UCLA football: What the heck is Chip Kelly doing?

Nov 4, 2023; Tucson, Arizona, USA; UCLA Bruins head coach Chip Kelly on the sidelines during the
Nov 4, 2023; Tucson, Arizona, USA; UCLA Bruins head coach Chip Kelly on the sidelines during the / Zachary BonDurant-USA TODAY Sports

After six years with UCLA football and a 35-34 overall record, Chip Kelly has decided to call it quits and go inside his new conference to take a lesser position with Ohio State.

Yes, you read that correctly, Kelly has decided to step down from his head coaching job at UCLA to take the offensive coordinator job at Ohio State. While Ohio State is clearly the more prestigious football program, deciding to step down from a head coaching job to be a coordinator in the same conference is one of the wildest, most head-scratching moves of all time.

What the heck is Kelly doing?

From all accounts, it seemed as if he was turning UCLA around. It took him a few years to get going, but after a 10-21 start with the Bruins, he finished 25-13. He had a solid final three years after a forgettable first three.

It almost felt like he lost his passion this past season in which he was somewhat on the hot seat. His previous three recruiting classes all ranked inside the top 30 but his 2024 group was just No. 59 in the country. It felt like he kind of mailed it in with the 2024 class. And he lost Dante Moore to the transfer portal after believing he was the future of the program.

Maybe he felt like everything was falling apart around him.

Either way, this doesn't make a ton of sense. Taking a lesser position at a better program is just not the norm in college football, especially for a veteran head coach like Kelly who has led multiple major programs in his career. He had Oregon playing for national titles not too long ago.

Did the lights get too bright for him? Did he want to just take the stress off his shoulders? Does he believe that he would be Ryan Day's successor if he were to leave or get fired? Who knows.

All of this is unprecedented but Kelly is doing what he apparently feels is best for him.