Vento: Where does UCLA Football Go from Here?

Posted on November 5, 2021

  By Edward Vento, SportsPac12

All season long, UCLA football has shown flashes of a being a breakthrough team—and flashes of being mediocre.

That contrast was put on full display these past two weeks, with a near-upset of a Top 10 team at home, and a complete dismantling on the road.

After quickly going up 14-0 on 10th-ranked Oregon, the Bruins found themselves down 34-17 with 13:53 remaining in the fourth quarter. It seemed like all hope was lost for winning that game.

But UCLA scored two touchdowns in a span of four minutes, and with Oregon marching down the field to put the game away, Jay Shaw picked off Anthony Brown in the end zone to bring UCLA within three at 34-31.

UCLA’s Brittain Brown (runs the ball against Oregon two weeks ago. | Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Bruins then converted on a fourth down and was on the move when DTR left the game with an injury, and the freshman backup Ethan Garbers stepped in, sustaining the momentum.

Garbers converted a first down, but threw a pick that sealed the win for the Ducks. That seemed like a dagger, not just for the game, but also for the season, and possibly for Chip Kelly as well.

But the final nail came last week with the Bruins getting romped by the Utes, who rushed for an incredible 290 yards against what was supposedly a solid run defense. Tavion Thomas found the end zone four times to finish off Kelly and the Bruins.

Utah’s Cam Rising breaks a UCLA tackle. | Rick Bowmer/AP

So the big question becomes, where does UCLA go from here?

Despite three seemingly winnable games to end the season—with bouts at home against 2-6 Colorado, at the Coliseum against a struggling USC team (which just lost its incredible receiver Drake London), and the 3-5 Cal Golden Bears—the outlook is bleak.

Even if UCLA were win those three games and tack on a bowl win, the Chip Kelly Era might still be coming to an end.


Under Kelly, UCLA has gone a discouraging 15-25 overall and 13-18 in the Conference. Remarkably, this year’s wins against Hawaii and LSU were the first nonconference wins for UCLA since Kelly took over.

Consequently, Martin Jarmond, UCLA’s young, exciting, and involved athletic director, has a big decision to make this offseason.

Should he allow Kelly to coach through next season, when his contract is up, or cut ties now and try and reinvigorate the football program by entering the already crowded coach-search market?

The answer is simple: Kelly has had his chance. It’s time for him to go.

—Recent Edward Vento Stories—

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