Chip Kelly speaks up about Ohio State football move.

At the end of the day, Chip Kelly just wants to focus himself solely on coaching football and coaching football only. Kelly raised that point as a major reason why he made the surprising move to leave the UCLA Bruins as the program’s head coach to become the offensive coordinator of the Ohio State football.

“I just want to coach football,” the new Ohio State football offensive architect said to Joe Klatt of FOX Sports during the Buckeyes spring game (h/t Steve Samra of On3).

“And I think in this day in age, things are changing. And I coached our quarterbacks in our bowl game. … I haven’t been in a meeting room on a consistent basis since 2008. When I was an assistant. And I have a lot of fun. The best part of football is football, and I love coaching football and getting to do that. I think sometimes the role has changed, to a little bit more of an administrator. Not at all places. But at some places where you’ve got to fundraise, you’ve got to do a lot of those things. And I just wanted to coach football.”

With the NIL playing a massive role in determining the landscape of a college football program, some coaches have felt their roles have grown more tied to specifics beyond just coaching and recruiting. Player movement has also been more fluid at the college level since the introduction of the NIL, which makes it more challenging for programs to retain core players and those who are next in line to have bigger parts on the team. Perhaps that’s what Kelly felt during the tail end of his career at UCLA, where he coached from 2018 to 2023.

During Kelly’s time with the Bruins and before he moved to Ohio State football, he amassed a record of 35-34 with a 1-1 record in bowl games. After the Bruins lost in the Sun Bowl in the 2022 season, he had UCLA football winning the LA Browl the following campaign against the Boise State Broncos which turned out to be his final game with the program.

The Buckeyes initially had Bill O’Brien as their next offensive coordinator but he departed before he could even help coach a single Ohio state game as he took a job as head coach of the Boston College Eagles.

Chip Kelly starting another career chapter with Ohio State football

Ohio State Buckeyes offensive coordinator Chip Kelly watches players during spring football practice at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
© Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

With a hefty $2 million salary from Ohio State, Kelly is expected to deliver success in his new role. At the very least, Kelly believes that the Buckeyes are a right fit for him because of a common vision.

“If I was going to go somewhere, it would be somewhere where the program shows the same values and visions that I have. I’ve known Ryan since he was a little kid, so you know when he called and he was talking about it a little bit, it was intriguing,” Kelly said.

Kelly, who also was head coach of the Oregon Ducks from 2009 to 2012, arrives in Columbus a season after the Buckeyes barely missed out on a spot in the College Football Playoff, thanks in large part to its late-season loss in 2023 to the Michigan Wolverines.  In 2023, the Buckeyes ranked 35th in the nation with an average of 30.2 points per game and 45th with 401.8 total yards per contest.

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