UCLA Football: How will Wilton Speight fit into Chip Kelly’s system?

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 30: Wilton Speight /
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How will Wilton Speight fit into Chip Kelly’s system? (cont.)

There is no doubt that Chip Kelly will work around Wilton Speight’s talents, but above all, the new Bruin QB will have to do what the new coach requires.

Speight has a strong arm that’s gives him the ability to throw the ball more than 30 yards down field, but that is probably not something we will see a lot of with Kelly (but don’t count it out).

With the power he puts behind the ball, Speight will be able to zip balls to receivers within 15 yards. When utilizing the run-pass option (RPO), a QB looks to hand off the ball to a running back first, but has the “option” to throw the ball to an open receiver for a quick pass if the defense is dedicated to stopping the run.

Along with his receivers, Kelly also looks to employ tight ends as he did with the Philadelphia Eagles, which will help move the the short yardage passing game. Kelly hasn’t normally looked to grab chunks of yardage on pass plays, but would rather get down the field with a lot of quick plays. But if a receiver takes a short pass play and breaks off a 50-yard run (for example) I don’t think Kelly will mind.

As for the run, Speight has been used to simply hand off. From what was seen in spring practice, he will have to incorporate the zone read and triple-option into his game. So not only will he be required to hone his skills on reading defenses, but he will also have to learn how to get the ball to a second running back option.

As for the option to keep it, Speight has been known to run out of sticky situations, so if he is required to run, he has know-how.

Another thing he has to get used to is the pace. Not only will he be required to go faster than he did at Michigan, but will need to work in 10-15 more snaps per game. If he can do that, then there should not be much to worry about. Unfortunately, we will not know until fall.

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It seems that Speight has a long way to go, but if Kelly sees something in the quarterback that can help UCLA to be successful in 2018 (or at least bridge the gap to a more stable roster in 2019), than let the coach run the program as he sees fit. There is reason such a big deal was made when UCLA hired Kelly. What is happening here is just another part of his genius.