According to Thuc Nhi Nguyen of the Los Angeles Daily News, UCLA head coach Chip Kelly announced today before practice that running back Soso Jamabo and linebacker Jaelan Phillips are both out for the season with head injuries. While the offense seems to be ticking just fine in Jamabo’s absence, the defense will need to keep moving forward without Phillips.
Both players are still eligible to redshirt under the modified NCAA redshirt rule implemented for the 2018 season, which allows a player to appear in up to four games and still retain their redshirt status.
UCLA’s run game has been increasingly productive this season, even with Jamabo suspended for the first two games and not seeing much game action since. UC Davis transfer Josh Kelley has emerged as the number one guy, posting over 100 yards three games in a row, and a career high three touchdowns in last weekend’s contest against UC Berkeley.
In Chip Kelly’s pre-practice interview today, he said the team still has things to work on. He believes we “left yards on the field” when it came to execution and communication in the run game. He also alluded to improvements they need to make on defense, which I have no doubt we’ll see in the coming weeks. We won’t see another opponent with Berkeley’s tendency to turn the ball over, so we’re going to have to create those opportunities ourselves while defending our goal line.
UCLA is still 100% on red zone efficiency, which is insane for halfway through the season. Of course, we leave points on the field when we rely on J.J. Molson for field goals and don’t punch it in for six points. Molson is consistent, but touchdowns are obviously better.
Jordan Wilson left the game due to injury, so substitutions had to be made for the goal line package. Other injuries include Kyle Phillips, who is day to day and not declared out for the season quite yet.
UC Berkeley’s five turnovers came up, and it was asked if it was skill or more luck that played in UCLA’s favor. Kelly was quick to say that our defense created most of that action, including a forced fumble and a tipped pass by Keisean Lucier-South that he caught himself and a another fumbled ball that he was able to scoop up and run in for a touchdown.
Here is the full video, thanks to Thuc Nhi Nguyen of the Los Angeles Daily News: