BERKELEY, Calif. — Chip Kelly hasn’t gotten too caught up in UCLA‘s winless start and doesn’t want his players to, either.
That’s why the Bruins’ first-year coach downplayed the idea of any extra pressure heading into Saturday’s game against Cal at Memorial Stadium.
“It’s all important. We don’t categorize things,” Kelly said. “Maybe that’s to write a story, but that’s not the way we approach things. We’re trying to win every single day, every single week. That’s what our approach is.”
Kelly, who coached the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers from 2013 to 2016, was brought in to help get the Bruins back on track after consecutive losing seasons. Instead, he has been at the wheel for the school’s worst start since 1943, when UCLA lost its first seven on the way to a 1-8 finish.
If there has been a silver lining for Kelly in his rookie season with UCLA, it’s been in the way the Bruins have responded to the situation. Although criticism from the media and some alumni has increased with each loss, Kelly said his players have handled it.
There have been some signs of progress, too.
Freshman quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson is coming off his best game of the season after completing 27 of 38 passes for 272 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 31-24 loss to then-No. 10 Washington. Running back Josh Kelley, a junior transfer from UC Davis, ran for a career-best 125 yards against the Huskies and became the first UCLA running back with consecutive 100-yard games since 2015.
“The players have been great,” Kelly said. “They know they control their attitude and efforts, and their attitudes and efforts have been fantastic.”
UCLA has won five of the past seven games against Cal, including a 30-27 win in 2017 when JJ Molson made a 37-yard field goal with four seconds remaining. But the Bruins haven’t had much luck in Berkeley recently, losing eight of their past nine at Memorial Stadium.