After six seasons in Los Angeles, it appears that Chip Kelly’s time with UCLA football is coming to an end. It is likely that, after the USC game this Saturday, the Bruins will move on from the head coach.
The news was first reported by 247Sports:
Kelly has coached 66 games at UCLA, and his record is dead even at 33-33 overall and 25-25 in the Pac-12. With one game likely remaining, the scales will tip one way or the other, but it appears that the verdict has already been rendered: Kelly’s time in Westwood has been a disappointment.
The timing of this decision makes a great deal of sense for UCLA. Several schools have already moved stepped onto the coaching carousel, including Texas A&M and Mississippi State, and it appears likely that Arkansas may do so as well. With two weeks still remaining in the season, that list is only going to get longer. As the Bruins prepare to enter the Big Ten next season, they absolutely cannot afford to whiff on this hire or miss out on strong candidates.
What was Kelly’s undoing?
The most disappointing aspect of 2023 has been the play of quarterback Dante Moore. He was a highly touted five-star recruit, and with Kelly’s track record as an offensive guru, this was supposed to be the season that the UCLA offense truly elevated to elite status.
Instead, under Kelly’s tutelage, Moore has been average. He’s completing just 52 percent of his throws and has a touchdown-to-interception ratio of just 10-to-7.
The UCLA offense is 34th in the nation, so the overall production has been there, but the execution has been subpar. The Bruins are 43rd nationally in third-down conversion rate and 46th in red zone conversion rate. The numbers, again, aren’t bad, but it’s not the elite output Kelly is being paid to produce.
There’s also the simple fact of the wins and losses. Not only has Kelly posted a .500 record in Los Angeles, he’s struggled mightily against quality competition. The Bruins are 1-2 against ranked opponents this season, and 6-13 in the entirety of his tenure.
At the end of the day, Kelly had ample time to recruit and reshape a program that was in bad shape prior to his arrival, and while UCLA is in better shape now than when he arrived, there’s still a long way to go.