The second season of Chip Kelly at UCLA starts well



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This was not supposed to be the same UCLA football team that won three games last season.

This was not supposed to be the same group of youngsters who fought in the new system of the famous coach Chip Kelly.

Charging in Nippert Stadium for the opening of the national televised season Thursday against Cincinnati, this version of the Bruins promised that they would be different.

Of course, they were.

They were – gulp – worse.

Their performance in a 24-14 loss to the American Athletic Conference Bearcats was so unsightly that stadium listeners said goodbye to them playing "California Love".

The defeat was so complete that hordes of fans in black shirts sitting over the Bruins' locker room door did not let themselves be trolled, instead choosing to stare at the conquest as they walked away from them. Another nightmare.

Last season, this space had questioned Kelly's early impact after he began his career at UCLA with a nine-point loss to Cincinnati at the Rose Bowl.

Now, a year later, same opponent, worse loss, and what am I supposed to write? How are Bruins fans supposed to feel? What exactly does Chip Kelly do and when will he start claiming the $ 23.3 million he gets to do it?

"Every loss is disappointing, I do not quantify them," Kelly then said in a tunnel filled with blue-clad children silently clad in the bus.

Except that this one was particularly disturbing, because this game was supposed to be remarkably promising.

Cincinnati midfielder Michael Warren II is upset by UCLA defensive back Stephan Blaylock.

Cincinnati second-half Michael Warren II is defeated by UCLA defensive back Stephan Blaylock, who beat Elijah Gates in Thursday's game.

(Associated Press)

It would be the party for quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who had spent a season under Kelly's orders and was now ready to use this education to …

Nope. It's not happened. He dropped the ball twice, threw two interceptions, saw his four turnovers lead to three touchdowns and made only eight passes out of 26.

"It's obviously very disappointing, not just because we did not win, but to see the faces of these guys in the locker room," Thompson-Robinson said. "We work very hard and I care so much about these guys, and seeing their faces is really disappointing."

It was also a demonstration of the offensive growth of all under Kelly: the Bruins would finally start to look like these great teams of Oregon and …

Nope. It did not happen either. UCLA won just 218 yards and only 62 yards (1.7 yards per run) with a floor game that stubbornly used underdimensional receiver Demetric Felton instead of injured Joshua Kelley.

Where was this famous attack from Chip Kelly in a hurry? Where is the speed? Where is the disappointment? What about innovation?

For the second consecutive season, the Bruins' offensive seemed lost and confused and eventually slowed down. Kelly had a year to leave his mark on this team – where is this brand?

"It's a good test for you. I hope you build from here, "said Kelly, noting that the Bruins have 87 freshmen and sophomores in the team. "Let's hope they grow from this experience, that's what it's about."

Congratulations to Kelly for answering patiently and amicably all post-match questions, but, God, are not these answers the same as those we've heard over the last year?

It was also supposed to be a game that highlighted the improvements made by a defense that had lost a full-time starter, these Bruins showing how they fed on Kelly's famous discipline and …

No again. The Bruins allowed the Bearcats to win 417 yards on tarmac and passes to receivers who seemed to spend the game in the open. It was as if they could not make any adjustments.

Throughout the night, facing Luke Fickell, the boss of the rising Cincinnati star, it was as if Kelly's crew was – let's face it, completely overworked.

Kelly continues to advance the discourse on youth and development. Maybe at the end of this second season, it will start to make sense. But now, it looks like a tired sequel.

UCLA receiver Chase Cota scored a touchdown against Cincinnati in the second half of the Bruins' loss on Thursday.

UCLA receiver Chase Cota scored a touchdown against Cincinnati in the second half of the Bruins' loss on Thursday.

(ASSOCIATED PRESS)

"I've seen a ton of these guys grow up," Kelly said, adding that her kids were thrown into the deep waters by opening up on the road against a team of 11 wins last season. "Nobody drowned, no one fell to the ground today, two guys were not swimming as they should have been swimming, but it's our coaching job to get them back on track."

They had better start making serious splashes. After the opening match of the Rose Bowl against the state of San Diego on September 7, who wants to guess the number of empty seats? – The Bruins welcome Oklahoma, a very well ranked country.

This is not a good start for a coach who already has 10 defeats in a game in his second season. Jim Mora lost his 10th game in his third season. Terry Donahue only lost his 10th game in his fourth season.

Yes, the Bruins were injured Thursday by the absence of their two best offensive players and their best defender, Kelley, Theo Howard and Darnay Holmes having not played. But Cincinnati lacked his best defensive player in safety James Wiggins, and it's hard to believe that Kelly's teams can not match the Bearcats in depth.

This game hurt the Bruins from the first moment, when Thompson-Robinson, who had the ball for the first time, lost the ball on the nine-meter line in Cincinnati.

This game hurt the Bruins in the final moments, when Thompson-Robinson lost another deep breakthrough in the Cincinnati territory to win.

This game will continue to hurt until the Bruins can prove that they are not headed to another debacle 3-9, how much maybe Kelly can start to prove that his hiring at UCLA will live up to fashion.

"We always preach," Let's move on to the next play, "said Thompson-Robinson." So-what-now-what kind of agreement. "

Do not agree with the "So what?"

All in the "now what?"

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