Chip Kelly

Chip Kelly has lost the trust of 30 UCLA football players-- here's why

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Chip Kelly has lost the trust of 30 UCLA football players-- here's why

The timeline for college football’s anticipated return is about as hazy as the smog layer on a southern California morning.

One day, things are looking “up” in relation to the coronavirus pandemic. Other days, we are right back in the heat of it. And as part of the country starts to open back up, college football remains a mystery. 

What is also a mystery and called into question is how UCLA head football coach Chip Kelly runs his program.

J. Brady McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reported that 30 players on the team have submitted a document asking for a “third-party health official” to oversee compliance when voluntary workouts start on Monday.

One of those players was reportedly starting quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

[Listen to the latest episode of the Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Ernie Kent, former Oregon Ducks men’s basketball coach].

“These demands reflect our call for an environment in which we do not feel pressured to return to competition and if we choose not to return, that our decision will be respected,” the document reads. “If our demands are not met, we will refrain from booster events, recruiting events and all football-related promotional activities. The decision to return to training amidst a global pandemic has put us, the student-athletes, on the frontlines of a battle that we as a nation have not yet been able to win. We feel that as some of the first members of the community to attempt a return to normalcy, we must have assurances that allow us to make informed decisions and be protected regardless of our decision.”

Shouldn’t this be pretty obvious? Shouldn’t player health and safety and that of the coaches and staff be at the forefront of every major decision?

The decision to return to training amidst a global pandemic has put us, the student-athletes, on the frontlines of a battle that we as a nation have not yet been able to win. We feel that as some of the first members of the community to attempt a return to normalcy, we must have assurances that allow us to make informed decisions and be protected regardless of our decision. — Bruins football players

UCLA’s senior associate athletic director has stated the school will guarantee aid for fall sport athletes in the coming 2020-2021 season, but there are no guarantees being made about scholarships beyond that point.

According to the LA Times article, the NCAA has announced it would allow UCLA and other teams with Aug. 29 season openers to begin mandatory workouts July 6, UCLA has not called its players to return by that date because it has not received clearance from the county to start the second phase of training by then.

UCLA has designated a task force in order to prepare the best safety protocols, but is that enough for the players to have peace of mind returning to school and the team on their own timeline? 

“We put our lives at risk every single time we put on that helmet,” said one UCLA player.

The student-athlets shouldn't have to fear for their safety or the status of their scholarship during these uncertain times.

Trust goes both ways.

Former Oregon coach Chip Kelly under fire after tweet regarding protests

Former Oregon coach Chip Kelly under fire after tweet regarding protests

Following the tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, UCLA head football coach Chip Kelly released a statement. But not everyone is convinced Kelly’s words are authentic, including three of his former players.  

“It’s hard to see our community — and humanity — so deeply hurting,” Kelly wrote in the post. “The pain is felt by everyone in our Bruin family. In a time of such tragic destruction, we have been trying to understand how to best offer support to our players.”

Kelly’s statement continued with a quote from Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. about the need to “organize and unite people so that their anger becomes a transforming force.” He added “We must listen to each other, and learn from each other, and realize that all of us are connected to the sorrow and suffering and anger. We must unite, it is our only hope, and the first steps must be taken now.”

His post caught the attention of three of his former players: Bolo Olorunfunmi, Stephen Johnson III and Breland Brandt. 

Johnson III played for Kelly during the 2018 season before departing from the team with one season remaining on his eligibility. He retweeted Kelly’s message and asked, “What does this mean?” On another tweet, the former UCLA receiver wrote “Let’s let the truth be known he threw away classes of black athletes’ careers and did not care.” 

Former UCLA outside linebacker Breland Brandt responded to one of Johnson III’s tweets, saying Kelly “dismantled an entire class of athletes (majority black) and thought it’d be a good idea to copy and paste some sympathy.” 

Brandt retired from football after four concussions in three years, but ultimately said a UCLA staffer calling him a “quitter” over text message led to his departure.  

Bolu Olorunfunmi, a former running back whom the UCLA medical staff barred from participating in the final games of his senior season in 2018 after repeated concussions, questioned Kelly’s intentions and criticized him for using MLK quotes rather than his own. 

“But what are YOU going to do???,”Olorunfunmi said in a thread. “How is UCLA gonna be different and take that first step you are talking about?? Can’t ride the quotes of MLK forever. I wanna hear YOUR true take.”

Not everyone agreed with the criticisms of Kelly. Many Oregon players came to his defense, including former Ducks linebacker Tyson Coleman. Coleman said he wouldn't "let these scrubs try and defame this man."

Former Oregon wide receiver Elvis Akpla responded to a story from the LA Times and said, "I'm not going to hear this toxic garbage. Chip has done so much for so many players."

Nick Cody, who played for the Ducks from 2008-11, agreed with Akpla's sentiments. 

The 52-year-old coach has not yet commented further than his original tweet on this matter.  

Kelly, who coached at Oregon from 2007-12 before stints in the NFL with Philadelphia, San Francisco and now UCLA, has received criticism for his decisions from other former players. 

Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson recently spoke out about his controversial release in 2014 and how upon becoming a free agent, he wanted to stay in the NFC East just to face Philadelphia and Kelly twice a year. 

Be sure the listen to the latest Talkin' Ducks podcast with host Jordan Kent.

DeSean Jackson stayed in the NFC East to play Chip Kelly twice a year

DeSean Jackson stayed in the NFC East to play Chip Kelly twice a year

We all know that Chip Kelly made few friends while as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.

[RELATED]: Chip Kelly was 'the worst communicator,' rubbed people the wrong way with Eagles

Well, add DeSean Jackson to the list. 

After Chip Kelly's first season in Philadelphia, he cut DeSean Jackson after failing to find a trade for the then-27-year-old receiver coming off a season where he had 82 catches for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns.

However, NJ.com reported that the Eagles had concerns over "Jackson's continued association with reputed Los Angeles street gang members who have been connected to two homicides since 2010." This in addition to "a bad attitude, an inconsistent work ethic, missed meetings and a lack of chemistry with head coach Chip Kelly" caused Jackson to reportedly fall out of favor with the organization.

Jackson came out with a statement denying the claims shortly after. 

In a conversation with current Eagles teammate Lane Johnson for NBC Sports Philadelphia, Jackson spoke about how he took the Eagles' decision to cut him. 

“Honestly, bro, the past is the past, but I will say when I was released by the Eagles it was definitely a shove in my face, you know?” said Jackson. “The story that was made up and the reason behind it was hard for me to respect. I would have respected it a lot more, man, if they would have just came to me and just told me basically it’s a money issue or we’re going a different route. But no, you want to come up and say I’m a hoodlum and I’m doing all this crazy [stuff]? That [stuff] was personal to me.”

After becoming a free agent, Jackson wanted to stay in the NFC East division for one reason: to play the Eagles, and Chip Kelly, twice a season. 

“I remember the Redskins were one of the teams that hopped in and was really trying to sign me because of all the damage I did to them earlier in my career,” Jackson said. “Dan Snyder personally sent me his private jet. I was in L.A. and he sent me his private jet, he was like, ‘Get on the plane and we’ll figure out the contract.’ [Robert Griffin III] actually came to my house in Calabasas and he was like, ‘Man, please bro, just come play with me.’ I just wanted to go play against y’all twice a year. I’m staying in the division because I want them to see me twice a year... I was going to let them see what they were missing out on.”

In Week 15 of the 2014 regular-season, Jackson saw dividends on his decision when the Washington Redskins defeated the Eagles 27-24, dropping Philly to 9-6. The former Eagle had four catches for 126 yards. The Eagles would finish 10-6 that season and miss the playoffs. 

After coaching the Eagles to back-to-back 10-6 seasons to begin his coaching career, Chip Kelly was awarded with control over personnel decisions by ownership. He then went on to trade away LeSean McCoy, trade for Sam Bradford, and sign Demarco Murray while using a zone-blocking scheme.

Kelly would ultimately only have control over the Eagles' personnel decisions for one offseason. His roster moves were so bad that Kelly would be fired 15 games into his third season after starting 6-9. He then would coach the San Francisco 49ers for a season, going 2-14 before being fired again and accepting the head coaching job at UCLA. 

Looks like cutting Jackson was the beginning of the end for Kelly. 

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Oregon Strength & Conditioning Coach Aaron Feld.

Chip Kelly was 'the worst communicator,' rubbed people the wrong way with Eagles

Chip Kelly was 'the worst communicator,' rubbed people the wrong way with Eagles

Chip Kelly's NFL stint did not go as planned and he's yet to recapture the magic he had while head coach at Oregon.

While the results on the field got ugly in his final season as coach of the Eagles, people didn't exactly think the world of him while he was winning, either.

“I had no relationship with Chip,” longtime radio voice of the Eagles Merrill Reese said during the Eagle Eye podcast on NBC Sports Philadelphia. “None.”

One story sticks out to Reese, however. 

The Eagles had just destroyed the Dallas Cowboys 33-10 to advance to 9-3 and take control of the NFC East division, all while on Thanksgiving Day in front of a nationally televised audience.

So of course, Reese was hyped about the victory and wanted to congratulate Kelly. 

I walked up to him on the plane flying home from Dallas after that great Thanksgiving night game, maybe the best game of his career here, and said, ‘Great game, Chip, it was really fun to call that,’ and he looked over and said, ‘Oh,’ and turned his head.

Not wanting to talk to the media is one thing and that's nothing new for Chip. But, is it that hard to say "thank you"? The conversation probably wasn't going to last more than a couple of minutes anyways and all Reese was doing was congratulating him. 

Reese made it sound like this type of behavior from Kelly was normal while he coached the Eagles.

“He was the worst communicator of any coach I’ve ever been around,” Reese said about Kelly. “I mean, [Rich Kotite] was mercurial, up, down all over the place, but Richie could be warm and nice. You never saw that with Chip.”

Kelly went 10-6 in both of his first two seasons as head coach in the NFL which was enough for ownership to give him control over personnel decisions. He then went on to trade away LeSean McCoy, cut Deshaun Jackson, trade for Sam Bradford, and sign Demarco Murray while using a zone-blocking scheme. 

The roster moves were so bad that Kelly would be fired 15 games into his third season after starting 6-9. He then would coach the San Francisco 49ers for a season, going 2-14 before being fired again and accepting the head coaching job at UCLA. 

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Oregon Strength & Conditioning Coach Aaron Feld.

"Used" Chip Kelly for sale on Los Angeles area Craigslist

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Craig's List

"Used" Chip Kelly for sale on Los Angeles area Craigslist

Do you have a spare $9 million dollars laying around? If so you can buy a "Used Chip Kelly - Not Working" on Los Angeles based Craigslist!

The post reads as follows:

We are selling a used Chip Kelly in broken condition. This antique might still have some value as a fun Christmas present for your ailing, desperate, and gullible football program. It comes pre-loaded with 100 snarky quotes like “the wishbone was successful too” and “we’re just trying to have a good Monday.”

However, after nearly two years, we haven’t gotten the most important parts of it to work. Its previous owners were also dissatisfied with it and we thought it’d need a good home and some TLC. It turns out that it is broken beyond repair, so we are selling AS-IS and for PARTS ONLY. We imagine you can find some workable pieces in here if you are looking for 5-tight-end play designs and are in need of tearing down your roster to its bones.

While it is not functional, it could make a nice set piece. Putting this on your coffee table for decoration is sure to spark memories of elite offenses and fun playcalls. Do note, though, that although it comes with preloaded quotes, its functionality is so broken that it will refuse to directly answer any of your questions and will almost certainly get dangerously close to insulting you if you try.

We are selling this for $9M obo. We recognize this is a steep price, but memories and status are priceless, even if functionality is shot.

So, if you're looking for a potential investment, maybe it is time to shake the couch cushions and empty the piggy bank for your very own Chip Kelly!

Is Oregon's offense boring? Maybe. But here's why it doesn't matter...

Is Oregon's offense boring? Maybe. But here's why it doesn't matter...

Oregon fans continually comment on Oregon’s “boring” offense this season. This is in large part because fans grew accustomed to the high-flying offense of seasons past that boosted exciting offensive highlights led by former Oregon coach and offensive mastermind Chip Kelly. Those days are long gone, teams caught up to the pace and Oregon’s current offensive approach is less dazzle and more grind.

The Ducks aren’t going to score 40+ points per game.

Thanks to their elite defense, they don’t need to.

In Oregon’s 17-7 win over California, the Duck defense once again came through to keep Oregon in the game, forcing seven Cal three-and-outs and two turnovers.

However, a (slightly) more exciting Oregon offense may be on the horizon.

In coach Mario Cristobal’s Monday press conference, he detailed the importance and desire to complete more explosion plays. Without its starting quarterback, Cal averaged more yards per completion than Oregon (11.2 to 10.7).

"I feel like we are either getting tackled, tripped up in that 11-15 yard range," Cristobal said. "We all know when you have an explosive play, your percentage of scoring a touchdown on those particular drives goes up exponentially. It is a huge goal of ours."

Oregon is averaging 4.5 yards per rushing attempt and 8.3 yards per catch through five games this season. The Ducks rank 47th nationally in passing plays of 20-plus yards.

Coach Cristobal is putting a major point of emphasis on adding to Oregon’s 34 plays of 20+ yards (which includes interceptions, punt returns, kick returns, passing and rushing plays).

[The addition of three explosive wide receivers will help that]

The Ducks aren’t going back to the days of Chip Kelly but they are working on breaking through and achieving more explosive plays (that make fans jump to their feet) in attempt to get more touchdowns on the board.

Beavers look to break out against the Bruins

Beavers look to break out against the Bruins

Is this the breakthrough week for the Beavs?

Let's dispose of all of the usual cliches at the beginning of this post.:

1. Both the Bruins and Beavers need this win badly.

2. Oregon State is so close yet so far this season

3. Chip Kelly looks frustrated in just his second season at UCLA but of course its early in his tenure in Westwood.

Here are a couple of facts that must make Oregon State fans hopeful tomorrow. The Beavers lead the nation in one important catagory.

This is one of those in the weeds rankings but it is meaningful. It is called the SP+rating which combines play-by-play data and drive data of all college football games. Right now the Beavers have the biggest increase in points per game in the nation so far this season.. The are up 15.9 adjusted points per game over 2018. 71st in the nation overall scoring at least 28 points in each game.

 UCLA Coach Chip Kelly has noticed the Beaver offense is pretty loaded:

Many of the Oregon State players are really pumped to play in the Rose Bowl on Saturday. 23 of the players hail from Southern California and very few of them have had a chance to step into one of the nation's most iconic college football stadiums. Redshirt senior Shawn Wilson from Pomona, California told me on Talkin Beavers this week he will need about 35 tickets for family and friends

Others like Sophomore defensive lineman  Isaac Hodgins is just looking forward to finally playing in Pasadena since he grew up in Northern California and has heard so much about it growing up.

Isaac is also excited about how much better the Beaver defense is playing.

The Beavers are 6 and a half point underdogs at the Rose Bowl. The Bruins have a talented running back in Joshua Kelley that will challenge that Oregon State run defense. 80 carries for 321 yards and two touchdowns.  But the Oregon State offense features Artavis Pierce at running back and Jermar Jefferson looks like he is ready to go.

Their starting QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson was injured in the Arizona game but hasn't been ruled out for Saturday. I had a chance to watch his replacement Austin Burton in the final minutes of the 20-17 loss to the Wildcats but he came off the bench and performed well.

The Beavers are 2-2 in their last four appearances at the Rose Bowl. Sean Mannion threw for 379 yards in the 27-20 win in 2012. Jake Luton is off to a solid start for Oregon State in 2019 could be the key despite all of the talk about the running game. One thing is for sure the Beavers would love to score in all four quarters unlike their previous two FBS games when they scored 28 in one half and zero in the other. I would love the final score to be 31-28 Beavers! If they can continue mistake-free football on offense and avoid big time penalties on defense they have a real shot to beat the Bruins.

Coach Smith looks at what challenges UCLA presents to the Oregon State Beavers

Coach Smith looks at what challenges UCLA presents to the Oregon State Beavers


The Oregon State Beavers (1-3, 0-1) travel to Pascendena, CA to play the UCLA Bruins (1-4, 1-1) at 6 pm this Saturday. 

On the opposite sideline will be a familiar foe for Beaver fans: former Oregon Coach Chip Kelly.

He coached the Ducks to two BCS bowl victories and four appearances before leaving for the NFL.

He also never lost a Civil War. Beaver fans would love a victory over Kelly, but getting one will be difficult. 

“They’re dangerous offensively,” said Smith. “They have the potential to score 60 points.” 

Smith thinks his defense has shown progress in his second year as head football coach, but they will need to prove it against Kelly and the Bruins.

UCLA’s offense has struggled at times (9th in yards per game in the Pac-12), but it also put up 50 in the second half against a ranked Washington State team. 

However, Kelly’s offense has appeared different than his Oregon days. He has employed much more multiple tight end sets and does not push the pace as frequently. Kelly has stated he is not running his Oregon offense this year because “that was 2012.” 

[MORE OSU: Beavs alumni on the current team: "A marathon, not a sprint" ]

When asked about how Kelly’s offense has changed from his Oregon days to his current tenure, Smith responded Kelly “knows some offense and has been doing it for a long time”.

Smith discussed how he has studied Kelly’s offense for a long time and still “steals a scheme or two from them."

But the potency of the Bruins’ offense will depend on the health of quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson after suffering an ankle injury in a loss at Arizona last Saturday. Smith doesn’t believe the Beavers will know if he can play until game time, so they will prepare for both Robinsin and his backup, Austin Burton. 

We will need to wait until Saturday for the result, but Oregon State is not taking the Bruins lightly. 

Fate? Destiny? Keanon Lowe's heroics stem from a life full of preparation and integrity

Fate? Destiny? Keanon Lowe's heroics stem from a life full of preparation and integrity

PORTLAND- Keanon Lowe’s recount of how he disarmed a student who police said carried a shotgun into a classroom, prohibiting a tragic shooting at Parkrose High School, is bone chilling.

20 seconds.

Lowe entered the classroom in the Fine Arts building on Friday 20 seconds before the door re-opened and Lowe was face-to-face with an armed high school senior. The former Oregon Ducks wide receiver was faced with a life or death decision.

It’s the third school gun incident this month in the United States. In all three instances, the shooter was tackled; one of the tacklers lived and two died for their efforts.

Did Lowe ever think to run?

“Never,” he said.

“In a fraction of a second, I analyzed everything really fast, saw the look in his face, looked at his eyes, looked at the gun, I realized it was a real gun and then my instincts just took over,” Lowe said.

“I lunged for the gun, put two hands on the gun, and he had his two hands on the gun. The students were running out of the classroom and screaming. I was just making sure the barrel of the gun isn’t pointed towards them or towards me. I was able to wrestle it away.”

Right place. Right time. But to truly understand how the 27-year-old head football coach came to be just three feet from the barrel of a shotgun, you have to go back… The story didn’t start when Lowe, who is also a school security guard, was called to that classroom to take a student back to the office with him, a task he does 30-40 times a day.

The right life experiences and a myriad of decisions led him to be incredibly brave and decisive in a terrifying moment.

The Jesuit high school graduate’s instincts earned him Oregon 6A Defensive Player of the Year as a defensive back while also playing running back and wide receiver as a senior. From 2010-14, Lowe played for the Oregon Ducks and was voted “Oregon’s Most Inspirational Player” by his teammates as a senior. Although he put up plenty of statistics, the first line on his roster profile couldn’t sum him up more perfectly:

“His contributions could not be documented merely by statistics despite looming as one of Oregon’s top three receivers through the first six games.”

Lowe became an assistant on former Oregon coach Chip Kelly’s NFL staffs at Philadelphia and then San Francisco. Lowe's passion to work with kids urged him to leave the NFL. He felt like he had a solid foundation to use the knowledge that he had to take on a bigger role.

The goal was to find his voice as a head coach, help mold the next generation and give them someone to count on.

When he took over the Parkrose football program one year ago, he joined Aaron Fentress and me on The Bridge on NBC Sports Northwest. Call it foreshadowing, call it what you want, but he took the job “to make a difference in the community.”

He’s done just that. Who knows how many lives he saved and impacted on that Friday in Portland. Life prepared Lowe for that moment.

“In that situation, a lot of us would freeze up, or kinda back out and not know what to do,” Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard said of Lowe after giving him tickets to Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. “For him to take that type of stand, and to go and tackle the kid and protect all those people and himself, that’s a real hero move. That’s a big move. That’s big time of him.”

The story doesn’t end after Lowe wrestled and disarmed 19-year-old Angel Granados Diaz . The students rushed out of the classroom, it was just Lowe and Diaz and the emotions that took over. The two had a conversation.

In that moment when anger could have taken over, Lowe chose compassion. 

“He broke down and I just wanted to let him know that I was there for him,” Lowe said. “I told him I was there to save him. I was there for a reason and that this is a life worth living."

It could be argued that Lowe found his voice.

Police arrived, apprehended the student and took him into custody. Diaz made his first court appearance Monday, where he pleaded not guilty to charges of reckless endangerment, possession of a firearm, and carrying a firearm into a public building.

During Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, the Trail Blazers honored Lowe’s heroics. 20,000 fans stood in pride of their hometown hero, while he stood with his hand over his heart. Call it fate or call it destiny, but know that Lowe’s actions derived from a life full of preparation and integrity.

Chip Kelly doesn't get caught up in his feelings during return to Autzen

Chip Kelly doesn't get caught up in his feelings during return to Autzen

EUGENE - UCLA coach Chip Kelly is laser focused on the task at hand, rebuilding the Bruins football program that fell 42-21 to Oregon at Autzen Stadium on Saturday. So much so that returning to site of his greatest professional successes proved insignificant enough to break through his stony exterior. Or so he claimed.

To hear UCLA quarterback Wilton Speight tell it, Kelly, who insisted during the week that he wouldn't get swept up by nostalgia when he returned to Autzen, treated this game like any other. No emotion. No extra desire to win. No misty water-colored memories of the way he and the Ducks were. 

"Xs and Os," Speight said. 

That very much defines the Chip Kelly we all knew when he had the Ducks' humming from 2009 through 2012. He zeroed in on his agenda and did not care what anybody else thought. He didn't have time for feelings or much of anything that failed to give his team an edge. It worked for him at Oregon. Will it work for him at UCLA, a job that comes with a far greater degree of difficulty than the one he was handed with the Ducks? 

How well Kelly did with that chance could be defined by a cool moment that took place before Saturday night's game. 

"I think it was cool pregame that they acknowledged coach Kelly's return and everyone kind of game a standing ovation." Speight said. "He's lying if he says that didn't feel good."

Kelly didn't lie. He did appreciate the gesture from the 56,114 in attendance after long-time public address announcer Don Essig announced Kelly's presence. 

"It was nice," Kelly said. "These fans are awesome. My six years here was an unbelievable experience. This just kind of solidified it."

But that's all the emotion you'll get from Kelly regarding this day. For him, the game will be remembered for the score that ended his team's chances of becoming bowl eligible in his first season at the helm. And it will be remembered for the teachable moments it presented for his young UCLA team that sits at 2-7. 

Kelly simply has no time or emotion or reflection.  

"I don't think that way," Kelly said. "I'm a forward thinking guy. To me it's about the journey. It's not about thinking about memories and thinking about moments. It's about what's next. We've got a lot of work to do to get ready for a good Arizona State team."

That attitude, which lacks in the fuzzy feelings department, is the same one he had when he guided Oregon to three Pac-10/12 conference titles, the national title game, the program's first Rose Bowl win in 85 years and a Fiesta Bowl victory. It's simply who Chip Kelly is. It's partly what got him into trouble in the NFL for reportedly not being able to relate to professional players. He is, at times, so laser focused that he forgets the human side of the game. 

So how could Kelly waste a second feeling good about returning to Autzen where he had so much success when his current team is struggling to scratch out two wins on the season? He couldn't. Doing so would do nothing for the Bruins so why bother?

Kelly said he viewed the game as merely another opportunity for his struggling team to grow.

"We've got a young team that's learning from their mistakes," he said. "A lot of teachable moments from this game."

When asked to give a review of the big picture regarding his rebuild, Kelly said he is too focused on the details to consider where the team was versus where it is now. He called UCLA a "micro operation."

Kelly, who will turn 55 on Nov. 25, left Oregon at age of 49. He's been through a lot since then. He spent four years in the NFL. He's been fired twice. In many ways, he's a different coach than the one that departed Oregon in January of 2013 to take over the Philadelphia Eagles. 

"Older. Grayer," Kelly said. "I think we're all byproducts of our experience. You grow and you learn. That's part of it. I owe a lot of it to here. The experience I had here."

That experience was far different than the one he is in now. Kelly inherited a very good team and a program still on its way up and armed with a strong staff in place that he inherited.

"It was a lot easier transition, I think, because we all weren't new," he said. 

He made the most of the opportunity and won big. But he didn't build Oregon. He merely built a culture that worked. Now he is faced with both overhauling a culture and rebuilding the roster. 

Kelly called that the "fun part."

"No one wants it easy," he said. "And that was one of the reasons it was attractive."

Oregon has about 60 players on scholarship. Many are breaking down. Youth and injuries have created a mess. 

"Baptism under fire," Kelly said. 

Speight said he believes that Kelly has the UCLA program on the right track. 

"I think he inherited a team that has a lot of talent but now he's trying to instill the culture," Speight said. 

Redshirt running back Joshua Kelley said mostly the same.

"We're buying into it day in and day out," Kelley said. "We like where it's heading."

UCLA on paper had little chance to defeat the Ducks on Saturday. But they hoped to win the game for their coach. According to Kelly, his coach cared about this game more than he let on. But when told that Kelly downplayed the significance, Kelley responded: "Whatever coach says. We're going to go with that."

Hmmm...Could there actually be a nostalgic bone hidden within Kelly's body?

What is present is his love of friends. He might not want to reminisce about past successes, but he appears to like to reconnect with old pals. Kelly said he took time this weekend to hang out with former football strength and conditioning coach Jimmy Radcliff, former athletic director and major UO money donor Pat KilKenny, baseball coach George Horton and golf coach Casey Martin, to name a handful. 

"There's a lot of great people at this place," he said. "That's what makes it special."

But apparently, reminiscing about Marcus Mariota, Dennis Dixon and Darron Thomas running his offense, or LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner or De'Anthony Thomas getting loose for touchdowns does not matter enough to make him get all misty eyed while standing in Autzen.  

"I just feel sad that we came out on the wrong end today," Kelly said. 

It is who he is. And that's okay. Chances are, his single-mindedness will one day lead the Bruins into contention.