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Sunday Morning Quarterback: UCLA Football’s Chip Train Has Become a Train Wreck

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“Give it time,” they said. “It will get better,” they said. “It’s a total trainwreck!” I say.

Oklahoma v UCLA
How bad have things gotten at UCLA under Chip Kelly? So bad that he needs a police escort off the field.
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The following events are real. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Yesterday’s trip to the Rose Bowl was an absolute nightmare for me. Things started out fine. The car was loaded and we were on our way, probably about 45 minutes later than planned, but we had planned to leave early enough for plenty of tailgating.

We got on the 118 Freeway close to our home in Simi Valley and started travelling east towards the Rose Bowl. On the far eastern edge of Simi Valley, the unthinkable occurred.

Going up the Santa Susanna Pass, right near Rocky Peak Rd., our car suddenly started to slow down. Stepping on the gas didn’t help. It only revved the RPMs of the engine. I adjusted quickly and started to move from the far left lane across four lanes of traffic with my emergency blinkers on. Then, just a few hundred feet from the LA County line, the car came to a halt.

Fluid came pouring out from somewhere under the engine. The car was dead. It was about 20 minutes after Noon. I grabbed my cell phone and immediately called AAA. Thankfully, the car came to a stop right near one of the freeway call boxes. So, I gave AAA my exact location based on the call box number. It should have been simple enough. They were even going to contact CHP and get an officer on the scene for us.

A few minutes later, they called back and said they were “having trouble finding me.” Of course, I was like, “What do you mean CHP can’t find me? I gave you the number of the call box we’re stopped at!?!” I opened the call box and immediately got a hold of the Highway Patrol. They knew exactly where I was and quickly dispatched an officer to the scene.

We waited.

And waited.

For more than an hour and fifteen minutes, we were stuck there despite being a “high priority call” because we were on the freeway. I even saw an RV drive past at one point with the Four Letters on the back. “Wait! Come back and please take us to the Rose Bowl!” I thought to myself, knowing full well that making it to Pasadena by kickoff was in jeopardy.

Finally, about a quarter to two, Northridge Towing showed up and towed the car back to a shop in Simi Valley while a friend of ours picked us up so we could get back home. When we got back home, we grabbed my wife’s car, drove it back over to the shop, quickly transferred most of our tailgating gear to her car and we were back on our way to the game.

We got parked about a half-hour before kick-off but still didn’t make it inside by game time because of the slow process of going through security.

So, after all of yesterday’s issues, we did finally get to our seats to enjoy the game as much as possible.

By now, I’m sure you’re wondering, “But, Joe, what exactly does this have to do with the game inside the white lines?”

My answer is everything.

When the car that died on the freeway was brand new back in 2008, it drove really well and it got relatively good gas mileage, too.

In 2008, Chip Kelly was the offensive coordinator for the Oregon Ducks. His offense was high-powered and gaining great yardage.

But, in 2019, much like my car, Kelly’s offense is completely broken. It’s working about as well as the car was yesterday. That car was not capable of getting us to the Rose Bowl yesterday.

After 15 games, it is apparent to almost every Bruin fan that Chip Kelly is not capable of getting the UCLA Bruins to the Rose Bowl.

At this point, I’m off the Chip Train.

Actually, I was one of the few, if any, who cautioned against hiring Chip in the first place.

Regretfully, I made the mistake of getting on the Chip Train once he was officially hired. I bought into all the hype once the deal was done.

I allowed my opinion to be swayed by the optimism that accompanied Kelly’s hiring, but the bottom line is simple. My original thoughts have proven to be right.

At this point, Kelly has done so much damage to the future of the UCLA football program, through a combination of having talented players leave the program and his failure to replace them by successfully recruit quality players, that it’s going to take years for UCLA to recover from Chip’s trainwreck.

Frankly, Kelly should resign. He’s already been paid more than he fraudulently deserved.

And, if he won’t, then Dan Guerrero needs to get out of the way and announce his retirement so that a new athletic director can go about fixing the mess that UCLA football has become under his 20-year watch.

Sure, Chip Kelly is an accomplished coach, but the only thing he has accomplished in 15 games at UCLA is destroying the roster, much in the same way Karl Dorrell did. The biggest difference is that Kelly has done it in 15 games while it took Dorrell 62 games to do it.

Finishing the story I started with, I still don’t know what’s wrong with the car. I don’t know how much it will cost to fix it. I’m pretty sure that it’s going to be expensive to fix. If it’s too expensive, I may replace the car.

It’s gotten too expensive to keep Chip Kelly. It’s time to replace him, but it’s also time to replace Dan Guerrero, too. Gene Block needs to step up and tell Dan that his coaching buyouts have gotten too expensive. Let Dan announce his retirement. Start the search for a new AD immediately. Let the new AD hire the new head coach.

I’m hoping my car is fixable, but I won’t know until later today or maybe tomorrow. I am certain that UCLA football under Chip Kelly is not fixable. At this point, it’s too expensive for UCLA to keep Kelly, even with his $9 million buyout.

It’s time for Guerrero and Kelly to both go.


Go Bruins.