All the outrage over an old-ish head coach stepping down to take a cushy consulting/coordinating job is a little much. Chip Kelly going from head coach of the UCLA Bruins to running one of the most talented offenses in the country at Ohio State is exactly how I’d want to spend my twilight years if I was a football coach.
Think about it. Chip doesn’t have to worry about a roster full of kids flirting with the transfer portal, who’s getting how much NIL money, or stand in front of the firing squad following losses. Nor does Kelly have to face a younger version of himself at USC annually, figure out the mechanisms of changing conferences, or lobby for his team’s spot in the College Football Playoff rankings. He’s 60 for Christ’s sake.
This is serendipitous for Kelly, who only got the job because Bill O’Brien decided to get back into coaching full-time, and ghosted the Buckeyes to try to resurrect Boston College. After flaming out as a head coach in the NFL, O’Brien spent the past three to four years doing what Kelly is about to do: Run a top-tier group with little to no accountability.
Life as a retread coach is freaking awesome. I wish every washed-up coach had the self-awareness of Kelly. He knows he peaked at Oregon, lost his fastball in Philly, and could probably get one good year out of every four tries in L.A. until eventually, the AD fires him. Why go through all that hard work and stress if it’s clear you won’t get to the promised land as the de facto leader?
Look at Dan Quinn. Sure, he’s going to f—k up Washington, but the past few years running the Cowboys’ defense were the best of his life. He got to sit in a suite, be the cool uncle with his hat on backward, coach Micah Parsons, and fail upward after giving up 48 points to a quarterback making his first career playoff start. That could be Chip in a couple of years if he really wanted it, and who knows if he does.
So stop being so sanctimonious about Kelly allegedly abandoning his team. If anything, he’s doing the Bruins a favor by stepping aside upon realizing his heart isn’t in it. No one wants to work for a boss who’s not invested — unless you’re also not invested, which, in that case, an uninvested boss is the ideal boss.
However, this is college football where the hopes, dreams, and optimism of youth haven’t been suffocated by the dregs of existence. The amount of engagement required by Gen Z is exhausting. No one wants to do TikToks and ham it up for cellphone cameras. Let Kelly kick it in a box, visor unfastened, and draw up plays on cocktail napkins.
It feels like he’s entering his John Daly/Don Nelson phase, where he gets to show up, spout out some catchphrases, and get a ton of credit for simply “still doing it.” Do you know what kind of luxury it is to have someone as above-average as Chip Kelly calling plays? It’s similar to Bobby Flay running your grill station.
Sure, you’d never entrust him with the entire menu, but he can sear the bejesus out of a flank steak when it’s his sole responsibility. Trust me, UCLA, you’re better off with a fresh start.
Patrick Beverley … good lord
On the list of things the Milwaukee Bucks needed, Patrick Beverley was second to last (right ahead of Doc Rivers). Ah, yes, nothing ingratiates yourself to new teammates like grabbing a clipboard and acting like you haven’t been on six different rosters since 2020.
I would say Pat Bev should hang it up, but the longer he’s on a roster the less chance of me having to aggregate his First Take claims.