Bruins head coach Chip Kelly is focused on his players and the season
HOLLYWOOD (News4usonline) – The Novo was home for the Pac-12 Conference Media Day on July 29. The daylong event was full of excitement for both players and coaches. The Pac-12 Media Day was packed with stories and interactions with coaches and players all over the place.
The biggest story of the day was the news buzzing about USC and UCLA leaving the Pac-12 Conference for the Big Ten Conference in 2024. Even though this is not breaking news, this gave reporters one last chance to get the opinion of the two city rivals about the move before conference games start for most teams in September.
“We have 21 players on this current roster that have graduated already, 20 of them are in grad school,” Kelly remarked in his opening statement to media members. “Because of COVID, I think we’re a very old team. That experience I think will really help. We’ve had great leadership from that group of guys.”
Kelly said that the veterans of the team represent what UCLA football is about. On media day, he brought two players from the team including fifth-year senior Stephan Blayock and offensive lineman Jon Gaines. Kelly said the two players are the type of players the Bruins are looking for to best represent the university and the football program.
Both Blaylock and Gaines have been fixtures in the Bruins football program, starting their entire UCLA career and succeeding academically.
“College kids are resilient,” Kelly said. “They just want to play, get up and play. I think we all do the same thing. We don’t want to wait around all day, we just want to get up and play football.”
As exciting as the move to the Big Ten Conference is for the football program, Kelly has his aim set for the current season. Kelly is focused on team building and has no current concern with the recruiting model. The type of players UCLA is looking for does not change, regardless of the conference they play in, he said.
“We’re a developmental university. We need to recruit kids that want to be developed academically, athletically, socially, and spiritually,” Kelly said.
If the Bruins can continue their success into this season, there is no real reason to change their recruiting game plan. It seems the team is ready to play and is on the same page on the field, in the locker room, and in the classroom.
Only time will tell if this older UCLA football team will be at the top of the Pac-12 before leaving for the Big Ten Conference in two years. A new coach in red and gold across town, may try to halt UCLA where they stand this upcoming season. We will have to wait and see.