Jim Mora makes nice with Brock Huard, talks Josh Rosen

Apr 24, 2018, 9:53 AM | Updated: Apr 25, 2018, 9:29 pm
Jim Mora...
Jim Mora shot back at Brock Huard after a UCLA-Washington game. (AP)

Months after telling reporters at a press conference that he “would put very little stock into anything Brock Huard has to say about football,” former UCLA and Seahawks head coach Jim Mora joined Huard on 710 ESPN Seattle to explain his reaction – and talk a bit about his former quarterback Josh Rosen, who is expected to be a top-five pick at the NFL Draft later this week.

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“You and I go way, way back, as do your brother and I,” Mora told Huard. “We’re both Dawgs, we’re both Huskies, and we’re both a little bit feisty and opinionated. When you did our Husky game, I felt like you were questioning Josh.”

Huard was part of a broadcast team covering a UCLA-Washington game in October 2017. When Rosen came out of the game in the second half with a finger injury, Huard noted the decision might leave some scouts or general managers questioning Rosen’s toughness. After the game, Mora took a shot at Huard, telling reporters, “I would put very little stock into anything Brock Huard has to say about football,” and adding, “I know who [Huard] is. No, he’s not a friend of mine.”

“You know me, I’m protective,” Mora, who played for UW from 1980 to 1983, told fellow Washington alum Huard Tuesday, months after the exchange. “It’s like that big brother, little brother thing. It’s like you can say whatever you want about your brother, and you can tease him and make fun of him, but if somebody else does, then you blow up. That’s how I get. But I’ve always had great respect for you.

“First of all, you had a great career and you’re a great Husky, which I appreciate and love. You’ve done an amazing job of transitioning into another career in which you’ve had an equal amount of success. So, I don’t think people really understand how competitive guys like you and I are, because they’ve never really been in the arena that we’ve been in. And so sometimes we flare up a little bit, but there’s always that respect factor. I know I respect you…

“[My friends] would tell you that one of the qualities they like best about me is that I’m incredibly loyal and incredibly protective. But that’s one of the things that gets me in trouble as well. Because like I said, I’ll protect people that I love and care about, and I love and care about the men that I coach.”

Where will Rosen end up?

The 2018 NFL Draft kicks off this Thursday, April 26 from AT&T Stadium in Dallas. UCLA’s Rosen is expected to be among the top five picks, if not the first overall pick. Where does Mora think Rosen will land?

“I don’t know, Brock, gosh,” Mora said. “I thought forever that he’s going to end up with the New York Jets, and I’m still hopeful that he does. But if the Cleveland Browns don’t follow what everyone assumed was going to be the script and take Sam Darnold, then that could just change everything dependent upon how the Jets feel about Sam, or if the Browns take Josh Allen and Sam Darnold’s sitting there, I think it’s hard to believe the New York Giants would pass on Sam Darnold. I’ve heard that they really love him. And then it comes down to the Jets and do they want Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield? So it’s all personal choice. As you know at the draft, people fall in love with a particular player, and very, very rarely do teams have two players rated equal, especially when it comes to quarterback. They’re going to go into Thursday knowing exactly who they want.

“From my opinion, and having known him for a long time and watched him mature and watch him grow up, Josh Rosen is not only the best player in the draft, but the one with the most potential. He hasn’t even really scratched the surface of how great he’s going to be. And you saw kind of a tough game, the Washington game, we struggled and he got hurt… but I’ll tell you something, these people that are questioning his toughness or his competitiveness or his love of football, I think they’re way off base. And then the question that I’ve gotten from a lot of the executives, which is a common question, is does he love football. Yes, he loves football. Is he coachable? He’s not the kind of guy… if they say ‘Throw the slant, he goes, OK, you want me to throw first window, second window, front pad, back pad? Do you want it on his left number, his right number?’

“He really likes to dive deep and find out exactly how the play is supposed to be run, exactly where the ball is supposed to be put. And if you let him off the hook a little bit and don’t coach him hard, he wants to be coached hard, because he wants to be great. That’s what I know about this young man. I’ve watched him grow up, I’ve watched him mature. Some of the comments and the things he did when he was younger, when he was 18 or 19 years old, that people have fixated on, I think people need to remember that he was a college student. It’s a time to learn, it’s a time to grow, it’s a time to mature, and that’s what he’s done.

“My comments [about Rosen] are consistent. I’ve been completely clear, completely consistent, and have never said anything but complimentary things about Josh. Not one negative thing has ever come out of my mouth. In fact, I challenge anyone to go back and find anything negative that I’ve said about Josh. Saying that [other prospects] may be a better fit for a particular team is in no way reflective … I think Josh is the best quarterback; it’s just that’s the NFL, that’s why teams pick particular players.”

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Jim Mora makes nice with Brock Huard, talks Josh Rosen