions and D) Head coaches considering asking assistant coaches to switch positions. 

Barry Alvarez institutes the band system

In the most recent installment of Wisconsin's "Path to Pasadena" the film crew provides a look inside of the bowl suite where players use a point system to pick out their bowl gifts. 

Players had their choice of everything ranging from a La-Z-Boy recliner to Beats by Dre headphones. Pretty solid selection, especially for players making a repeat trip to Pasadena and have already cashed in on the recliner in years past.

At the end of the clip, Alvarez addresses the team and explains the bands that the coaches are wearing that read "I'm In and I'm on". He then explains how players can earn a band of their own.

"Once your committed and can say 'I'm all in coach', and not only that, but 'I'm going to be good in that game". When your coach feels that you're to that point, you'll get a band."

"I don't expect us to go very without everybody having a band."

The Scoop on the Poinsettia Bowl - BYU vs. San Diego State

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl - BYU vs. San Diego State (8 p.m. ET Thursday, ESPN)

Bowl season starts up again on Thursday and, with games coming fast and furious after that, we thought we'd get a head start on previewing the upcoming games.

Rocky Long has closed strong in year two of his tenure in San Diego. The Aztecs have won seven straight, claimed a share of the Mountain West title, and became the first team to win at Boise State and Nevada in the same season in more than two decades.

San Diego State's defense has turned the corner in the second half of the year. The Aztecs allowed 31.8 points per game in their 2-3 start, which included a 38-34 loss to San Jose State and a 52-40 setback to Fresno State. Since then, San Diego State has limited opponents to 19.3 points per game.

San Diego State gets a de facto home game against BYU, as the Poinsettia Bowl is held in the Aztecs' own Qualcomm Stadium. BYU has won five straight in the series. This year marks the first time in program history that the Aztecs have played in three straight bowl games. A win would give San Diego State its first 10-win season and first eight-game winning streak since 1977.

BYU doesn't have as much historical significance riding on Thursday's game, but there's still a lot on the line for Bronco Mendenhall's team. A loss would snap the Cougars' three-game bowl winning streak and drop BYU to 7-6, a clear step backward from last year's 9-3 campaign.

BYU has a clear statistical edge on defense, ranking in FBS's top five in rushing defense, total defense and scoring defense. However, the Cougars went just 1-4 against bowl bound teams in 2012, only cracking the 20-point barrier twice in six tries. BYU will attempt to keep the score low against the 15th-ranked rushing attack in college football.

A look at coaches' websites

This morning, a tweet caught our eye. It referenced RiseToTheTop.com a Tennessee website which appears to focus on introducing Butch Jones to the fan base (and allows visitors to buy season tickets and contribute to the program). While the format of the actual website is pretty basic, the graphics and visuals on the site are well done.

We have written previously about LSU's award winning web site, LesMiles.net. Miles' site features some very cool visual effects, excellent videos with highlights from the 2012 regular season and a scroll with an innovative use of graphics extolling LSU's accomplishments under Miles. With LesMiles.net, LSU clearly is trying to appeal to prospective student athletes (and doing so quite well we would add). 

We also recently saw praise for Washington's site, CoachSark.com. Sarkisian's site gives the viewer an in-depth look at his program with up-to-date information about the Huskies' trip to the Las Vegas Bowl.

This is just a quick run down of some coaches' websties. Let us know what some of the best you've seen are at any level. Let us know ( or @FootballScoop) and we'll write a larger article soon. Thank you

Sumlin explains how they mentally prepare for their bowl game

Some coaching staffs like to grind it out on the field with their guys when it comes to preparing for a bowl game, while others want to have fun, stay focused, spread their practices out, and enjoy the experience.

Yesterday, Kevin Sumlin explained that he likes to keep things light and fun at practice and that it's important to not begin bowl prep too early on in the process..

"I use the approach that we have a lot of practices, for not very long." Sumlin said, noting that their last practice went for about a hour.

The primary focus for the Aggies was to get healthy, after playing their 12 game schedule in 12 straight weeks (including 8 SEC games), most of the older guys enjoyed some much needed down time to get healthy, while the younger players got some extra reps. The combination of those two approaches allows for both sides to get amped up for the bowl game.

Sumlin says that the real excitement starts when you actually arrive on site for the bowl game.

"You can implement your game plan too early. People get bored. Believe it or not there's a lot of practices without a whole lot going on."

"It's all about how you handle your preparation before you get to the bowl site." Sumlin explained.

Sumlin and the Aggies will take on Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl on January 4th at 8pm ET on FOX. Both teams come into the game at 10-2.

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