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James Williams, OC Register UCLA Reporter

JR Sports Brief / JR
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March 8, 2024 9:06 pm

James Williams, OC Register UCLA Reporter

JR Sports Brief / JR

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March 8, 2024 9:06 pm

James Williams joined JR to discuss the reaction to Chip Kelly leaving for Ohio State and the state of UCLA heading to the Big Ten next season. 

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It's that time of year. Cash the Ticket.

Jim Costa with Mike Valenny. We shift the focus from football to college hoops. Playing that system that's not a system but sure plays like a system leading up to the tournament. We're looking for that value with the daily dimes. We look for the gross lines. Getting us ready for the tournament where we're going to break down all the matchups and have an eye on some future plays too.

This time of year, baby. Search Cash the Ticket on the Odyssey app or wherever you get your podcasts. James, how you doing, man? Thank you for taking the time to hop on. No worries, man. I appreciate it. Thanks for having me on and hope you're doing well. I am, man.

Thank you so much. I guess first question out of the gate. What's your reaction to the comments made by Chip Kelly of not wanting to have the same responsibilities? And what's the overall vibe from UCLA fans after his comments?

OK. Yeah, no. Good question. That's the best kind of a big question there. So my reaction to kind of just what Chip Kelly said, you know, I went back and listened to it two or three times. One, I just couldn't do it anymore because I had been covering Chip Kelly. I covered him in your other than the first year at UCLA. So it was kind of a lot of the same jargon and stuff. He says every other time. But it was more so that he finally kind of admitted what a lot of us, especially those in the media that are covering the day to day for UCLA football, I've always kind of thought or been able to point to and say, you know, the recruiting wasn't always there.

They're missing holes here. Probably kept on some of his assistant coaches a little bit longer than he should have. So none of it was really surprising, I think. I think the most surprising part was he kind of admitted that he wanted just to kind of take a step back from that head coaching role and just call plays. I think that's where he fits in best as someone who's just calling plays, running an offense and having fun.

And I think that's kind of what he alluded to in his press conference. Now, if you ask the fan base, they're just as excited as Chip Kelly is for him to leave and move on just because they've been waiting for something new. They weren't happy with the recruiting, even though they did have a year or two. I believe that was, I guess, 2021 looked pretty good for them. They did beat LSU. I know they had some injuries and stuff going on that year as well. But, you know, they've had some some decent success, but nine wins doesn't cut it at UCLA. Apparently they're looking for 10 wins or more. And I don't even remember the last time they've had 10 wins.

It's been a good while. But the expectations were high and they just weren't happy with what Chip Kelly was doing there. But I also think we'll never get the full story, at least not anytime soon, on what the real beef was between Chip Kelly and maybe the administration. There's just kind of a lot of different stuff going on behind the scenes that I think played a part in it. Other than what Chip Kelly is saying of, hey, I got to coach the quarterbacks for the bowl game for two weeks and had the time of my life.

I'm sure that's part of it, but there's probably a little bit more to it. James Williams is here with us. Covers UCLA for the Orange County Register. You talk about the fan response. I don't want to say it was shocking, but it was like, hey, they've replaced him with Deshaun Foster. We know he's brought in Eric Bienemy. Is Eric Bienemy going to be a shadow coach? Are people confused about this?

Down here, no, not necessarily. I think it's kind of interesting because Chip leaves and I think a lot of people are upset because of the time in which it finally happened. The coaching cycle, or at least that big part, majority of the coaching cycle had already come and gone. The administration said they went about, spent a couple days telling the players, hey, give us 72 hours.

We'll go ahead and find somebody. Supposedly they went to Mexico and talked to P.J. Fleck from Minnesota and whatnot. The players made it very clear the moment Chip Kelly was locked out the door and the A.D. and Martin Jarman came in and kind of addressed what's going on going forward. The players said, we want Deshaun Foster. A lot of people thought that was maybe still kind of out of reach, just fans and whatnot.

They were a little disappointed because they were kind of aiming high as well with all the what-ifs. Deshaun had just taken a job as the running backs coach for the Las Vegas Raiders just a week before, and a lot of people thought that was a pretty significant blow just because he is a Bruin alum himself and they thought he was kind of the backbone. I think it really showed, at least with the players, on wanting Deshaun. If you go back and look at the video when he was announced and brought into the meeting room there, the players swarmed him and embraced him.

It's a new era in a way. At least it's a good time right now, but it could also be kind of dangerous when the administration is listening to the players and saying who they want as coach, rather than maybe taking a, hey, this is the guy we need to move forward kind of approach. So I think Deshaun fosters a good pick, but is also a gamble as well because he doesn't even have any coordinating experience, let alone head coaching experience. Well, James, when you talk about someone who's going to be joining him out there as well, it's Eric B. Enemy.

Eric B. Enemy, I don't want to say he's going backwards, but he's kind of making a slow little bit of return here to UCLA. And what is his role expected to be, and were people kind of like taking aback that, oh, is he going to be whispering a lot into his ear? What role is he going to play?

Yeah, I'm sure. You know, he was named offensive coordinator, but also associate head coach. I'm sure he'll have a say.

Again, Eric B. Enemy himself hasn't necessarily been a head coach, even though he's kind of, you know, been interviewed and been through the process. A lot of people think he should be head coach to some degree at the NFL level. Maybe a little bit of a step back, but maybe also a chance to kind of prove himself at that level. And I think as Andy Reid said, maybe even an opportunity for him, if an NFL opportunity to be a head coach doesn't come along, maybe there's something in the cards for him kind of going forward at the college level. So I think he'll have a little bit of a say, but I think it's also just kind of refreshing from the standpoint of you don't have Chip Kelly, who is the head coach and the offensive coordinator. And it's kind of like, you know, there was really no blame on any other guy other than Chip Kelly, especially when it came to the offense, let alone the whole team.

But now you're going to have a guy who can just focus on the offense with Eric B. Enemy, a guy who has experience, a guy who's worked with the likes of Travis Kelcey and Patrick Mahomes and a lot of these other guys. And I think also on the recruiting trail, that may help a little bit too, where you can, and I think there was even a video where he was wearing the Super Bowl ring when he showed up to Westwood and kind of introduced himself to the rest of the coaching staff. He had that Super Bowl ring on, so I think that will be out on the table when recruits come by and they're trying to woo some of these offensive guys to come play at UCLA.

But, you know, he's familiar with the area. He's a local guy, played high school football here in Southern California, not too far from UCLA. Also was a running backs coach back in the day, way back in the day, and also had some experience as a recruiting coordinator.

Obviously the recruiting landscape has changed quite a bit since then. So again, a little bit of a gamble just because you don't know what it's going to mean for the recruiting and the long term future for UCLA football. But for the meantime, at least you have a guy who's focused directly on the offense. And again, a guy like Deshaun Foster who can just dial in on everything that goes with the day-to-day for a college football coach as the landscape continues to change week after week, day after day, as it seems to be heading. James Williams is here with us. The JR Sport Reacher on CBS Sports Radio follows UCLA for the OC Register. You talk about the impact that Deshaun Foster and Eric Bienemy are going to have, you know, on recruiting. We know that Chip Kelly left the late in the game. What is this team going to look like next year on the field? Yeah, so that's kind of a good question.

It's something I've been thinking about. It's kind of interesting because normally when you have these coaching, you know, you have these coaching changes and whatnot, you have a guy who leaves and you have some of his players leave. Maybe they join him at that program. The new coach comes in. He has guys from another program. They come over to this new program. None of that happened.

None of that happened at all. It was kind of weird because you would have thought someone would have entered the portal, but no one entered the portal who didn't already enter the portal right after the season ended. So they're going to have a lot of guys back. They're going to be familiar with each other. I think the one thing is they're really going to have to kind of get dialed in to what the new operation is going to be under Deshaun Foster.

I don't think it will change too much right away. But when you bring in a lot of new faces like they are with Eric Bienemy, for example, he's going to bring in some of his offensive coaching staff. There's been some names thrown out there, but nothing officially in terms of other assistant coaches. So there's going to be a lot of unknown from that standpoint and kind of what they're going to be able to kind of piece together here when it comes to the players and some of this coaching staff. But I think just the guys in the locker room, I think it's going to be kind of business as usual. Again, they wanted Deshaun Foster.

They know what to expect from him. So I think overall they'll be okay. Now, will they be winning eight or nine games this season?

No, I don't think so. And I think obviously for a first year coach, let alone a guy who has no head coaching experience at all, you know, there may be some bumps in the road as expected. It's a crazy tough schedule.

When LSU is a non-conference opponent, you're going to be playing Penn State on the road and a lot of the other things that come with now being a Big Ten team. So it's going to be an interesting year, but I don't think it's going to be a great year. But I think it'll be a step in the right direction. At least fans are excited at the what ifs and what could be here in the near future.

James, that was going to be my next and final question to you. Talk about the change off of the field as they're now going to be a member of the Big Ten. There's changes in travel. There's changes in competition. There's a whole lot of changes. How is being a part of the Big Ten going to affect the program as an overall?

Yeah, it's still kind of interesting. I think a lot of people in the UCLA community seem to be excited but thought that there will be a little bit more money coming in. There's been at least some sort of debt with the athletic department there for UCLA. And I think over the next coming years, they'll be able to kind of recoup some of that and be in a good standing. But yeah, there's still a lot of issues with the traveling and stuff that I think still needs to be figured out. I've talked to Martin Jarmon, the athletic director, over and over and he seems like, yeah, we're in a good place with how things are going to go. And I'm like, okay, we'll just have to wait and see. But again, I think it's just all interesting timing.

I thought Jim Kelly was going to stay around another year or two and kind of be that guy who overlaps and kind of helps get them to the Big Ten and get comfortable at least. But now you're just changing everything. So think about it this way.

You were already trying to figure out travel. How are you going to work out mental health for the players, academics for the players as they're traveling and doing all this stuff? But then you add a new coaching change on top of that, a new offense more than likely. So they're going in cold turkey with a lot of this stuff and it's going to be interesting how it plays out. Again, it's not going to be pretty. Maybe not year one, maybe not year two. We'll see how things look in year three and year four.

They're losing some talented guys that are going to be going into the NFL, including Leal Chulachi, who's going to be a first round pick. So there's going to be some holes that they're going to have to kind of fill in. But it's kind of what what needed to be done at the end of the day.

Just rip off the Band-Aid and and they ripped it off pretty fast with everything that's going on. Well, James, if any of the remaining students need help with their homework, just send them my way. I can help them out, OK? All right.

I'll send them your way. But, you know, there might be a few people. But again, they're smart folks over there.

It's the number one public university. They'll continue to tell you over and over when it comes to those sending in applications. So, yeah, I'll be sure to send them your way. Yeah.

Listen, they're going to be doing so much traveling. I'm just trying to help out where I can. Where can people follow you and all your great work keeping up with UCLA?

Yeah. Real quick. Follow my work. I'm over at OC register dot com for all of my articles the day to day when it comes to practices and whatnot. You can also follow me on Twitter at JHW Reporter and also at the Believe in UCLA football podcast, where we continue to talk about UCLA with former linebacker Josh Wood.

So much change going on. James, appreciate the time. And we'll talk to you down the line, hopefully with some good news. OK, from UCLA. All right. Thanks, my man. Sounds good.

Looking forward to talking to you in the future. It's that time of year. Cash the ticket. Jim Costa with Mike Valenny. We shift the focus from football to college hoops. Play in that system that's not a system, but sure plays like a system leading up to the tournament. We're looking for that value with the daily dimes. We look for the gross lines, getting us ready for the tournament where we're going to break down all the matchups and have an eye on some future plays, too. This time of year, baby search cash the ticket on the Odyssey app or wherever you get your podcasts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-08 22:33:45 / 2024-03-08 22:40:09 / 6

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