Jim Mora: Christian McCaffrey ‘Is The Best College Football Player In The Country’

    Jim Mora discussed Christian McCaffrey during the weekly Pac-12 teleconference and labeled the Cardinal running back "the best college football player in the country." UCLA and Stanford will go toe-to-toe Saturday night in Pasadena.

    September 21, 2016

    UCLA head coach Jim Mora labeled Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey the best college football player in the country.

    Since a season-opening loss on the road to Texas A&M three weeks ago, Jim Mora’s Bruins have rattled off back-to-back wins against UNLV and BYU.

    The win over Kalani Sitake’s Cougars was extra impressive due to the defensive effort UCLA put in. The Bruins held BYU to 23 rushing yards on 25 carries, and Mora was extremely pleased by that performance. This Saturday against Stanford, UCLA will have a more arduous chore, and Mora is not taking anything for granted.

    The Cardinal possess all-purpose threat, Christian McCaffrey, who finished No. 2 in the Heisman Trophy voting last season. Thus far he has racked up 404 total yards and four touchdowns from the line of scrimmage this young season.  During the weekly Pac-12 teleconference, Mora acknowledged the player whom he considers the nation’s best.

    “Every week’s different, but it certainly gives [us] a little bit more confidence when you’ve come out of a game playing the run well, and you’re getting ready to play [Christian McCaffrey], who I think is the best college football player in the country. At least, [he] certainly was last year and looks to be this year as well,” Mora said.

    That is some high praise for the Cardinal’s star playmaker. However, the Bruins coach didn’t stop there. He practically listed McCaffrey’s entire resume, piece by piece, effusive in his plaudits.

    “[McCaffrey] is the ultimate playmaker. He’s the ultimate player, and he’s the ultimate competitor. You really can’t find anything that he doesn’t do well, whether it’s run between the tackles, run outside, patience behind the line of scrimmage, letting the hole develop, catching the ball out of the backfield, protecting the quarterback when they ask him to do that in pass protection, splitting out and running routes down the field and catching the ball, or certainly as a returner in kickoff and punt return … there’s nothing he can’t do and do at a high level. He’s unbelievable.”

    Last season, McCaffrey torched UCLA for 243 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns on 25 carries. He also returned two kicks for 122 yards. So, Mora knows exactly the kind of impact the junior tailback can have on a game.

    It’s a tall order for the Bruins in their Pac-12 opener. Still, even with the star power of McCaffrey and the rest of Stanford’s team, Mora isn’t allowing his team to view this matchup differently. In his mind, when you start to treat one opponent differently, it skews your season.

    “I think our approach needs to remain consistent, and that means that we just have to focus on the process each week of preparing for our opponent, taking care of what we can take care of, and managing our emotions, and work hard, and stay focused,” he said. “But I think when you start to put emphasis on particular games, then you end up being inconsistent … we’re trying to become a consistently consistent football team.”

    MORE: Stanford vs. UCLA Prediction, Game Preview


    Have the full Stadium experience

    Watch with friends

    Get rewards

    Join the discussion