Asked about Mora’s comments, Kiffin, now coaching at USC, said: “I don’t really think that’s something to joke about. That’s all I’ve got to say on it.”
When Mora appeared on the Roger Lodge radio show to discuss recruiting, he noted the safety of UCLA’s campus by saying: “We don’t have murders a block from our campus.” The comment was at best an insensitive remark because of the murder of two Chinese graduate students near USC’s campus in April. At worst, it was a miscalculated shot at his chief rival in the recruiting wars of Southern California. Mora already stoked those flames by referring to USC by its alternate and dreaded moniker, Southern Cal, at Pac-12 Media Day last month.
The last few days, hanging around the Olympic village, waiting for his next race, Nellum has thought about that night in 2008 when two men gunned him down in the street outside a party. The 23-year-old has ruminated about four agonizing years of recovery, the multiple surgeries and the afternoons when he lay crumpled on the track in pain, never knowing if he could regain his speed.
USC will scrimmage Friday at the Coliseum, though “We’ll throw a lot of young guys out there, leave them out there for a bunch of plays and see what happens,” Kiffin said Thursday. Receiver Nelson Agholor and defensive tackle Leonard Williams — both freshmen — and tailback Silas Redd, a transfer from Penn State, are among the new players who will get long looks.