Today at his Monday press conference, I asked Chip Kelly about his upcoming opponent’s home field – the LA Coliseum.
“Is there anything unique about the setup of that stadium that you have to take into account when you game plan?”
“No,” Kelly said with a tone of absolute self-assurance. “I know the locker room’s small. But, meeting rooms and places like that, I think you have to make some adjustments from that standpoint. But, once you get out there, it’s a pretty wide open, vast area. So, there’s nothing that we’ve had to do in my past history from a standpoint and looking at different things. I don’t think weather’s going to be a big factor.
“I think every time we played there, it was a later afternoon, night game. So, I’ve never really been there for a 1:00 kick. So, you’ll always check where the sun is in the sky and if that’s going to affect you, then we make adjustments accordingly from that standpoint.”
Kelly was grossly uninformed about the field at the LA Coliseum. But before I get to that, I want to tell you this. Kelly mentioned he never has coached a one o’clock game in the LA Coliseum. Well, he will this Saturday, so I’d like to notify him of something he apparently does not know but should. I bet every serious football coach in America knows this fact about the LA Coliseum.
Almost every football field in America – including Levi’s Stadium – runs north to south. But, the LA Coliseum runs east to west. It is a well-known anomaly of that stadium. At noon today, Chip Kelly did not know this. Amazing.
At some point during the third or fourth quarter, his offense will head east – away from the setting sun. And, the sun will blind receivers on the left side of the 49ers’ formation – the north side — because the sun sets 23 degrees south of due west during December. That means receivers on the left side of the formation will be looking directly into the sun.
Kelly needs to construct a special second-half offense this week for his players when they head east in the LA coliseum. Needs to construct a second-half game plan which primarily consists of passes to the right side of the formation. That would be the south side, shielded from the setting sun. He needs to plan ahead, as in right now.
Kelly often says he doesn’t read blogs. This week, for his sake and the sake of being well prepared, I hope he reads mine.
Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for The Press Democrat’s website. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.