Yesterday before practice, UCLA football head coach Chip Kelly met with the media. Overall, Kelly seemed pretty pleased with the way Saturday’s game turned out. As usual, Kelly did discuss a few areas where the team needs to improve based on what he saw on film, but he also seemed satisfied with the game for the most part.
Kelly refused to really address the history of the series with Stanford. Specifically, he wouldn’t discuss the fact that UCLA has lost ten games in a row to the Cardinal. Kelly explained his thinking about Stanford:
We don’t talk about history. We’re a forward-thinking operation. So, what happened in the past doesn’t mean anything to us. We’re looking through the windshield, not through the rear-view mirror. So, I don’t care if they’ve won 47 in a row. It really doesn’t affect this team because none of us were here. So, we’re ready to focus on a really good Stanford team, who had an open date last week because their game against Cal was postponed until the following week.
Kelly was also asked about how Stanford’s running game hasn’t been what was expected this year. He quickly dismissed that notion. “If you sleep on Bryce Love, you’re going to get beat by Bryce Love,” Kelly said. “He’s as talented a running back as we’ve faced all year long. Their run game has our attention.”
After practice, Joshua Kelley was still basking in the media attention from Saturday’s game while remaining his usual humble self through it all. Kelley spoke about things like how his family reacted to his big game, what it was like to see the victory formation at the end and what it felt like in the locker room with his teammates after the game with the team singing the UCLA fight song. Despite his success on Saturday, he was still grounded enough to recognize that he needs to keep getting even better and how he needs to work hard to prepare for Stanford. Overall, you’ve got to love his attitude, humility, and personality which just seems infectious.
Krys Barnes also spoke with the media after practice yesterday and he offered his thoughts on the Southern Cal game as well as the Trojan’s last play which he defended and even managed to get his fingers on. He also spoke about some of the injuries he’s been fighting through since the Arizona game. As far as Saturday’s game against Stanford goes, Barnes said, “If we execute, we’ll be ok.”
Then, this morning, Andre James spoke to the media and the death of his father is still on his mind. He spoke about what it was to be like after rejoining the team after dealing with his father’s passing. James said, “It almost kind of distracted me in a good way, just being back there with my normal schedule with them and it was really nice is that I have all the dudes around me and all the coaches...good energy around me and we go out and do what you have to do.”
He also talked about what it was like to contribute to Josh Kelley gaining 289 yards against Southern Cal. James said:
It’s awesome blocking for a dude like that because you know how good of a guy he is on on and off the field and blocking for a back that...you know...even though the hole might not be there, he’s still going to fight and scratch and claw for every inch. So, you want to block for dudes like that. So, that’s a big thing for us as an O-line. We’re just trying to get better each week, no matter the outcome of the game. Just coming out here each week and just working hard each day.
Last but not least, Justin Murphy also met with the media for the first time since undergoing mid-season meniscus surgery on his knee. Murphy returned to the lineup last weekend and was able to play 16 snaps over the course of the Southern Cal game. “I was just really excited to be able to come back for the USC game and bring that victory bell back home,” Murphy said. “It was a phenomenal experience.”
Murphy was asked if he planned to petition for a sixth year of eligibility because of all of the injuries he suffered including this year’s knee injury. Murphy said:
Right now, we have a waiver [request] in with compliance. I don’t know exactly all the details of it, but we have put a waiver [request] in to see if I can get a sixth year and, yeah, we’re waiting to hear back on that.
He also added, “From what compliance has told me they say I have a strong case, but, as you know, with the NCAA just never know.”
UCLA faces Stanford on Saturday at Noon PT.