Chip Kelly praises Oregon football fans and Autzen Stadium during Pac-12 media day
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — November 3, 2018 is a date circled on many Oregon football fans’ calendars.
Chip Kelly, who led Oregon football to a Rose Bowl title in two appearances and a national championship game as head coach, will return to Autzen Stadium in charge of UCLA. He’s not sure what to expect when he gets there.
“If we don’t have any wins when we go in there [the fans will] be excited,” Kelly said. “If we’re undefeated they’re not going to like us.”
Kelly, who coached the Ducks to a 46-7 record as head coach from 2009-12, says that he doesn’t plan to try and make UCLA a newer version of Oregon.
Come November when the Ducks and Bruins meet, Kelly says he does not expect an easy trip.
“It’ll be difficult to be honest with you — it’s a special place,” Kelly said. “It’s one of the real hallowed grounds of college football. If you’ve ever played a game in Autzen Stadium whether you’re the home or away team, you’ll remember it.”
Kelly’s success at Oregon led him to coach the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers in the NFL, but after unsuccessful bouts in the pros, he returned to the collegiate level with the Bruins this past offseason.
His memories of Pac-12 football brought him right back.
“I love the league,” Kelly said. “… Everybody has a shot when you look at it. If you’re not ready to play every single week in the Pac-12 then you’ve got a shot at getting knocked off.”
That’s what could happen in November between Oregon and UCLA. But, the one thing the Ducks have on their side is the crowd. Even though he’s familiar with the atmosphere at Autzen Stadium, it won’t be easy for his Bruins to battle the crowd noise.
“I know how difficult it is for opposing teams to go in there and win because that fanbase is unbelievable,” Kelly said. “Even though it’s not the biggest stadium in college football, it’s the loudest stadium in college football. It’s going to be a difficult task.”
The chance to play against Kelly will be a unique experience for Eugene native and starting Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, who would have dreamed to play for Kelly during his childhood as a Ducks fan.
“I grew up kind of in the Chip Kelly era,” Herbert said. “It’s definitely going to be interesting to see. I wish him nothing but the best to him at UCLA.”
Follow Shawn Medow on Twitter @ShawnMedow
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