The Sports Report: Chip Kelly says it was a mistake to call UCLA ‘Transfer U’

UCLA coach Chip Kelly gives a thumbs up as he enters the Rose Bowl
UCLA head coach Chip Kelly gives a thumbs up as he enters the field before an NCAA college football game against Alabama State in Pasadena, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Howdy, I’m your host, Iliana Limón Romero, filling in for Houston Mitchell, who is probably studying the Dodgers’ potential postseason matchups. Let’s get right to the news.

From Ben Bolch: A UCLA football program that was long a national force in high school recruiting, often edging rival USC for the best young players in Southern California, momentarily ceded those designations earlier this week.

Just check the title it gave itself.

Transfer U.

The nickname surfaced Monday on the official UCLA football Twitter account. A graphic illustration showed a group of Bruins transfers in uniform below a list indicating that the school led the nation with 20 transfer starters since 2020.


Atop the post, on a faux city limits sign, was the slogan: “Welcome to Transfer U.”

The message sparked an immediate uproar on social media and message boards.

Wasn’t this the stuff of teams that can’t get enough high school recruits? How should high school recruits feel about coming to a team trumpeting its transfers? Could this plug-and-play approach really be sustainable?

UCLA coach Chip Kelly gave his input Wednesday, and it wasn’t to thank his social media team.

UCLA linebacker Laiatu Latu looks for a sack against Alabama State on Sept. 10 at the Rose Bowl.
(Don Liebig / UCLA Athletics)

Also from Ben Bolch: The celebration started before the first play, the first tackle, the first victory.

As he prepared for UCLA’s season opener, Laiatu Latu looked at the coach who had stood with him this entire time. They had been through so much.


So much doubt. So much heartache. So many doctors.

Was this really happening?

For nearly two years, they had heard one medical expert after another crush their spirits with the same word: No.

No, you can’t play. No, you can’t resume your career. No, you’re not going to come back.

“A lot of tears have been shed in my office,” said Ikaika Malloe, the Bruins outside linebackers coach who had consoled Latu at Washington before recruiting him to make the same southbound journey to Westwood he did in hopes of happier times.

Now they were crying through their smiles. Latu had never questioned whether this day would come.

Yes, this was really happening.

“Really,” Latu said this week, his comeback complete, “I just feel like I got my heart back.”

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Dodgers relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel walks off the field after giving up a game-ending, three-run home run
Dodgers relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel walks off the field after giving up a game-ending, three-run home run to Arizona Diamondbacks’ Sergio Alcantara during the 10th inning Wednesday.
(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

From Jack Harris: Craig Kimbrel let it go, then watched it leave.

With two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning Wednesday night, on the verge of his 23rd save and 10th consecutive scoreless appearance, the Dodgers closer tried to end the game with an elevated fastball.

Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Sergio Alcántara ended it instead, hammering a walk-off three-run homer to give the Diamondbacks a 5-3 win.

In what started out as a sleepy contest that didn’t feature any of their top three hitters, nor one of their normal starting pitchers, the Dodgers were still leading going into the bottom of the 10th inning.

They had sent the game to extra innings after Diamondbacks designated hitter Jake McCarthy was thrown out trying to steal home with two outs in the ninth.

They went in front when their former reliever, Reyes Moronta, threw a run-scoring wild pitch in the top of the 10th.

Then came Kimbrel, summoned for the save amid a recent month-long turnaround in which he hadn’t given up a hit since August 17, had retired all 15 batters he’d faced this month, lowered his ERA by almost a run, and garnered some long-absent goodwill from the fan base after switching his entrance song to “Let It Go” from the Disney movie “Frozen.”

On Wednesday, however, there was no song — and no save from Kimbrel either.

He walked his first batter, bounced back with a couple quick outs, but then fell behind Alcántara with a high fastball and low curve.

In a 2-and-1 count, Kimbrel tried to come back with an elevated four-seamer. He missed his spot though, leaving it in what manager Dave Roberts called Alcántara’s “nitro zone” over the inner half of the plate.

“I think it just comes down to that last hitter,” Roberts said. “It’s a guy he knows he should get out.”


For Dodgers like Trayce Thompson and others, winning the NL West has a special meaning

A look at possible NLDS opponents for the Dodgers


Raiders defensive end Chandler Jones tackles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler
Raiders defensive end Chandler Jones (55) tackles Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler (30) before he can break past the line of scrimmage at SoFi Stadium Sunday.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

From Jeff Miller: Austin Ekeler acknowledged Tuesday that his shoulders still were hurting. His right gluteus maximus, as well.

But Ekeler and the Chargers are going to play Thursday anyway because, frankly, the NFL isn’t going to just sit there on both its maximus muscles when there’s money to be made.

Everyone understands that about this league, especially the players.

“I get it,” Ekeler said. “It’s just a money grab, right? It’s a business. It’s another opportunity for us to continue to increase our salary cap. So we’ll get out there and do it.”


Rams receiver Allen Robinson II looks up field while facing the Buffalo Bills
Rams receiver Allen Robinson II looks up field while facing the Buffalo Bills.
(John McCoy / Associated Press)

From Gary Klein: Allen Robinson was supposed to be an upgraded complement to star receiver Cooper Kupp in the passing attack.

Cam Akers was once again supposed to become an important part of the rushing attack.

Perhaps both situations will play out that way Sunday when the Rams play the Atlanta Falcons at SoFi Stadium.

That definitely was not the case in the Rams’ 31-10 defeat to the Buffalo Bills last Thursday.

Robinson got exactly two targets. He caught one pass for 12 yards.

Robinson, 29, did not sound frustrated when he spoke with reporters Wednesday.

“Everybody wants to get opportunities,” Robinson said, adding, “In some games that’s how it goes sometimes.

“So … go back to the drawing board and try to figure out how we can get better.”


How Bobby Wagner honors Kobe Bryant, reacts to Russell Wilson’s return to Seattle

NFL roundtable: For Super Bowl LVII run, want Justin Herbert or Matthew Stafford?


Angels second baseman David Fletcher tags out the Cleveland Guardians' Josh Naylor
Angels second baseman David Fletcher, left, tags out the Cleveland Guardians’ Josh Naylor as he attempts to steal second base Wednesday.
(David Dermer / Associated Press)

From the Associated Press: Jose Ramirez hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth inning, and the Cleveland Guardians beat the Angels 5-3 on Wednesday for their sixth consecutive victory.

Oscar Gonzalez and Andres Gimenez each had three hits as AL Central-leading Cleveland (76-65) moved 11 games over .500 for the first time since September 2020.

With Amed Rosario aboard after a leadoff single, Ramirez drove a 3-1 slider from Ryan Tepera (4-3) deep to right for his 27th homer. The All-Star third baseman also leads the Guardians with 111 RBIs.

“In reality, we’re in a rebuild, but it’s a bit different when you have very talented players that know how to play the game the right way,” Ramirez said. “It’s fun to see them, and as long as we keep playing our way, it’s going to be fun to watch.”


Los Angeles Clippers forward Robert Covington wears an orange Clippers warmup shirt
Clippers forward Robert Covington (23) says he understands how he can help the team.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

From Andrew Greif: Robert Covington stood near a rack of bright Nike shorts inside Dick’s Sporting Goods on Tuesday when a preteen boy in sunglasses walked over wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the Clippers wing’s personal motto and also the name of his foundation: Allergic to Failure.

More than an hour had passed since Covington had walked into the El Segundo store and surprised a group of 15 students from the After-School All-Stars program by handing each a gift card with $300 to be spent on whatever they chose. Covington explained they were initially going to receive $150 until his foundation matched the amount, but judging by the students’ reactions, it was unclear whether the students quite heard those details. At the sight of Covington, one boy exclaimed, “It’s Robert Covington!” At the mention of the gift cards, one girl covered her masked mouth with her hand while another boy’s jaw dropped and his eyes widened.

They scattered to scour the shoe racks and jerseys, and later the boy in the sunglasses approached Covington dribbling a miniature ball, saying confidently he could cross over the 6-foot-9 all-NBA defender with the nearly 7-2 wingspan. Covington smiled politely and without moving his feet, poked the ball away. The preteen quickly reconsidered his boast, smiling sheepishly.

It won’t be the last challenge Covington, 31, and the Clippers receive this season. With Kawhi Leonard returning from injury to reform his All-Star tandem with Paul George, and free-agent point guard John Wall added to a roster that endured little turnover from a team stocked with depth and resilience from last season, the Clippers are, on paper and in the eyes of oddsmakers, among the NBA’s upper tier of title contenders.


From the Associated Press: Ryan Gauld, Pedro Vite and Tosaint Ricketts each scored in the second half to lead the Vancouver Whitecaps to a 3-0 win over the Galaxy on Saturday night.

Thomas Hasal made two saves for the Whitecaps (10-14-7). Jonathan Bond saved three shots for the Galaxy (11-12-7).

The teams play again Saturday. The Whitecaps host the Seattle Sounders while the Galaxy host the Colorado Rapids.


From the Associated Press: North Carolina forward Kerolin scored in the 54th minute as the host Courage ended Angel City FC’s five-game unbeaten streak with a 1-0 win Wednesday.

Angel City (7-6-5) remains in seventh place, two points out of a playoff spot with four games to go.

Wednesday was the 12th time in 18 games that Angel City scored one goal or none.


1899 — Willie Smith wins the U.S. Open golf title, beating George low, Val Fitzjohn and W.H. Way.

1923 — Bill Tilden wins the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association championship, beating William Johnston in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4.

1962 — Frank Tripucka of the Denver Broncos passes for 447 yards and two touchdowns in a 23-20 win over the Buffalo Bills.

1971 — Stan Smith wins the U.S. Open title over Jan Khodes and Billie Jean King beats Rosemary Casals for the women’s title. It’s the first time in 16 years both titles were won by U.S. players.

1973 — Three-year-old Secretariat wins the Marlboro Cup Invitational Handicap in the then-world record time of 1:45 2-5 for 11/8 miles.

1973 — Archie Griffin of Ohio State starts his NCAA record string of 31 games of rushing for at least 100 yards, leading the Buckeyes to a 56-7 rout of Minnesota in Columbus.

1978 — Muhammad Ali becomes the first three-time heavyweight champion with a unanimous 15-round decision over Leon Spinks at the Superdome in New Orleans.

1991 — The United States women’s gymnastics team makes history with its first team medal — a silver — at the World Championships in Indianapolis.

2002 — Sam Hornish Jr. wins another incredible race at Texas Motor Speedway, and his second straight IRL title. Hornish side-by-side with Helio Castroneves for many of the last 25 laps in the season-ending Chevy 500, crosses the finish line 0.0096 seconds — only a few inches — ahead of the other driver in contention for the season championship. Hornish wins his IRL-record fifth race of the season and becomes the first driver to win two IRL championships.

2012 — LSU beats Idaho 63-14 to give the Tigers an NCAA FBS record 40th-straight non-conference regular season victory. LSU also set a Tiger Stadium mark with 20 straight home wins. Kansas State had 39 straight non-conference regular-season wins from 1993-2003.

2013 — Philip Rivers is 36 of 47 for 419 yards and three touchdown passes to Eddie Royal to lead San Diego to a 33-30 victory at Philadelphia. Michael Vick of the Eagles passes for a career-best 428 yards and two touchdowns and runs for a score.

2017 — The Cleveland has its AL record run stopped at 22 straight games as the Indians are beaten 4-3 by the Kansas City Royals.

2018 — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores his 500th worldwide goal in the Los Angeles Galaxy’s 5-3 loss to Toronto FC. The 36-year-old Swede joins Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the only active players with 500 goals for in club and international play.

Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

In case you missed it, you can watch the Dodgers celebrate clinching the National League West title on Tuesday.

Until next time...

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