UCLA football coach Chip Kelly talked to reporters following the Bruins’ 42-14 win over Cal at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, including the performance of quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, the defense’s shutout second half and the meaning of the Senior Day festivities.
Locked in since second half of Colorado game?
Yeah, I think our kids have done a really nice job. You know, we talked about in November you have to practice well and these guys have really practiced well. You have to pay attention to detail and you have to have lower pad level than the teams you play and I think our guys have really done that, so proud of the effort that they’ve put in all season long. You know, we navigated a few injuries early, in the middle of the season but came out of it and for what they did today against that team—you know, that team had over 600 yards of offense last week against Stanford, so it was a challenge for our defense all week long. They had a great week of practice and I thought our defense played outstanding tonight.
Cal came here and beat you on Senior Night in 2019, how does it feel to win this time and send guys out with a win and better vibes?
It’s big to win any game so it doesn’t matter if it’s Senior Night or Junior Night or Freshman Night or first guys coming around, you know, our kids want to play football, want to continue and the cool part about it is we get one more opportunity this season. We don’t know where we’re going or who we’re playing but this group doesn’t have to break up, so this really wasn’t a finality to anything, this was, we went out and played a really good team and I thought our team executed really well tonight.
Dorian in a good rhythm now?
He’s played really well all year long. He got banged up a little bit and probably shouldn’t have played, but that’s how tough a kid he is—he gives you everything he’s got and he’s a special young man [almost chokes up] and people get on him and I don’t know why they get on him because that kid’s a really, really good quarterback and he’s a better person and I’m so happy that he’s playing the way he’s playing right now.
Senior Night festivities before the game, saying goodbye, congrats?
Yeah, we didn’t—and we talked about it last night, it’s something to do for the fans but it’s not for our players, so I’m not saying goodbye to anybody—we’re practicing this week, so we’ve got another three or four weeks with them, so I told our guys, ‘Don’t get too emotional because it’s really not Senior Night,’ you know, the last game we play will be in our bowl game and that will be an emotional time because of the connection with this team, it was good for our fans and our fans have been awesome with these guys and they get a chance to see them off, hopefully our fans will go to the bowl game and get a chance to see them again, but it’s a little bit different feeling when you’ve got another game left.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but you said on the radio this week you'd like to have an extension? Hoping to iron that out with Martin?
I did not go any radio shows this week.
So you were wrong, Ben.
Would you like an extension?
Yeah, I don’t need to discuss my contract with you, so I’m good. I’ve always been good. So I have an agent and he takes care of things and that’s the way it works, so. What’s your contract?
It's indefinite but I've been here for 22 years so I feel confident?
Do you have an agent?
You should. We could market you a lot better. I could hook you up.
I do have a UCLA book though
Do you get all the rights or did someone take it from you?
Publisher has the rights – you're chapter 100, by the way
I would say that we get you an agent and you could get more money from the publisher. We can talk about that afterward, we can do a sidebar.
Brittain Brown unavailable?
I will say that.
He’s close but we’re not going to put a kid in harm’s way and he was chomping at the bit, I know he probably wanted to play, but it was probably the right decision and we got through it without him and I think he’s really close and we’ll be able to see him in the bowl game and our fans will be able to see him in the bowl game and send Brittain out the right way.
Second half turnaround?
Well we came out of the locker room 30 seconds earlier than we've ever come out before. That was a really big deal for us cause we felt like when we come out of the locker room early – and we clocked it, so we have a stopwatch on it when we're in the locker room now – how we get out on the field early, that's a big deal for us. But this team has been really good in the second half. We played Colorado, we were here a couple weeks ago, played Colorado and we were down 20-7 and scored 37 straight points in the second half and I think a lot of it has to do with our conditioning. I'll give a tip of the cap to KB and what he does with our guys and how he trains our guys, but a lot of it goes to our players, how much they invest in what they put into their bodies. And what I mean by that is the nutrition program that we have, that's how they hydrate and how they worry about what their performance is gonna be like. It's kinda high tech with some of the stuff we do, but these guys have eaten it up and it's really shown. Really, I think, the credit goes to our players because they've invested totally in everything that we're doing here and it shows. Our second halves have been really, really good, but we don't – there's not a lot of yelling, there's not a lot of screaming, it's just very analytical. 'Hey, we gotta do this, they did this, let's make a counter to this, if this is what they gotta do, the adjustments are very simple.' We're on a clock – actually on a clock, and so what time do we meet as a coaching staff, what time do we get with our players and basically we touch our toes and go out and play the second half.
Dulcich not like other TEs?
Yeah, I think the thing that's unique about Greg is he still has those wide receiver qualities that he came in with. And he can stretch people vertically. There are some other tight ends that maybe are in-the-box guys and can control the middle of the field, but he can really stretch you on the outside of the field and it's a quality that – we try to get him isolated. One time, they interfered with him, he was running away from the DB, the DB just had to tackle him, that's how they thought to get him down. But to make that catch, keep his toe in bounds is what we've seen from Greg all along, he's just – he's really talented. And the cool part of Greg is in our big games, he's come up. You think about the performance he had against LSU, you think about the performance he had last week and what he did tonight. I'm just really, really, really happy for Greg cause he puts in so much work and – but the cool part about football is you get out of it what you put into it, and he's getting out of it what he puts into it.