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UCLA Football: Bruins Look Forward to “California State Championship” Game

Having beaten UC Berkeley and Southern Cal, UCLA faces their final California opponent in the Stanford Cardinal and Chip Kelly has told his players it’s the “California State Championship” game.

NCAA Football: Southern California at UCLA
Christian Pabico is one of this year’s seniors who will play his final game at the Rose Bowl on Saturday.
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thanksgiving, Bruin fans! I just want to quickly share yesterday’s pre- and post-practice videos with you since yesterday was the last day of any media interviews prior to Saturday’s game against Stanford.

As has been the case all season long, Chip Kelly met with the media prior to the start of practice. Coach Kelly touched on a whole host of topics yesterday. Of course, he discussed David Shaw and the Stanford football team, but he also explained his “focus on the small things” approach that the coaching staff has stressed all season.

Kelly also addressed the fact that this will be the last game for the team’s seniors. While the senior class is small, Kelly seemed appreciative of the leadership that those guys have provided for the underclassmen.

He also was asked about the process for the underclassmen who may be interested in going to the NFL. “I’ve never weighed in with anybody on ‘You should stay.’ [or] ‘You should go.’ That’s not my decision,” Kelly said. “That’s their decision. Our job is to educate them and get them all the information that they need to make the proper decision.”

The media seems to be asking Kelly more questions over the past few days about Kelly’s recruiting philosophy. On Monday, he was asked if he had been out to any high school games earlier in the season to which Kelly replied that he hadn’t been to a high school game this season. Yesterday, he was asked about if he planned to focus on potential graduate transfers because of the success UCLA has had with Wilton Speight and Justin Murphy this year.

Kelly dismissed that idea by saying that his focus was just on building the best recruiting class the coaching staff could possibly get.

Hopefully, the win over Southern Cal and the firing of Mike MacIntyre at Colorado can help improve what remains an underwhelming class so far for the Bruins.

Both videos today are courtesy of UCLA Athletics.

After practice, Caleb Wilson also met with the media. Wilson ranked Saturday’s win over Southern Cal as the second best win of his career behind the Texas A&M comeback from last season because the A&M game was “probably one of the most historic comebacks in college football history.”

Wilson was non-committal about whether he plans to comeback, saying that he was just focused on Stanford right now and would think about the future after this week’s game. He said he will probably file for a draft grade and talk to his dad who’s a coach for the Eagles because his dad will be honest with him when it comes to making that decision.

He concluded by saying that he has no plans to go through Senior Day ceremonies on Saturday.

Christian Pabico was the other player who was interviewed yesterday. He spoke some about his career at UCLA and how it was nice to get the win last week against Southern Cal after the past three years as well as how he’d like to get a win over Stanford as well.

“Coach Kelly has kind of made that point that this is like kind of the ‘California State Championship’ we’ve beaten Cal and we’ve beaten the SC,” Pabico said. “So, Stanford is going to be the last opponent that we’ve got to beat to kind of take control of California if you could say that.”

It’s nice to hear that Coach Kelly is calling the Stanford game the “California State Championship” because beating the three other California schools will definitely help the program with recruits in California, at least.

Finally, today, we have a bonus interview. It’s an interview Mike Yam of the Pac-12 Networks did with UCLA’s newest Bruin legend Joshua Kelley for Inside Pac-12 Football.

The best part of the interview is how Kelley talks about how his mom was his training partner and how she helped him train in the offseason. It’s really good stuff.

Thanks again to UCLA Athletics for sharing all three of today’s videos.

The UCLA Bruins face the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday at Noon PT.

Go Bruins!!!