UCLA head coach Chip Kelly met with reporters on Monday for his weekly press conference and discussed his team’s highly-anticipated matchup with the Oregon Ducks in Eugene.
Here’s a full transcript of everything Kelly said regarding his former school, and how he is preparing for the matchup.
It sounds like you’ve got the fake fun noise ready for practice?
“Yeah. That’s what we normally do when we play away games. … We do it every away game.”
You’ve been back to Oregon a few times now. Is it, ‘Been there, done that,’ or will it always be special for you?
“It’s always special going back there. It’s a special place in my life. There’s a lot of great people there that had a profound impact on my life. But, I’m not playing the game. So we’re totally focused. We get in Friday around 6 and play at 12:30 the next day. We all know what this entails. It’s a business trip, just like any other week.”
Has Oregon changed since the Georgia game, or was Georgia just that good?
“I don’t look at it that way. We just look at schematics and those things. We don’t try to analyze what happened or didn’t happen. We just, ‘How does the three-technique play against the down-block? What kind of twist game do they have?’ Things like that. We try to take the emotion out of it.”
So what do you see from Oregon on film?
“I see a 4-2-5 defense that played a lot of nickel. Played a little more 3-3-3 stack in the Arizona game trying to get three linebackers on the field and get some speed on the field. A really good defensive end in Brandon Dorlus. (DJ Johnson) is really good at the other side. The linebackers are outstanding. Sewell has been a really good player in this league for a long time. Justin Flowe seems like he’s getting back into the flow of things.
“An offense that revolves around the quarterback, who I think is really athletic and can run. He’s the guy you have to stop — with his feet and his arm. That’s what we see when we watch the tape.”
You know Autzen as well as anybody; how would you describe that environment and how hard it is to play there as a road team?
“Yeah, it’s a difficult place to play — just like anything in this league. You go to Washington, it’s hard. Oregon’s hard. I think that’s part of it when you’re playing meaningful games in October is you’ve got to be prepared for crowd noise.”
Are you guys ready for meaningful games?
“Yeah. We’ve already played one and we’ve got another one coming up.”
Where has your team made the biggest strides this season?
“I think we’re right on track for where we thought we would be. Our guys really do every day very well; they understand there’s a consistency to the process. They’ve been really good every Monday. Every Tuesday. Every Wednesday. That’s easier said than done. But I think there’s a consistency to their preparation. That consistency pays off.”
Do you see confidence in them?
“Yeah, but I saw confidence last year in them. It’s not like this is new to us. We had a really good football team last year. We lost two games on the last drive of the game. We’ve got a good group of guys… Our leaders have been around here for a long time and they do a good job of setting the tone every day in terms of what it’s supposed to look like when we’re out there at practice.”
How has DTR grown in the last five years?
“I just think the one love about him is he’s a lifelong learner. He gets better every single day. He’s always trying to get better. He has that mentality. I don’t think he ever thinks he’s arrived. It’s always, ‘Can I get better at this? Can I work on this?’ It’s neat to see his growth over that time. He’s got a world of talent but he’s got to keep working.”
How happy are you that he’s still here?
“We’ve said that before. Both he and (Zach Charbonnet) and the other guys who made the decision to come back, we were excited to have the opportunity to play one more season with them and have the opportunity to help them grow and attain the goals that they’ve set out.”
What does Oregon do really well that you have to prepare for?
“Everything. They’ve got a really good run game with their quarterback but he also has the ability to beat you with his arm. They do a nice job on both sides of the ball schematically. They’re a one-loss team for a reason; they’re a really good football team. So, we’re excited about playing them.”
Have your grad student players helped you learn anything since they’re so smart?
“Yeah. Pythagorean theorem. We discuss them a lot in some of our meetings. It’s interesting, I’ve seen some of those guys get on a board and go through some of those things.
“But no, the one thing that I’ve learned from this group is there’s a maturity to them. You’re not a kid who graduates undergrad — like a Shea Pitts, who graduated here in three years, already has a master’s degree, and is working on a second master’s — if you’re not mature. If you don’t have your priorities in line. I think that’s what filters down to the younger guys in our program; that there’s a certain amount of discipline it takes to be a really good student here. It’s the same discipline that can be applied to being a really good football player here.
“It’s the maturity that those guys bring every day and the example that they set every day. That’s why they do really well. Because there’s a consistency to their performance and a consistency to the mindset and a consistency to the approach.
Have you talked to Jacob about Socrates yet?
“I have not. Jake’s, like, off the charts. When I met him for the first time, he was an applied mathematics major at Harvard, and his mom said she was a little bit disappointed in him. She wanted him to be an engineer and he said applied mathematics is the new engineering.
“He lost me after that. He may be president of the United States someday. So, I always make sure I’m on Jake’s good side.”
Or Chase Griffen?
“Chase could be there. We have a couple of guys who could run for office right now and would get a lot of votes, deservedly so.”
Ale Kaho, is there a chance he could return this season?
“There is, but I’m not the doctor. So, I don’t know when they’ll get him cleared to play. He’s up, running around and we’ll see what happens there.”
How is it different coaching an older more mature team?
“I think you don’t have to worry about things that I think you would with a younger, less mature team. These guys are on schedule. These guys are on time. You don’t have to, quote-unquote, babysit them like I think you have to do sometimes with some younger kids. Just because they don’t know… Our older players do a great job of mentoring our younger players about being where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there. So the little things, I think our older players truly make sure our players understand the little things. Because how you do the small things is how you do all things.
“So those guys understand there’s got to be a consistency in your behavior. A consistency in your mindset. I think that’s filtered down.”