Los Angeles • The mysticism is real. Just ask the 25-year-old quarterback who has become a safety-turned linebacker. When he was younger, he was fascinated by the crew in glaring green uniforms and shiny winged helmets, the games running at breakneck speeds, and explosive passes playing from across the field. Chase Hansen then wondered: How do you break up a team that wears its opponents down?
Now, all those years later, he's going to get a hit. Because Chip Kelly is back.
After spending the last five years in the NFL, the offensive guru, who became the star with the Oregon Ducks as offensive coordinator and later as head coach, is back in the Pac-1
"I think there are many teams that are trying [like him]," said Hansen, "but the legend of Chip Kelly is that he can do it the best, it'll be fun to see how it works . "
Pac-12's food menu is back. No one put the conference in the limelight in as short a time as Kelly's Ducks. He tried the pros, he tried the Philadelphia Eagles and later the San Francisco 49ers. That's done and dusted off now, and Kelly is back in the process of creating the signature brand visor for a Pac-12 program.
"It only adds to the competitiveness of the Pac-12," said Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, who grew up to be a duck fan at the height of Oregon's fame under Kelly. "It's already a really competitive conference and it will be even more competitive now."
Kelly signed a five-year contract for $ 23 million when he was hired last November after spending a short time as a football analyst fired by 49ers after just one season at work. One of the most sought-after free-agent coaches in football was available and UCLA was appointed to fire Jim Mora Jr. The Bruins, getting into a fight with USC for the hearts and minds of the recruits and fans here in LA, had to kick-start a program after tending below. They swung around the fences. They had no choice.
"I think it's fair to say that Chip Kelly Derby was one of the most watched national coaching searches," said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. "Chip could have ended up in any league in the country if he wanted to, he wanted to be in Pac-12, and he wanted to be at UCLA."
Like most of us, UCLA Wideout has found Theo Howard online. And at first the Bruin junior did not believe it. He'd seen rumors about Kelly-to-UCLA in the past, so he had to validate the news he saw on social media accounts.
"I'm really glad he's here," Howard said. "It's a new beginning, he's bringing a cultural change to make sure we all get into the goal, everything he wants to do with us this season."
As one of five new coaches in the Pac 12 this year, Kelly I'll want to do what he has always done: winning, with his unique, lonely style. It will take some time. The Bruins lost star quarterback Josh Rosen to the NFL Draft and the jury is still not sure if this year's UCLA roster is a sign of Kelly's offensive.
Things have changed in college football since Kelly roamed the sidelines. Mainly because of Kelly's influence, and above all because of what Oregon was able to do, he caught the attention of talented recruits with his sorcery on the field and the uniform swag the ducks got under the Nike umbrella.
"When I first came to the league, we were the only ones with an offensive offensive and shiny helmets," Kelly said. "Now everyone has the same insult and shiny helmets."
The last coach to speak at the Pac-12 Media Day in Hollywood, California on Wednesday was, as expected, Kelly, the old new guy, who then returned to his comfort zone for a few seasons. It may take some time because nothing important is built in one season. But it's the first step to see if the new UCLA coach can mimic what he built in Eugene.
Kelly is back in a familiar groove. Only he has traded in Oregon's bleak skies for the bluebird days in Southern California, where he has said the best thing about L.A. that he knows he is not the prettiest person in any room. UCLA fans could feel different.