If you thought Bill O'Brien's three-week tenure as Ohio State's offensive coordinator was a quick turnaround, the Buckeyes took all of about three hours to replace him with a sitting Power Five head coach in Chip Kelly. Wow.
Kelly's name was the most prominent one thrown out there this morning when O'Brien's departure was announced, but even with his ties to Ryan Day and seeming desire to get out of Los Angeles, getting UCLA's head coach to come be your offensive coordinator is a hell of a coup. I'm very curious what OSU is paying Kelly, as he was making $6 million a year as the head coach of the Bruins. I'd be pretty surprised if he is not now the highest-paid assistant coach in the country.
It seems insane that UCLA's head coach would voluntarily leave to become OSU's offensive coordinator, but I think we're going to see a lot more moves like this in college football going forward. There are many coaches out there who simply don't want to deal with the responsibilities a college head coach has to deal with now. This entire Ohio State situation started because Boston College coach Jeff Hafley left to become an NFL coordinator. So while Kelly had some rumors about his job security at the end of last season and that could be part of the reason he wanted to get out of L.A., maybe making $3 million to be an OC and not have to deal with NIL and the transfer portal as much is a better life in his mind than making $6 million — heavily taxed in California, it's worth noting — to remain a head coach.
But now we have the UCLA job coming open in February heading into the Bruins' first season in the Big Ten in what will be one of the most important years in college football history. If ever there was a hire you want to make sure you nail, it's this one. I think that job has the potential to garner some interest from guys most fans wouldn't think of as interested in a new job — similar to Brian Kelly and LSU.
I've never been more fascinated to watch an offense than Ohio State next year, though. Transfer quarterback, probably the best running back room in the country, potentially the first wide receiver taken in the 2025 NFL Draft and now it's all being led by Chip Kelly. That's must-watch TV.