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Sunday Morning Quarterback: Chip Kelly Defends Coaches by Throwing UCLA Bruins Under the Bus

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Chip Kelly’s postgame press conferences are usually pretty vanilla which makes what he said after yesterday’s loss to Southern Cal all the more shocking.

UCLA V Utah Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images

Yesterday, the Bruins lost to Southern Cal, 52-35, in a game where the defense was pretty nonexistent.

After the game, UCLA Bruins head coach Chip Kelly met with the media and he was asked to assess the ob his coaches have done with the team.

That’s when Kelly threw his players under the bus.

To be sure, he didn’t drive the bus back over them again and again, but the fact of the matter is that Kelly actually threw the players under the bus when he replied:

I think our staff’s done a good job considering what we have right now.

Re-read that comment one more time please, just so you can get the full force of what Kelly said. He said:

I think our staff’s done a good job considering what we have right now.

That, to me, sounds like Kelly knows that his seat is starting to get warm. It’s a head coach who knows that his rebuilding is not going well and who’s looking to make excuses for the fact that he only has seven wins in 23 games.

These are the words of a coach who has fallen far short of the expectations the fan base had when he was hired two years ago.

It was before Kelly ran off more than thirty players. And, that’s the big reason why Kelly loses almost all sense of credibility when he says that his staff has done a “good job considering what we have right now.” You can’t keep running players out of the program and then come back and complain “what [you] have right now.”

Well, you can and Kelly did. But that comes off as hollow and disingenous given the talent level the program had when he arrived and the talent level the program has now.

Two years into the Chip Kelly Experiment, the team is barely better than it was at the start. Based on the results, it’s clear that Jerry Azzinaro has to go as the team’s defensive coordinator and so does defensive backs coach Paul Rhoads.

Now, Chip’s contract gives him the right to select his staff, but his choices are subject to the approval of the Director of Athletics. That means that Dan Guerrero retains final say over who Kelly can hire and Guerrero would be wise to insist that Azzinaro be replaced.

Kelly continued his comments, saying:

But it’s not an excuse. We have to win. We have to win games and that’s what the bottom line is. So, that’s kind of where we are in this whole situation.

Actually, Chip, an excuse is exactly what it is. You and your staff haven’t won enough games during your first two years in Westwood.

You’ve only got one more opportunity to win this season and, frankly, it’s a game that no one is going to care about.

At this point, it doesn’t really matter if the team finishes the season 5-7 or 4-8. The bottom line is still the same: The team didn’t make a bowl game for a second consecutive season under your leadership.

Changes need to be made and those changes start on the defensive of the ball.

After that, it will be nine long months before the team takes the field against New Mexico State on August 29, 2020. Given New Mexico State’s status as one of the worst team in the FBS, you’ll probably start the season with a win as it would take an amazing effort on the Aggies’ part to beat the Bruins.

Of course, Chip’s defenders will use a season opening win to say, “See! We need to keep Chip!”

But, those of us who follow the program more closely will know that this year’s recruiting class isn’t really any better than last year’s, at least at this point. Thankfully, you’ll be coaching for a new boss next season and he will be looking to make his mark on UCLA right away, which means you will start the season with a really hot seat.

Here’s the video of Kelly’s postgame press conference, courtesy of Jeff Siegel.



Go Bruins.