WESTWOOD, Calif. -- Chip Kelly has been a bit of a ghost since arriving at UCLA.
But five-plus months into the UCLA job, Kelly has given few, if any, one-on-one interviews. No major outlet has featured him (yet) in an extended sit down. In that sense, Kelly has treated everyone the same.
"I text with Chip more than I talk," said Scott Frost, Nebraska's new coach and a Kelly protégé. "That's kind of how Chip is. He'll do well. He's too smart not to. I know how good a person and how good a coach he is.
"[But] he likes to stay private."
How that privacy plays in Los Angeles is less important than how the Bruins play. They haven't won much of anything since an infamous 1998 loss to Miami cost them the opportunity to play in the first BCS Championship Game.
What history Kelly doesn't know, he will soon: Since that year, the school has grinded through Bob Toledo, Karl Dorrell, Rick Neuheisel and Jim Mora Jr. In the 19 years since that Miami loss, UCLA is 17 games above .500.
"If you really love [coaching], you love everything about it," Kelly told CBS Sports during the recent Pac-12 spring meetings. "It's hollow and shallow if all you're in it for is the end result. I miss the day-to-day. I miss the planning."
The coach who took the game by storm at Oregon from 2009-12 has plenty to plan. Refreshed and remade, he has resurfaced -- unable to hide in this metropolis.
Kelly has not done many interviews, according to a UCLA spokesman, because he doesn't want to be the story. He wants it to be about a team that he still learning about himself.
Sorry, Chip. Until further notice, it's all about you.
You're the winningest active coach in the game (46-7 at Oregon). Like Nick Saban and Jim Harbaugh before you, there's a story to tell about dipping your toes into the NFL before returning to college.
There's a lot to know, see and catch up on. We want to know what went right and wrong, whether you were humbled in the NFL.
"You learn and grow in everything you do," Kelly said. "People say, 'Well, you stay in this position because it's comfortable for you.' Being comfortable really isn't a lot of fun to be honest with you."
In his year out of the game, Kelly became the latest high-profile coach to do some career rehabilitation as an ESPN analyst. The network would send a car to his home in New Hampshire each weekend for the two-plus hour drive to Bristol, Connecticut.
Kelly would sit in the back seat with his computer, catch up on games and be ready to hit the studio running. There, Kelly found kindred football minds in Mack Brown, Joey Galloway and Jonathan Vilma.
"I wanted to be involved in something," he said. "I didn't know what the future held."
Kelly also moved his 86-year-old mother within a mile of his home. His father died in the past couple of years.
"That was one of the cool things about my year off," Kelly said. "They've taken care of you your whole life, now you're flipped the other way."
It seems none of the college shine has worn off. Kelly chose UCLA to restart his college career more than the other way around.
Kelly shoots down assumptions that he is here because of the low-key Southern California vibe. It has been suggested he couldn't handle the SEC fish bowl, that Kelly would have a hard time with his privacy eating out in Gainesville, Florida, or Knoxville, Tennessee.
It is true, though, that Kelly could probably stroll down the part of Wilshire Boulevard that cuts through Westwood without being recognized.
"I'm not going to walk down Wilshire," he corrected. "I'm going go to work at 5:30 in the morning.
"I've heard [those assumptions]. That wasn't a factor in me making the decision."
There is familiarity. Kelly is back in the Pac-12 and on the West Coast. As isolated Eugene, Oregon, is, it has the Nike brand behind it. As underachieving as UCLA has been, it is smack dab in the middle of fertile Southern California recruiting grounds.
UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero pointed out the majority of Kelly's Oregon players were from Cali.
"The fact that we [fired Jim Mora] when we did was, in part, to get a shot," Guerrero said. "There were no guarantees. Had we waited another week, he might have been scooped up."
In that sense, Kelly hasn't lost any of his juice. He revolutionized the game at Oregon. Mike Bellotti chose him as a little-known offensive coordinator out of New Hampshire in 2007. By the end of 2011 -- his third as a head coach -- Kelly had turned down the Buccaneers. A season later, he was gone to the Eagles.
There can never be another Oregon for Kelly, but UCLA has bought into the revolution he led there. Consider Kelly's influence since he last roamed a college sideline five years ago ...
Saban has not only won two more national championships at Alabama, he decided to switch to the spread offense while doing it.
Substitution rules have been liberalized, allowing defenses to match up with the tempo offense Kelly made popular -- and lethal -- in Eugene.
During his absence from college, coaches have further refined recruiting to combat the spread, now the most popular offense in the game.
Has Kelly created an offensive Frankenstein that has outgrown the master that brought it to life?
"I think the game has changed," Kelly said. "I think more teams are [running our offense], but I don't think you have to change for change sake."
Yes, Kelly recalls these types of details.
Point being, that's two spread plays by quarterbacks in pro-style offenses. This stuff has been going on for a while.
"I think sometimes, because we live in a time where everything is a sound bite or a 10-second video clip, that's [the summary]," Kelly said.
Kelly claims to know little about his new team. Mora was fired toward the end of the program's worst season (6-7) in six years. Quarterback Josh Rosen deserved football's purple heart for playing behind a line that couldn't protect him (bottom 25 in sack yards allowed) or carve out running yards (second-worst in Pac-12 rushing), while his defense allowed 37 points per game.
Graduate transfer QB Wilton Speight has arrived from Michigan to shore up the quarterback spot. Sophomore Devon Modster came out of spring in the No. 1 position. There is also four-star incoming freshman Dorian Thompson-Robinson to consider.
Kelly must find a quarterback, but he also needs serviceable talent around that position. Oregon teams he coached produced more than 20 NFL Draft choices, including four first-rounders. That included Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, who Kelly landed in 2011.
Oregon was a rags-to-riches story started by Rich Brooks and refined by Mike Bellotti. Kelly took the Ducks to the next level. UCLA remains one those snoozing giants that should be better than it has been to date.
"You can run really cool plays, but if you don't' have the right personnel to run those plays, you won't be very successful," Kelly said.
Guerrero gushes over his new coach's "innovation, intelligence and creativity." Upon his first meeting with the leadership at a San Francisco hotel, Kelly talked with UCLA officials for six or seven hours.
"He had a lengthy conversation with our chancellor on sleep," Guerrero said.
Kelly is known for his emphasis on human performance. While in the NFL, he required players to submit daily urine samples. After one of his seasons at Oregon,.
No wonder Frost took the entire Oregon offense and part of the culture to UCF when he left Oregon in 2016. Kelly had hired him away from Northern Iowa to be his first wide receivers coach with the Ducks in 2009.
Now that offense and culture has been replanted at Nebraska.
"Not to take anything away from Nick Saban," Frost said last year, "but when you have the No. 1 recruiting class in the country every year and you can put them through a process, you've got a great chance.
"When Chip started to do what he was doing at Oregon, we had a huge advantage because no one had ever seen it before. It's to the point now that a lot of people are running versions of what we do. I still believe in Chip's scheme and Oregon's scheme."
UCLA -- with loads of championships outside of football -- never seemed to shake its frugal reputation for paying the coaches in those sports.
That changed when Kelly was hired for a reported $24 million over four years. That made the game's winningest active coach one of the nation's top 10 highest-paid program leaders.
Message sent. The school was already in the process building the Wasserman Football Center, a $65 million jewel designed by the same architects who built Oregon's best-in-show facilities.
But until Kelly was hired on Nov. 25, 2017, that fact was a mere coincidence. Now UCLA is all-in on everything Kelly has become.
It thought little of writing Mora a $12 million buyout check and rolled out heavy hitters Troy Aikman and Casey Wasserman to land this whale. Aikman, of course, you know. Wasserman is CEO of Wasserman Media Group, a sports marketing and talent management giant.
Something had to change when UCLA suffered a 27 percent attendance drop (more than 20,000 total) from 2015-17.
"A loss of season tickets is really a double whammy," Wasserman said. "You lose season tickets; you lose donations. We were down dramatically."
Mora's buyout plus Kelly's salary had the meter at $36 million before Kelly got his assistants pool. Call it $40 million, just to make it a round figure, as UCLA is perhaps making its biggest commitment to football, well, ever.
"The buyout is the buyout," Wasserman said. "You can complain about it all you want. … To me, what was the economic risk of not making a change versus the cost of making a change? I feel like the cost of making a change was cheaper than not making a change."
They couldn't have picked a more chill dude to get the program both into the black and into the end zone.
Kelly walked into those spring meetings last week in shorts, wearing a backpack. He looked a lot like the fast-talking, confident offensive coordinator from New Hampshire who came to Eugene in 2007.
Kelly wasn't ducking the media, but he wasn't exactly holding court either.
It's more important for Chip Kelly get reacquainted with college football.