UCLA Football: Hiring Chip Kelly may keep Josh Rosen in Westwood

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

The UCLA Football Bruins turn the page from Jim Mora by hiring former Oregon Ducks and NFL coach Chip Kelly. With Kelly’s past in mind, this may be enough to convince quarterback Josh Rosen to stay for his senior season.

The UCLA Football Bruins have not had the 2017 season that many had hoped for. With future first-round draft pick Josh Rosen manning the offense, the Bruins had the potential to far exceed the expectations originally placed on them. However, UCLA currently owns a 6-6 record and is on pace for another pointless bowl game.

Following the Bruins 23-28 loss against USC, which put them at 5-6, UCLA decided to fire head coach Jim Mora. This move was a long time coming and a move that many expected to see out of the school. After a decent showing in his first four seasons as head coach, the Bruins put together a combined 9-14 record the last two years.

Now, the UCLA Football Bruins have found their replacement. UCLA hired former Oregon Ducks, Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers’ head coach Chip Kelly. Football fans last saw Kelly in the NFL, where he failed to find extended success.

However, Kelly thrived with the Oregon Ducks, putting together a 46-7 record in four seasons. Oregon made it to two Rose Bowls (winning one), won one Fiesta Bowl and made it to the 2011 BCS National Championship game before falling victim to the undefeated Auburn Tigers.

More importantly, Kelly thrived at managing college quarterbacks in his tenure with the Oregon Ducks. With such a big name college quarterback in Josh Rosen under center for UCLA, this signing could be a plea to stay for Rosen to stay for his senior year.

And it very well may work.

Kelly’s track record with Oregon’s quarterbacks is sensational. Kelly became the Ducks’ offensive coordinator in 2007, where he turned Dennis Dixon into a star. Dixon was always just an okay college quarterback. That was until Chip Kelly was hired and Dixon was named PAC-12 Offensive Player of the Year and prior to injury lead Oregon to be the number two ranked school in the nation.

Then there is the most obvious quarterback success for Kelly — Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota. Mariota became the first freshman to start for the Oregon Ducks in 22 years when he received the starting nod 2012. After two successful years, Mariota decided to bypass the NFL Draft and return for his junior year. Mariota won the Heisman that year.

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That is exactly what the UCLA Football Bruins want in Rosen. Rosen, who is undeniably talented, could become a perennial Heisman candidate under the right coaching system. Rosen still is a strong candidate for the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but an injury that sidelined him in the second half against Cal could send question marks.

Realistically, this was UCLA protecting the future NFL star. This may be signalling the end of Rosen in Westwood. Hiring Chip Kelly is the last plea to counter Rosen’s desires to play in the NFL.

If anything, there is unfinished business for Rosen at UCLA. Rosen has missed several games the last two seasons because of injury. Plus, Rosen has never won a Bowl Game and holds a losing record as the quarterback at UCLA.

Next: Consequences of firing Jim Mora

Staying for one more season can reverse all of that. Under Chip Kelly, Rosen and the UCLA Football Bruins can return for relevance and make a run at one of the six major bowl games. Kelly has proven that he can manage talented quarterbacks, something Mora failed to do. For Rosen, that alone may be enough to give it one more go with UCLA.