After several days of silence, UCLA football coach Jim Mora Jr. explained Tuesday why he was upset with Bill Snyder following the Bruins’ 40-35 victory over Kansas State in the Alamo Bowl.
Mora made headlines following the game when he immediately pulled his hand away from Snyder during their postgame handshake, uttering some choice words as he walked away. While speaking on the Rich Eisen Show on Tuesday, Mora said he was unhappy with how the game ended, particularly the way K-State players went for the ball as UCLA players were in victory formation, attempting to take a knee and kill the clock.
"When they cross that white line, we all know it's a dangerous environment," Mora said on Eisen’s show. "But I think that we have to do the best that we can as coaches to not put them in harm's way unnecessarily, and I just felt there are times that you have to avoid organizing an event or a play that could harm a player. I felt that maybe that that had happened and I was a little upset.
“You know, the emotion of the game, the adrenaline's flowing and I'm a very protective person, and so I did shake his hand. It was quick. It did not look good, I'll acknowledge that. But I did shake it and there were reasons for the reasons that I did."
Mora didn’t want to escalate tensions any further, so he told Eisen that he intentionally kept the handshake short.
"Knowing myself as I do,” Mora told Eisen, “it was best for me to move in and move out before we got into some type of discussion that maybe turned the wrong way."
That strategy backfired, as video of the exchange, which left Snyder looking stunned, went viral online.
Snyder and Mora met moments later and had a longer discussion.
Mora appeared to change his tune in his postgame news conference by complimenting K-State.
“I want to just tip my hat to Kansas State University and their football program,” Mora said. “They’re fun to play, because they play the right way. They play hard, they play physical, they play tough, they’re disciplined. They’ve got a lot of class.”
But he later tweeted: “I will defend the safety of my players … forever.”
Snyder has not publicly commented on the exchange.