UCLA football coach Chip Kelly talks to the media about Fresno State’s potent run defense and pass offense, the mindset of his team after a bye and what goes into this week’s late kickoff time.
Help that a lot of guys were here for the 2018 loss to Fresno State? They know what Fresno State is all about?
The first we’ve talked about it, so. Two years has nothing to do with what’s going on now, so. Just turn on the tape and watch the Oregon game, that’s all we need to do, so. We focus on this season and this season only and we’ve got three games to look at Fresno for and we look at the Connecticut game and the Oregon game and the Cal Poly game and formulate your game from there and move on from there, so. Talking about something that happened two years ago is TBU-True But Useless, so we’re good on that.
Who has edge – Fresno State run D or your run offense?
There’s no—we don’t think any edges or anything. We prepare for anything they do schematically and prepare for their personnel and it starts today, it starts with our preparation today. We’re never in a meeting saying, ‘Hey, we have an edge here or have an edge with this.’ That’s not how we look at things; it’s preparing for their schemes both offensively, defensively and special teams wise and then getting that information to our players so our players have knowledge of that and then working on our plan starting today, so that’s kind what our approach is.
We’ll see. It’s a day by day thing that we’ll work on. Sam’s done a nice job progressing and gotten better every day and we expect more out of him every day, but we’ll see as the week goes along.
Fresno State was Dorian's first home start, how much has he grown since then?
I think he’s grown – and regardless of when his first home start was – I think he’s grown since the first game he played and he played against Cincinnati in the opening game of his freshman year because Wilton went down in the second quarter, so that’s the great thing about Dorian—he learns from every experience he has and capitalizes on that—he’s got a great mindset, he’s got a growth mindset in terms of what is presented to him and how can he get better on a daily basis, so I think he’s grown in leaps and bounds since he’s gotten here.
Fresno State QB?
He’s a really, really good football player. He’s dynamic, he’s got a knack for keeping plays alive and I think he’s got a great knowledge of Kalen’s system in terms of what they ask him to do and he’s just a productive football player. We’re going to have our hands full containing him but he’s one of those guys—he reminds me a lot of Russell Wilson when he takes off, I mean he’s taking off looking for touchdowns, so it’s not just, hey, one’s covered, two’s covered, I’m going to tuck this ball in my arm and run, he’s looking to throw the ball down the field for big chunks of yardage and he’s a competitor and he’s tough too. I’ve seen him take some shots and he just gets up keeps playing hard, so we’re going to have our hands full with him.
Good to have a bye week this early?
It depends on – at the end of the year, you can say it's beneficial, not beneficial. We don't control the schedule, that's how the schedule played out, we had a Week 0 game because we played Hawaii, that's an NCAA rule – if you play Hawaii, you can play Week 0. So it is what it is, those are things that aren't in our control, so to speak, so we don't really analyze or look at it that it is good to have a bye or it isn't good to have a bye, I don't know. We'll see at the end of the year was it good, wasn't it good, I don't really know (inaudible).
Fresno State has a couple guys from UCLA – Gates and Akingbulu?
He was here in the spring when I first got here.
What do they bring?
Really good. Alex is a big, physical offensive lineman that we're gonna have to have our hands full cause he's tough, strong at the point of attack. And Elijah played a lot of football for us in the secondary. Love Elijah, he's really done a nice job fitting in there. They've got him playing safety there, does a great job of fitting their run fits but can cover half the field, so I think he can do both things for them. So both those guys, we have a lot of respect for. We're gonna have our hands full with both of those guys too.
Fresno State only lost by 7 to an Oregon team that just beat Ohio State?
I don't care about who won to what, who did what, the transitive process of this game was close, that game equals that thing, we don't talk about that. Just turn the tape on and see how hard they play and how tough they are. So regardless of they won at Oregon or didn't win at Oregon or whatever that is, it's a really good football team. So we don't sit in our meetings and say this score was closer in this game, this team went and beat that team, so that means that this team is that – that's way too complicated for us. It's just turn the tape on, prepare for their schemes and prepare for their players.
UCLA ranked No. 1 public school in the country again, meaning to team and recruiting?
I think they take a lot of pride in that. This is a very difficult school academically, therefore when you graduate from here, the degree you get from here will open up a ton of doors for you. It's about helping you become the best version of yourself, it's something that I think our players here take a lot of pride in, and I think the recruits that we're recruiting take a lot of pride in that.
Energy going into Fresno State?
I think it's good, today's our first day of practice. We had an improvement week last week and I thought they were great. We had Monday, Wednesday, Friday we were working with them and then today we'll just get right back at it. This will be our first real jump in at everything Fresno in terms of our preparation, but the energy was good in meetings and we're looking forward to training today
Preparation change when you have late kickoff?
The game preparation doesn't change, just what our Saturday looks like. So our Monday through Friday will be the same, and then Saturday's just a different schedule cause we do have that late, late, late start. So again, that's something that we don't spend a lot of time on, the start, just cause we don't have any control over that, but this is I think the latest one we'll play, 7:45. We look at it as trying to be positive, so it's a primetime game in the Philippines so let's put on a good shoe for the people in Manila. People on the East Coast aren't gonna see us play, but at least people in Manila waking up Sunday morning will get a chance to watch the Bruins play, so hopefully there are some Bruins fans there.
Trying to crack that Manila recruiting market?
Yeah, actually coach Norwood’s son is playing professional basketball in the Phillipines, so he’ll give us any info if there is anybody out there.
You watch any of the games over the weekend?
Just a few, in and out. I have ADD so I can’t sit and watch a whole football game, so I get some pieces of a few of them.
What’d you think about the Pac-12, Oregon’s win over Ohio State?
I saw some of that game, Oregon looked really strong in that game, they did a nice job. But I don’t see enough and I’m bouncing around to say that I’ve watched this entire game or that entire game. But it was a really good win against a good Ohio State team.
Thoughts on targeting, ejections?
That’s the rule, that’s my thoughts.They don’t ask me. So if that’s the rule, then we gotta play by the rules. Whether you think the speed limit should be 65, if you’re going over the speed limit and you get pulled over, then you get pulled over. You can get on the 405 and drive faster than 65 if there’s no one on it, if you break the rule you break the rule so we just coach off how the officials are gonna interpret that. We understand the rules in place because it’s a safety deal and we get that whole part of it, so to get into what that is and what that isn’t just makes them help us. Whatever the rule is we’ll explain it to our players and make sure we don’t coach tackling that way, so we coach tackling the proper way and make sure we execute it that way
Has enforcement been consistent over the years?
I haven’t studied the amount of targetings and who was in and who was out, so… Usually when we’ve gotten it it’s been some application of the rule, they don’t make it up. It’s not like someone hit with their shoulder and into the sternum and they said it was targeting so usually when we get a targeting penalty it’s because of what the rule is interpreting and that’s what our player did.
Have you seen a kicker get thrown out for targeting like USC on Saturday?
I didn’t see… he did? I didn’t see that. The answer is no because I didn’t see that play either. Was it targeting?
So the guy targeted and got penalized for targeting and then he’s out of the game so…
Because it was the kicker on the opening kickoffYou stay around this game long enough, you see a lot of different things.