“Check With Me”
Speaking of simplifying player decisions: Chip introduced the “Check With Me” sideline checks halfway through the season starting with the Cal game and used them approximately 16 times a game the rest of the way. These checks have a number of advantages. First, they take last second pre-snap adjustments decision making away from the players and put it in the hands Chip Kelly. Chip is more likely to make the correct change, and the players get to just execute. Second, they force the defense to line up and show their cards without the luxury of substituting.
These checks afford many of the advantages of tempo while going slow. Early on, the checks seemed to be mostly about flipping the play side of an IZR, but I suspect they got more varied as the season wore on. From Cal through the USC game, plays after sideline checks were 14% more successful on average when compared to each individual game success rate.
Stanford likely had something figured out (
) about the UCLA sideline checks, plays after checks in the Stanford game were only 27% successful, a 19% lower success rate than the rest of the Stanford game. Going forward I hope to see this practice continued by UCLA; I am all for more real-time Chip control.
Something that is completely unchanged about Chip at UCLA is no fear of the math on 4th down. UCLA got 4.7 YPP and a 57% success rate on 23 4th down tries this year. I don’t have the data, but I would be shocked if Mora had 23 4th down tries in his entire stay at UCLA. If they need less than 4.7 yards, going for it is not a difficult thought process for Chip. He understands the probability of converting and expected an average gain and has already accepted the favorable results over the long term which includes expected failures.
The press would always pick on the unsuccessful 4th quarter calls and ignore the successful earlier ones. Chip would give a sarcastic answer ‘admitting’ the ones that they didn’t convert were bad decisions. He really knows the decision is good or bad based on the info available before the play. This is awesome. One interesting side note: 4th downs in quarters 1-3 got 6.9 YPP and were 67% successful, while 4th quarter 4th downs got only 0.6 YPP and were 38% successful). This is something to be wary of next year.
There was none of this Blur trick formation funny business with extremely wide alignments. However, UCLA did implement my suggestion to use 2 QB on the field together a couple times against USC and Stanford. Those two plays went very badly (-0.5 YPP, 0% successful), but show Chip’s mad scientist side will continue to come out to play every once in a while. I want to hook Chip up with Bob Toledo for this stuff.