July 22, 2024

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Life moves pretty fast, as Ferris Bueller once said‚ and Ohio State football’s Lincoln Kienholz received his lesson on a scheduled day off.

Ohio State Buckeyes Logo on Red and Black Background

He went to the Cotton Bowl in December as both the second option and the emergency one. Putting a true freshman with five months on campus and a mere 20 snaps to his name up against a top-10 team from the SEC cannot be found on even the extended cut of the “Plan to Win.”

Former UCLA coach Chip Kelly shocked the college football world last month when he left his job as a power conference coach to become the offensive coordinator at Ohio State. The move is unprecedented, even in the ever-changing landscape of college football. In his introductory press conference at Ohio State on Tuesday, Kelly said the decision came down to personal fulfillment.

“I just want to be happy,” Kelly told reporters. “And I’m really happy coaching a position. I’m really happy to be at this place (Ohio State)”

Kelly said it was UCLA’s LA Bowl game preparation that rekindled his desire to coach at a more grassroots level. Quarterbacks coach Ryan Gunderson left the Bruins to become the offensive coordinator at Oregon State and Kelly stepped in, working hands-on with a posiiton group for the first time for the first time since he was the offensive coordinator at Oregon from 2007-08.

“I think my wife remarked, ‘I haven’t seen you this happy in a long time,’

Kelly said. “To me, the best part of football is the football. So you got to do football, and not some of the things that are involved with the head coaching deal. And, to me, the best part of football is football. And so you got to do football and not do some of the things that involve with the head coaching deal.”

The Buckeyes originally hired Bill O’Brien as their offensive coordinator in January, but he left to become the head coach at Boston College. Ohio State coach Ryan Day then turned to Kelly, who was an assistant when Day played at New Hampshire in the late 1990s. Day also served as an assistant on Kelly’s staff with the 49ers in 2016.

“It would have taken a special place for me to leave UCLA

“It would have taken a special place for me to leave UCLA because I love those players, and I love that coaching staff,” Kelly said. “But to be here with Ryan. We’ve had a great relationship. I’ve known Ryan since he was a little kid. So I think a lot of things just fell into place that way.”

Kelly left Los Angeles with a 35-34 overall record over six years. It came just as the Bruins were preparing to join Ohio State in the Big Ten in time for the 2024 season. While some Bruins fans have accused Kelly of abandoning the program in a time of transition, he dismisses that narrative.

“I never thought about quitting anything,” Kelly said on Tuesday. “So I just, is there an opportunity that fit?”

 

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