Chip Kelly’s return to college football has been long anticipated, and his choice to make it with UCLA has put the Pac-12 (and the rest of the country on notice).
He won’t coach an actual game for another nine months, when the Bruins open the 2018 season at home Sept. 1, against Cincinnati. Until then UCLA fans will have to get by with what Kelly does on the recruiting trail and what he says, starting with Monday’s introductory press conference.
Kelly, after posing with athletic director Dan Guerrero while holding a powder blue UCLA jersey, lightened the mood with a joke about the sizable attendance for the press conference: “Not a lot going on in LA today, I can see, from this crowd.”
Kelly spoke of the honor it was to be included in the same coaching fraternity as legendary UCLA men’s basketball coach John Wooden:
Chip talking about John Wooden’s influence on every person who’s ever tried to impact lives of young men and women … smart. That’ll resonate with this crowd.
— Lindsay Schnell (@Lindsay_Schnell) November 27, 2017
Known for being an innovative coach in terms of schemes and play-calling, particularly on offense, Kelly broke down how that has come about for him:
Kelly: great coaches "make simple seem complex to opponents but make complex seem simple to own teams"
— Jon Wilner (@wilnerhotline) November 27, 2017
Kelly, who last coached in 2016 with the San Francisco 49ers—he was fired after one season after spending three years with the Philadelphia Eagles—said he consulted numerous coaches about getting back into the game. That included David Cutcliffe, who is doing wonders at Duke after having been fired by Ole Miss and taking some time off:
Chip Kelly credits David Cutcliffe for his advice in handling a year off from coaching and finding the right fit. "To be aligned with the right people is the most important thing.. there is something special about this place." #UCLA
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) November 27, 2017
Kelly met with the Bruins’ current players at 8:30 a.m. PT on Monday, including Josh Rosen. He saiid it was the first time he’s ever spoken with the junior quarterback.
Chip Kelly said he met briefly with the current UCLA team at 8:30 a.m., and that he got to talk to Josh Rosen for a couple minutes during that period. Said he's watched Rosen on film and thinks he's a "tremendous football player."
— Bruin Report Online (@BruinReport) November 27, 2017
It was all hands on deck at UCLA for Kelly’s debut, with one of the school’s all-time greats up close to listen to the new coach’s words:
— Thuc Nhi Nguyen (@thucnhi21) November 27, 2017
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