UCLA football coach Chip Kelly talked to the media for the final time ahead of the Stanford game, running through Sam Marrazzo’s return and his relationship with Cardinal coach David Shaw.
Agude leg issue?
Mitchell’s day to day, we’ll see what he’s doing. He went through most of practice yesterday, so.
Something he did in practice, tweak?
Not out for Stanford?
No. Nobody’s out.
Martin Andrus off to the side, status?
Yeah, right now he’s working back to get fully healthy and we expect to see him soon.
Otito and Lake?
Same thing, practiced yesterday and we’ll see how they go the rest of the week.
How do you get running back to where it was first two games?
Depends on what Stanford does defensively in terms of how they’re going to try to deploy their defensive people. You know, we always try to be a balanced attack, but how the game expresses itself, we only have control over one side of that; they have control over the other side of that, so we’ll see how the course of the game goes.
Expect them to implement similar things to Fresno State?
Fresno didn’t implement anything new, they played four three-quarters coverage, which most teams in college football do, so.
Their coverage was nothing you hadn't expected?
What we thought going into the game. No, there was no revolutionary defense we saw last Saturday, so.
Shaw said he would have to adjust to you?
I think everybody makes adjustments off of everybody, I mean you can’t always look at the last couple of games and say, ‘This is what a team does,’ everybody adds new wrinkles for new opponents, so that’s part of the process. David offensively will do some things different when he plays us than he did against Vanderbilt last week and the same thing for Lance on defense—I think there will be some things they ran against Vanderbilt that they don’t run against us. That’s how game-planning for every team goes whether it’s high school, college or the NFL. It changes week to week—no one runs the same exact offense last week that they ran this week, no one runs the same exact defense that they ran, because you’re facing different personnel and different matchups.
Similar coaching styles with Shaw? Tennis match analogy?
Yeah, he’s right. I mean, I’ve always enjoyed competing against David, he’s one of my favorite coaches in football—he’s one of my favorite people. He’s just a quality person and he’s a hell of a football coach and I think a lot of it comes, he’s got an NFL background like I have an NFL background, so there’s a lot of situational work that both of our teams do and that’s the challenge in facing them is that we know this team will be as prepared as any team we play all season long just because of how they’re coached, so that’s going to be a challenge for us.
Two years ago ended Stanford's streak, what does that mean to players?
We don’t ever talk about 11 games in a row because none of these guys were here for the 11 games in a row, so they were excited because we won a conference game on the road against a real quality opponent. We never talked about it during the week, we never talked about it after the game, you know that’s just not how we’re wired, so.
First road game, how do you prepare?
We drove around campus like 16 times in a bus, that’s our practice. You’ve just got to go. We were fortunate to play three home games because of how our out-of-conference schedule fell, we’ll have some kids travel for the first time but it is a veteran team, most of these kids have traveled, most of our kids that are playing were here last year. There’s a couple of freshmen that I think most of their individual position coaches would just talk to them about the protocols, but we keep the same schedule when we go on the road, so we meet at the same time, we eat at the same time, the only thing that’s different is instead of our guys doing it here in our meeting rooms on campus we’ll be doing it at the hotel we’re staying at up in Palo Alto. Besides that, the schedule will stay the same. We try not to disrupt them from that standpoint, so I don’t anticipate any issues.
Ever been in a situation like Stanford going 600 days without home fans?
Nobody has been in that situation, no one's not played an entire – had an entire season but didn't play in front of fans and didn't have the opportunity to play at home. So I think everybody, this whole pandemic is a thing of firsts for everybody so it's just it's a real interesting thing and every day you kind of see a new statistic – it's 600 days since this, it's 500 days since that. It's just part of us getting back into the groove of what it is to be a normal college football team. But again, as we talked about the other day with the COVID variant, the Delta variant out there, you still have to be conscious cause I think I just saw the coach for Western Michigan is out this week because he has COVID. So it's still something we gotta be conscious of, but I don't think anybody's ever been in this situation where – you said 600 days? That's interesting.
Thoughts on Marrazzo's performance? When did you decide he would start?
Sam did a nice job, and Sam's been a starter for us so it's just does he get cleared medically – and he did get cleared medically – and then when the medical rehab is over, then it's the football rehab because he hadn't played, he missed all spring, hadn't played since last fall. We had great confidence in Sam and when we got the go-ahead, we had kinda targeted hopefully maybe we could get him back for the Fresno game. I think he was probably chomping at the bit during the Hawaii and the LSU games, but we're always gonna ere on the side of caution, make sure he was 100% ready to go and I thought Sam did a really nice job for us. So we're really pleased to have him back. And just gives us more depth inside with Jon Gaines being able to play center like Jon did in the first two games, Duke Clemens can play center for us. So between the three of those guys, we feel a lot stronger about our center position.
Sense around the team of wanting to avenge last year's Stanford loss?
No, we're not in the avenge world, we look forward. Again, success isn't a continuum, nor is failure. So to continue to dwell and to talk about things that went on in the past is just a waste of time and so that's what we always try and impress to our players and that's just part of the thing. Going and thinking about last year's game is really, to me, is just a distraction. Now, we watched from last year's game because there's a lot of their guys back and they didn't change coordinators, David's still running the offense, still running the defense. So we'll look at the film and we'll study that and just see the schematical matchups that happened in that game just as they've done the same thing for us. That's how we kind of look at it, but we're not – we don't scratch and claw for motivation to do things and 'This is a revenge game' and all those other things. I just think that's a waste of energy. Again, I'll say it again, success is not a continuum, nor is failure a continuum. Because if success was a continuum, if you win your first game, you win every game for the rest of the season, and if you lost your first game, you'd lose every game for the rest of your season. So that kind of blows that theory out of the water, it's gotta be, 'I have to have a great week of training, we have to have a great week of training to prepare for a really good football team, and that's what we put our emphasis on.
We did it as a staff and we did it all last year too, so it's just a continuum of what we've done.