SMQB: UCLA Turned Back the Clock Last Night
It wasn't just the uniforms that looked like they were from a time long ago.
As someone who has been critical when the UCLA Athletic Department has allowed our uniforms to be changed in ways which make us all cringe, I have to begin today’s column with kudos all around to Martin Jarmond and everyone at the Athletic Department and at Nike and Jordan Brand involved with the decision to have the Bruins wear throwback uniforms last night.
From head to toe, it looked like the clock had been turned back to somewhere between 1953 and 1970. Sure, UCLA had promoted the fact that the team would be wearing throwback jerseys yesterday for homecoming, but it wasn’t until you entered the Rose Bowl or turned on ABC’s broadcast that you really got the full effect of the team’s throwbacks.
The Bruins wore solid gold helmets without the traditional UCLA script logo which has a part of the helmet since the 70s. The facemasks were even gray. The jerseys used the Clarendon font and had no names on the back. The team’s pants were pale gold, almost beige, that were typically of that era of Bruin football, but the finishing touch — the cherry on top, if you will — was the black cleats which were worn back then.
It was an absolutely outstanding look which UCLA hasn’t worn in its entirety since they played at Los Angeles Coliseum.
Speaking of the Coliseum, put me down as someone who would completely support the team wearing these uniforms again in three weeks when UCLA plays Southern Cal at the Coliseum. Even though the Bruins won’t play their final Pac-12 game until they host UC Berkeley the following week, it would still be the perfect way to end the school’s final Pac-12 football season.
Sticking to the throwback theme, let’s discuss UCLA’s offense a little. And that’s without getting into Chip’s use of the old T formation which he used again last night on the goal line for the touchdown pass
During the first quarter, the Bruins looked like they were playing in a bygone era. UCLA ran the ball ten times in the first quarter, gaining 58 yards, while they only threw it five times and completing just two passes for two yards.
The second quarter was more balanced, but the Bruins still struggled to move the ball through the air. They ran it 11 times for 76 yards in the second quarter while throwing it nine times and completing seven passes for 88 yards.
So, the Bruin offense looked like Chip Kelly was using a playbook more reminiscent of Red Sanders than 2017 when Jedd Fisch was UCLA offensive coordinator and when the Bruins set the school single-season record for passing yards.
In his postgame press conference, Chip offered an explanation for how he got the team on track and what he said may be the best quote of his time here in Westwood. Chip explained:
It was just holidays. I had to remind our kids that this was Halloween not Christmas and we need to stop giving away gifts and let's just make sure it's Halloween. So, put your scary masks on and let's go play.
This was a very different postgame press conference from Chip. Not only did he offer that quote, but he actually got emotional at the end of the press conference. He was asked what he thought about the size of the crowd and said, “It was awesome.” But then he started talking about the unveiling of the Terry Donahue statue on Friday and that’s when you can actually see him wiping his left eye and hearing his voice crack.
Unfortunately, after composing himself enough, he decided that he had had enough and he promptly declared that he had to go and he got up and left, ending his media session.
Following Kelly, Ethan Garbers and Logan Loya represented the offense while Carl Jones, Jr. and Gary Smith III were there from the defense. But it was really Kelly who stood out following yesterday’s game.
It’s worth noting that it’s taken nearly six years for him to show a more human side of himself. I realize that Chip hasn’t asked me for advice before and probably won’t any time soon, but considering that he has frequently looked like a guy who doesn’t care what anybody thinks, it’s refreshing to see him get a little emotional.
Now, I don’t ever think he’ll go full “Neuheisel Passion Bucket” on us, but, maybe, just maybe, we’ll eventually get to see him say that he cares how many fans show up to cheer on his team.
Here’s the video of UCLA’s complete post-game press conference, courtesy of UCLA Athletics on YouTube: