Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 1/17/13
Rollercoaster Ride Looks as though my article about Chip Kelly remaining with the Oregon Ducks was wasted time now that the Philadelphia Eagles have announced them as their next head coach. Unless, however, the Eagles think that this prank is some ingenious plan to throw off all other NFL teams while reveling in the huge salary that they have to dole out to their “star” performers. While that scenario would be great for Duck fans around the world (as their coveted head coach would remain with a program on the verge of a second BCS National Championship), in all likelihood that is just about as likely to occur as the Raiders ever making the playoffs again. The move comes as a huge surprise to everybody across the college football world and ends a saga that has been one of the most ill-reported, least factual, and frustrating to cover coaching searches in the NFL. First Chip was headed to Cleveland, then he was going to Philly, then, against almost all the odds, indications were that he was going to remain at Oregon. You could pull your hair out faster than his offense could score the way this ride has gone. But, after everything that has taken place, Chip Kelly will be the next head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, a team that is, for the moment, still in shambles after putting together one of the most impressive rosters on paper. Here’s what we love and hate about the move. Love ‘Em Next Man Up Mark Helfrich will be the next head coach of the Oregon Ducks; at least, this is the moved that has been rumored for quite some time now. While Rob Mullens (Oregon’s Athletic Director) has stated that he would be open to conducting a search for the next head coach, the most logical option (and the one that Oregon fans should want to happen) is the promotion of Helfrich from his offensive coordinator position to the head coaching position. Chip Kelly is off to the NFL after a historic run at the University of Oregon. Would this move remind anybody of something that happened a few year ago, perhaps? If this likely promotion does occur, Oregon fans can remain confident that Helfrich will continue the potent offense that Oregon has become world-renowned for. He has spent his entire career at Oregon under Chip Kelly’s supervision and guidance. Though he struggled during his time with Colorado, Helfrich is one of those coaches who has the tools to succeed at the college football level. He will soon be thrown into a media frenzy and fans across the nation will finally get to see Chip Kelly’s predecessor, a coach Kelly likely groomed to become Oregon’s next great head coach. In fact, many have mentioned that Helfrich would be a better image for the University of Oregon to carry into the future. While Kelly is a stand-up man and relates well with players and parents, his dealings with the media and boosters has always been contentious. There is no doubt that Oregon will miss their snarky head coach from the northeast. But, with Helfrich as the next man up, Duck fans can remain confident that they will have a coach who is ready to step up once again. A Path for the Players As good as Oregon has been at the college football level, there is some lingering doubt about how good the program is for building NFL-caliber players. While players such as Jairus Byrd, Patrick Chung, T.J. Ward, Ed Dickson, Max Unger, Haloti Ngata, and Jonathan Stewart have found success at the next level, many fans believe Oregon is just a flashy offense without any true star players. Chip Kelly’s departure to the NFL is about to change all of those perceptions. NFL fans have already begun to get a taste of how potent the read-option can be with a quarterback who can run. Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III proved that this past season. With Oregon being the epitome of the innovative offense based off the read-option, plenty of Oregon football players will likely see their names called in the near future, further enhancing the credibility of the University of Oregon as a football factory. Hate ‘Em Recruiting Fallout Though many fans of other Pac-12 teams have already tried to downsize Oregon as a football program and proclaim them dead despite the talent they still have on the roster, the biggest problem for the Oregon football team is likely a potential recruiting fallout that may occur, especially considering the fact that Kelly was out on the recruiting trail this past week. Chip Kelly and Marcus Mariota capped an impressive 2012 season with a win over the Wildcats. (Photo: Oregonlive.com/Thomas Boyd Oregon, especially in past years, has been the definition of a closer when it comes to the end of recruiting season. They get the players they want, take them away from other programs, and load up their roster with young talent that will compete for positions in the near future. The uncertainty surrounding Kelly and the program right now, however, may come to hurt the Ducks come signing day. Pulling a Pete Carroll I’m not going to say much about this in order not to jinx it, but there have been rumors that Chip Kelly is heading to the NFL to get away from sanctions that will be coming down on the program come Spring. Having heard him talk in person and asked him questions myself, I know that is not the case. Chip Kelly is not the type of guy to leave a program just because it may be getting in some trouble. Kelly’s departure to the NFL likely results because the Eagles agreed to his terms after they could not find a better coach. The opportunity to get to the NFL is a tough one to pass up and there are many people who would not take at least one shot at the premiere level of football. The sanction rumors against Oregon have all Pac-12 teams in a giddy frenzy about their chance to become the next powerhouse. However, with the facts being unclear and Willie Lyles actually repealing his previous statement about Oregon asking him to direct players towards the program, the hearing scheduled for Spring may be more of a fact-finding mission rather than authoritative hammer. Best of luck at the NFL-level, Chip. If things don’t work out between you two, the University of Oregon will likely always have open arms. CLICK HERE CHECK OUT THE DUCKS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
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