UCLA gets its man, hiring Chip Kelly to take over and bring his offense to Westwood. Now what?
You got your man, UCLA.
To be fair, I though UCLA got its man in Jim Mora Jr., too – thinking a pro coach would be perfect for the big city/pro town/win-or-don’t-exist world of LA – but Chip Kelly is better.
It’s the move UCLA had to make.
The problem with the program under Mora is that it didn’t take advantage of the opportunity. There wasn’t any NFL in Los Angeles when he took over, USC was still trying to get its groove back, and the window was open for UCLA football to be a thing.
Kelly might just come in and kick that window down.
At the very least, it’s UCLA sending a signal that it gets it. It has to do something splashy, something big, something WOW to energize the base, freak out USC, and potentially turn the program into the powerhouse of the South with a regular shot at getting into the College Football Playoff.
And UCLA got him for a relatively good price.
And now UCLA football has an attitude. It has something to market. It has an identity.
If this doesn’t work out, it’s Chip Kelly’s fault. UCLA did what it was supposed to/had to do.
46-7 at Oregon, three Pac-12 titles, four BCS bowl appearances, and one big defensive stop away from winning a national title. He might not do that at UCLA right away, but he certainly might.
Does his offense still work like it did five years ago? Defenses have caught up to it – at least a little bit – and everyone occasionally has some version of the hurry-up spread thing that Kelly took to a warp level.
Does getting Kelly automatically mean that everyone else in the Pac-12 has to stop playing football?
Stanford will still be nasty up in the North, and Washington is more of a power now than it was when Kelly was doing his thing in Eugene.
And USC’s defense isn’t going to be a pushover.
However, UCLA now becomes the team you really, really don’t want to face.
And if in the next four years UCLA goes to a College Football Playoff or three, it’ll all be worth the wait.