UCLA’s Chip Kelly Praises Lincoln Riley’s New Rival

20 Apr 2022 | 08:48

LOS ANGELES – When Chip Kelly was making a name for himself in Oregon more than a decade ago, a 28-year-old freshman assault coordinator was taking notes from around the country.

It was Lincoln Riley, a name that would soon become famous in college football as he coached in Oklahoma and – 12 years later – played Kelly in Los Angeles at USC.

Call it a cliché full-circle moment, or maybe just an East Carolina youth coach studying what was new in college football at the time: high-paced viral offense Kelly’s revolutionary has created a scoring machine in Oregon.

“Obviously they did an uncomfortably phenomenal job at the time,” Riley said of Kelly last week. “They did some really unique things, especially in the running game and in terms of pacing and all that. He is absolutely someone you have watched from afar and admired. I have always had a lot of respect for him inside and out. ”

Riley has just started his career as a coach, serving as offensive coordinator at East Carolina from 2010 to 2014 until he joined the Oklahoma staff. Riley said he admires Kelly’s offense that took the college football world by storm in the early 2010s, and that he “fully takes note” of Kelly’s conspiracies.

“It just means I’m old,” Kelly joked when asked Tuesday about Riley’s praise.

Kelly, at 58, two decades older than Riley, added that respect is mutual and said Riley has “made a huge impact on college football,” with a 55-10 record in five years at Oklahoma including mentors such as Kyler Murray, Baker Mayfield and Jalen Hurts.

“I have a lot of respect for Lincoln,” Kelly said. “I think he is a great coach. I admire him.”

By 2015, Riley had taken over from Bob Stoops as head coach of Oklahoma, while Kelly was struggling to transfer the success of his college to the NFL. When Kelly returned to the Pac-12 in 2018, Riley and his Air Raid’s aggressive offensive behavior were in the middle of a race for dominance with the Sooners, which led to USC exploiting him to revive the chapter. its submission this season.

“He’s someone I’ve always admired in the business,” Riley said of Kelly. “He has done an extraordinary job. We had a great time together and had the opportunity to socialize, so I hope that continues. ”

The two have faced each other as coaches twice, with Riley winning both games when UCLA played Oklahoma in the home and away series in 2018 and 2019.

Now, the two are in the same city but in different positions: Kelly is looking to build on his best season with UCLA in his fifth year, and Riley is hoping to start over at USC.

Riley’s recruitment at USC and the roster overhaul that followed may have stolen some of the season thunder from UCLA, the first time in Kelly’s tenure with the chance to build a winning season with some bridges. The key player is back.

Kelly wasn’t too concerned about last week’s comment about Riley’s use of the “next level” transfer portal this season to bring in 13 transfers – including bringing in quarterback Caleb Williams from Oklahoma.

“I don’t know what you mean on the next level,” Kelly said, adding that every team in college football uses a transfer portal and that players should have a choice about where they want to play.

Kelly then pointed out some of the players he signed with the portal: Zach Charbonnet, Obi Eboh, and Cam Johnson. Perhaps it was a subtle shrug of what his new rival coach was doing.

But don’t expect much of a back-and-forth between Kelly and Riley in the future, with Kelly welcoming him into the Pac-12 coach’s fraternity.

“The good thing about this league is that there are good coaches everywhere,” Kelly said. “(Stanford’s) David Shaw, (Utah’s) Kyle Whittingham, Lincoln – there are a lot of really good coaches in this league and you have to be ready every week. I think Lincoln is a real football coach. “