UCLA's Chip Kelly, Illinois' Bret Bielema amongst coaches thriving in 2nd act

Published:Mar 8, 202423:00
UCLA's Chip Kelly, Illinois' Bret Bielema amongst coaches thriving in 2nd act

By Bryan Fischer
FOX Sports activities School Soccer Author

School soccer loves alliterative labels and in the case of making sense of all that unfolded throughout Week 6 of the season, there may be one which rolls off the tongue: Second Act Saturday.

All over the place you regarded, transfers on their second faculty have been making performs, packages deemed lifeless (however now reborn) have been making waves and, significantly, quite a few coaches have been taking advantage of second probabilities or contemporary alternatives.

Chip Kelly, UCLA

You'll be able to start with the largest assertion being made out in Los Angeles, the place Chip Kelly appeared to lastly persuade these remaining holdouts surrounding his rebuild at UCLA by beating preseason Pac-12 favourite Utah, 42-32.

The Bruins knocked off their highest-rated opponent in Kelly’s tenure and have now posted back-to-back wins over ranked opponents for the primary time since 2015. Their present nine-game win streak is remarkably second within the nation and their longest because the late '90s. It was additionally made due to their first victory over the Utes on the Rose Bowl in a decade.

UCLA is for actual!

UCLA is for real!

RJ Younger talks about UCLA's upset victory over Utah and examines how Chip Kelly has his Bruins trying like a premier workforce.

It was a signature convention victory on the most opportune time. Regardless of what the oddsmakers stated coming in, there wasn’t even a touch of it being an upset both, as UCLA was the much more bodily and opportunistic of the 2 sides, controlling the sport via all 4 quarters. 

That’s a testomony to what Kelly has been capable of do in Westwood regardless of progress taking a bit longer than anticipated. His rent in late 2017 was initially considered as an announcement of intent for a faculty whose total curiosity in big-time soccer was typically considered tepid. Plucking the man who went 46-7 at Oregon and led the Geese to the BCS Championship Recreation was out of character — however equally eye-opening in attempting to understand the potential that’s apparent to anyone who ever steps on campus.

Nonetheless, the outcomes didn’t comply with instantly and frustrations ran excessive because the workforce by no means sniffed a bowl recreation nor gained greater than 4 video games in Kelly’s first three seasons. Losses have been repetitive by way of root causes. Teaching turnover, to the chagrin of many, was nearly non-existent.

But this was a gradual cultural and on-field shift for UCLA that went totally towards the grain in a sport that calls for every thing instantly. Kelly’s first main recruit from his very first signing day was quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, whom he threw into the fireplace as a real freshman and guided via all of the ups and downs since. Now, the fifth-year senior is a reliable Heisman Trophy contender who's setting faculty information with every passing contest.

Kelly’s critics in and round L.A. ceaselessly lamented his efforts on the recruiting path (and nonetheless do), with many four- and five-stars from Southern California expressing lukewarm curiosity. That can merely generate a chuckle and a head shake from the singularly targeted head coach, who is much extra involved with slot in his system than stars subsequent to names. 

The offensive line has been notably revamped and grown from one of many worst within the Pac-12 into a gaggle of street graders holding its personal towards anyone. Recruits on each side of the ball that match the mildew have been supplemented additional with very good switch portal identification.

Tailback Zach Charbonnet went from surplus at Michigan to Pac-12 Newcomer of the Yr. Towards Utah, he notched a career-high 198 yards and a landing. Fellow switch Jake Bobo had simply three landing catches over 4 years at Duke however has been a reliable goal downfield for Thompson-Robinson and has made 5 journeys to the tip zone in 2022. 

Interview: Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Zach Charbonnet

Interview: Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Zach Charbonnet

UCLA Bruin's stars Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Zach Charbonnet be part of Reggie Bush to speak about their friendship and UCLA's success via its undefeated season so far.

Every was a great participant earlier than arriving at UCLA, however the marriage of expertise and scheme has been a sight to behold for even essentially the most skeptical of tailgaters within the Rose Bowl parking heaps.

The important thing for Kelly is that this second act with UCLA turns into merely the newest excessive notice for the powder blues and never a crescendo. The workforce is off through the coming week earlier than touring to face the coach’s outdated program in Eugene. Given the convention’s elimination of divisions, that one could possibly be what quantities to a late October semifinal to get to the Pac-12 Championship Recreation.

Lincoln Riley, USC

Get previous that one, and Kelly could possibly be firmly on a collision course to face a man throughout city who's simply beginning out on his second chapter — Riley. The USC head coach is working with a a lot completely different timeline for turning across the cardinal and gold, and even larger aspirations. The Trojans proceed to win in numerous methods, pushing previous a pesky Washington State aspect on the Coliseum on Saturday with a second-half shutout and well timed performs down the sector out of elusive signal-caller Caleb Williams.

Riley, addressing the largest deficiency from his groups at Oklahoma, additionally might need a School Soccer Playoff contender on his palms, due to progress on the defensive aspect of the ball. Notably, the Trojans lead the nation in sacks and turnover margin regardless of coming into the yr with simply three returning starters.

Now the pair of USC and UCLA are each 6-0 to start out the season for the primary time since 2005. In a possible parallel, they met that yr with a convention ring up for grabs.

USC or UCLA to win the Pac-12?

USC or UCLA to win the Pac-12?

Joel Klatt reacts to USC's win over Washington State, however questions whether or not UCLA is definitely the workforce to beat within the Pac-12.

Bret Bielema, Illinois

Title recreation aspirations may nonetheless be a bit untimely for an additional coach thriving in his second act after a number of years off the radar, however Illinois' Bielema will nonetheless enjoy it nonetheless. Coming off a 5-7 debut marketing campaign in Champaign that featured 4 one-score losses, the Illini have been anticipated to be improved in 2022 … however not fairly to this degree. 

The Illini are actually 5-1 and on the verge of this system’s second bowl berth since 2015. Illinois has the top-scoring protection within the nation and has allowed simply three touchdowns of any kind throughout its first six video games. Simply as vital to the sort of program Bielema needs to run, the Illini are additionally a top-30 speeding offense and seventh in time of possession. 

It’s a textbook Bielema has used to nice success earlier than and is now in full impact with Illinois — haunting a number of packages he is aware of all too properly within the course of. The week prior, he returned to the positioning of his first head teaching job at Wisconsin and left with a 34-10 win that was the Illini’s first in Madison in twenty years. The end result was so emphatic, that the Badgers fired Paul Chryst the following day.

Iowa followers is not going to be granted an analogous want after Saturday’s 9-6 loss to the previous Hawkeyes defensive lineman, however can at the very least give well mannered applause to Bielema's squad utilizing the end result to push into the No. 24 spot within the AP High 25. That put an finish to the longest lively drought by a Energy 5 faculty from both the AP or Coaches Ballot.

Illinois survives vs. Iowa, 9-6

Illinois survives vs. Iowa, 9-6

Illinois kicker Fabrizio Pinton accounted for all of the scoring for the Preventing Illini in Saturday's victory over the Hawkeyes.

Lance Leipold, Kansas; Sonny Dykes, TCU

On the reverse finish of Illinois-Iowa from a watchability standpoint was the marquee Huge 12 recreation of the weekend that additionally featured a number of others on their second act — and likewise taking advantage of it.

Leipold, in his second FBS gig, proved as soon as once more how good he and his Kansas workers are regardless of falling 38-31 to TCU. This wasn’t a case of ethical victories within the wake of preserving it shut towards a top-20 opponent both however fairly highlighted how you can make changes in-game after the Jayhawks misplaced famous person QB Jalon Daniels to a shoulder damage and have been held to only a subject objective within the first half.

KU’s offensive enchancment on the fly got here by enjoying to the strengths of backup Jason Bean. The North Texas switch, who began for Kansas final season, threw 4 landing passes within the second half and was near unleashing pandemonium upon Lawrence with a uncommon win over a ranked opponent. 

Driving out of city with a win was arguably extra important to the larger image within the Huge 12 for Dykes, who has shaken off any criticism of his transfer throughout Dallas-Fort Price battle strains and located prompt success with the Horned Frogs. They’re the third-highest scoring program in FBS and lead the nation in yards per play — two areas the place TCU was all around the map through the latter levels of Gary Patterson’s tenure. 

Now, TCU is explosive and threatening in a method it hasn’t been since 2017. Quarterback Max Duggan and receiver Quentin Johnston are significantly emblematic of the night-and-day distinction for these in purple. Each have been labeled as the following massive factor, able to lifting this system with large bodily expertise that by no means fairly was on full show.

Properly, now it's. Duggan is second within the nation in passing effectivity and yards per try, trailing solely Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud. He’s thrown only one interception and has used his legs to nice impact, too (14 carries, 171 yards and three scores in simply the previous two video games). Johnston has been catching every thing thrown his method, and broke out towards Kansas, notching 206 yards and a landing. He’s now on tempo for profession highs in catches and yards. 

Each gamers have TCU well-positioned for a berth within the convention title recreation going into Saturday's matchup towards the league’s solely different undefeated workforce, Oklahoma State.

Highlights: TCU edges Kansas

Highlights: TCU edges Kansas

No. 17 TCU defeated No. 19 Kansas on the street in a wild recreation, 38-31.

Josh Heupel, Tennessee

Elsewhere down South, Heupel is aware of all too properly how one slight detour may also help result in success at one other cease. After ascending to turn out to be offensive coordinator and play-caller at Oklahoma, he was pushed out the door again in 2014 following a disappointing season. He rebuilt his profession at stops with Utah State and Missouri earlier than getting the highest job at UCF. A robust begin in Orlando his first season, nonetheless, gave solution to diminishing returns — he was successful, however not almost sufficient or in as flashy a way because the Knights fan base had turn out to be accustomed.

Heupel as an alternative reset his clock, assured in figuring out how you can get essentially the most out of his gamers. He took over a Tennessee program that was two video games below .500 since Phillip Fulmer was axed in 2008, going through an NCAA investigation and possessing a roster filled with holes. He promptly led the Vols to a 7-6 mark in Yr 1. 

That set the muse for the run the workforce is at present on, out to its finest begin since 2016 and already sitting on three wins over ranked opponents. The Vols lead the nation in yards per recreation and are second in scoring after trouncing LSU in Loss of life Valley, 40-13.

Underscoring all of it has been Heupel’s work together with his quarterback. Hendon Hooker has been within the operating for one of the best signal-caller within the SEC this season — posting an ideal 10/0 touchdown-to-interception ratio — and has solely thrown three picks whole since arriving on Rocky High (all towards top-15 groups who gained a championship). In doing so, Hooker has gone from an inconsistent participant at Virginia Tech who possible wanted a second profession after school, to utilizing his second cease to morph himself right into a Heisman candidate with rising NFL Draft buzz.

For those who had instructed any person in 2020 that it might be Heupel who would have Tennessee as the highest risk to interrupt up the Alabama-Georgia duopoly within the convention, you’d be laughed off. Now, the Vols have a shot to make {that a} actuality at Neyland with a top-10 rating in hand and a workforce greater than able to altering the continued narrative concerning the Third Saturday in October.

There was plenty of that occurring this weekend in locations like Los Angeles, Champaign and Fort Price. As if to underscore the theme, even interim head coaches went 5-0 in Week 6.

Who is aware of if it's going to proceed because the calendar advances, however for as soon as, the second time round was simply fantastic for quite a lot of packages on a Saturday filled with enjoyable.

Make It Make Sense

Saturday Superlatives

Heisman 5: 1. Bryce Younger (Alabama), 2. C.J. Stroud (Ohio State), 3. Hendon Hooker (Tennessee), 4. Dorian Thompson-Robinson (UCLA), 5. Blake Corum (Michigan)

Projected Playoff: 1. Ohio State, 2. Georgia, 3. Alabama, 4. USC

Tweet of the Week:

Tremendous 16

Right here’s how I voted within the FWAA/NFF Tremendous 16 Ballot this week.

1. Ohio State
2. Georgia
3. Alabama
4. USC
5. Clemson
6. TCU
7. Tennessee
8. Penn State
9. Oklahoma State
10. Ole Miss
11. UCLA
12. Michigan
13. Oregon
14. Mississippi State
15. Wake Forest
16. N.C. State

Simply missed the lower: Kansas 

Better of the remaining: Kansas State, Texas, North Carolina, Syracuse, Cincinnati, James Madison, Illinois, Tulane.

Pre-Snap Reads

No. 10 Penn State at No. 5 Michigan (Saturday, Midday ET; FOX and the FOX Sports activities app) 

The Nittany Lions are properly rested after per week off and go into the Huge Home for what looks as if the primary actual mile-marker within the Huge Ten race. The Wolverines have been largely unimpressive in wins the previous three weeks and should lean closely on RB Blake Corum to open issues up for a considerably stagnant offense. This has all of the makings of a nail-biter that comes down to 1 play right here or there, however the early lean is with James Franklin notching his first massive win in a number of years to shake up the CFP image.

No. 3 Alabama at No. 6 Tennessee (3:30 p.m. ET)

Will Bryce Younger play? All indications are sure, and he appears to have been held out towards Texas A&M largely on the idea of preserving his shoulder for this one. The Neyland Stadium environment must be essentially the most electrical it’s been in twenty years, and the Vols have a workforce able to hitting the over themselves. Nonetheless, wager towards Nick Saban at your peril and particularly so when he may give them loads of motivation after a so-so outing towards the Aggies.

No. 8 Oklahoma State at No. 13 TCU (3:30 p.m. ET)

OSU has solely left Stillwater as soon as this season however ended up taking good care of enterprise down in Waco. This Horned Frogs assault presents a a lot larger problem than the Bears did, although, with the variety of weapons you need to defend, whereas additionally preserving one other man within the field to spy on Max Duggan. That factors to this one being a shootout, and for nearly as good and mistake-free as Spencer Sanders has been in 2022, one thing offers us only a little bit of pause for him being the man to emerge victorious on such an event.

No. 7 USC at No. 20 Utah (8 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports activities app)

Even early within the yr when the Trojans have been rolling and searching spectacular, this was a recreation circled as their largest likelihood for a loss. It’s on the street in a hostile surroundings, towards a workforce that may run the soccer and play tight protection. But, the Utes haven’t fairly been as marketed this season, and the lack of Brant Kuithe has severely restricted the offense. This nonetheless could possibly be a decent one, however you merely belief Lincoln Riley and Caleb Williams that rather more of their largest problem but in cardinal and gold.

Learn extra:

- School soccer rankings: Ohio State tightens grip on No. 1

- Heisman Watch: C.J. Stroud dominates with six-TD outing

- Even at 6-0, No. 4 Michigan is tough to pin down

- Purple River Showdown: With Quinn Ewers again, Texas routs Oklahoma

- School soccer high performs: All one of the best from a wild Week 6

Bryan Fischer is a school soccer author for FOX Sports activities. He has been masking school athletics for almost twenty years at shops akin to NBC Sports activities, CBS Sports activities, Yahoo! Sports activities and NFL.com amongst others. Comply with him on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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