BY SPNW Staff 03:15PM 01/16/2013

Will Oregon Own The Pac-12 With Kelly Gone?

Deceptive as the Ducks’ option plays, Chip Kelly blasted out of Eugene for Philadelphia. The question is, will the rest of the Pac-12 benefit by his departure?

Will the rest of the Pac-12 be able to gang up on the Oregon Ducks with the departure of Chip Kelly? / Greg Davis Photography

Two weeks ago, it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that Chip Kelly would bolt Oregon for the Philadelphia Eagles. Then a week ago, Kelly withdrew his name from consideration and said he would remain at Oregon, prompting athletic director Rob Mullens to say that Kelly “is a great leader, and we’re thrilled he’s going to remain in Eugene.” But Wednesday, and to the considerable relief of every other program in the Pac-12 Conference, Kelly finally took his offensive act to Philadelphia.

No school can be more elated at Kelly’s departure for the NFL than USC, which allowed the Ducks to average 50 points and 601 yards the past couple of years — except for maybe the University of Washington.

Since 2007, when Kelly became Oregon’s offensive coordinator, the Ducks have whomped the Huskies six consecutive times. Not one was close.  Oregon cumulatively outscored Washington 281-117, an average pounding of 46.8 to 19.5. The Ducks averaged 495.5 yards of total offense.

In Kelly’s four-year tenure as head coach, he directed the Ducks to four consecutive BCS bowls — two Rose Bowls, one national championship game, and most recently the Fiesta Bowl in which the Ducks throttled Kansas State 35-17 — and accumulated a 46-7 record.

“Chip Kelly was the reason that Oregon became a national power,” Mike Farrell, national recruiting analyst for said on the website Wednesday. “The facilities and attention with the uniforms are fringe benefits, but it is his offense that is scoring a ton of points and making every player want to go there.”

With national signing day just three weeks away, Kelly’s departure could play havoc with Oregon’s current recruiting class. To ensure some measure of continuity, it’s assumed that Oregon will promote offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, although there has been no official word out of Eugene yet.

If that happens, Helfrich probably won’t change Kelly’s spread offense much. But just as Washington never was the same after Don James left, Oregon won’t be the same without Kelly.

Washington has made some remarkable strides under head coach Steve Sarkisian, who has coached three bowl teams in four years following the Huskies’ 0-12 flop in 2008. But the Huskies and Ducks are currently in the same league in name only. Kelly’s departure might start to change the dynamic. Or maybe not. This is where you come in.



  • coolguy1

    Thank goodness he’s gone. Talk about an offensive genious – I never have seen quarterbacks master such a system where each one looked like he was the best ever. The senior graduates? No problem, we’ll just bring in a freshman who turns out to be even better!
    What a remarkable system.
    Possibly Sark is integrating some of their schemes into the UW’s playbook.
    I just hope the new head guy isn’t near as good!

    • steverudman

      Thanks so much for those observations. Every Washington fan has to acknowledge that Kelly was a remarkable college coach.

  • Tian Biao

    Kelly’s departure should help every Pac-12 school, because it’s hard to imagine anyone better. It’s good news for Husky fans however you look at it. The Ducks have replaced the Cougars as UW’s top rival. Hopefully this’ll make it easier to beat them someday. I mean, nothing lasts forever, right? ps good observation: facilities, uniforms, whatever – it’s the high-scoring offense that draws the recruits.

  • banished

    If Washington is elated at Chip Kelly’s departure, they’d better enjoy the rapture while they can. Oregon is nearly as much think tank as football program, so its winning culture won’t erode overnight. How many teams even knew Kelly existed prior to his 2007 arrival at UO as an assistant coach? That Oregon did says a ton about their smarts, their willingness to do painstaking research, and, especially, their willingness to hire a guy from football Siberia, New Hampshire. Sorta plays hell with the notion that Oregon’s success is primarily due to Phil Knight. Even his bucks can’t buy an unlimited supply of scholarships.

    The article noted that with Kelly as either head coach or offensive coordinator, the Ducks never lost to UW, with no game even being close. While that’s true, Duck dominance began well before that: In the twelve games between the two schools from 1994 through 2006, UO won eight times. Mike Belotti could coach a bit too, as could Rich Brooks. The article also stated the Ducks won’t be the same without Kelly, also true. They might be better.

  • Big

    Nike, I mean the ducks will abide if not flourish. You want to beat Orgeon change your mind set. Compete.