10 days after informing the University of Oregon that he intends to stay on board as the head coach, Chip Kelly has indeed left the Ducks to pursue an NFL career with the Philadelphia Eagles. This will be Kelly’s first stint in the NFL.
Somewhere at USC, Lane Kiffin, the Trojan defense and all of Kiffin’s defensive coordinator candidates are rejoicing.
Kelly had been well on his way to creating at dynasty at Oregon before opting to take his talents to the NFL. The 49-year old Kelly racked up an impressive 46-7 (.868) record as head coach of the Ducks en route to A BCS Title appearance, two Rose Bowls and most recently a Fiesta Bowl appearance. This season alone, Oregon hung nearly 50 points per game (49.6) on opponents, while his scoring average over the past four season is 44.7 points per game. His aggressive, lightning fast style of offense has propelled Oregon from the Pac-12 doldrums to NCAA elite.
Just how much of a headache has he been for other Pac-12 coaches over the past four years?
Text from a Pac-12 coach who I asked about Chip Kelly going to Eagles: “Great. Let the f@ckin NFL deal with him.”
— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) January 16, 2013
That’s how much.
Kelly hopping aboard the NFL Express is surely good news for the rest of the Pac-12, but what does it mean for Oregon?
Like Pete Carroll in 2009, Kelly’s decision to take the Eagles job mere days after the University said he wouldn’t could mean that he caught wind of what the NCAA has in store for Oregon and decided he wanted none of it. Oregon is under NCAA investigation because of allegations regarding Willie Lyles, a talent scout reportedly paid $25,000 in 2010 by the university for the recruitment of 5-star runningback Lache Seastrunk. Kelly’s bolt to the NFL could suggest that sanctions are coming, and coming soon.
For USC, this news certainly comes as a sort of relief for a number of reasons. Trojan commit OT Nico Falah recently had an in-home visit with Kelly, a visit that exceeded expectations.
Great visit with coach Kelly went better than expected
— Nics ✌ (@NicoFalah) January 15, 2013
Not even 48 hours later, Falah took to Twitter to react to the news of Kelly leaving Oregon:
Chip Kelly left?!?! He was at my house 2 days ago
— Nics ✌ (@NicoFalah) January 16, 2013
Falah has been a long-time USC commit, but with all the turmoil and instability in the Trojan program right now, he could have been lured away by Kelly and the Ducks. Today’s development could keep Falah in the ranks with Trojan, if he had been considering a last-minute flip even a little bit.
The Oregon Ducks have survived the losses of major players (QBs Dennis Dixon, Jeremiah Masoli, Darron Thomas, for example) before, replacing them so seamlessly that it was awe-inspiring.
But can they replace Kelly himself as seamlessly, too?
Kelly’s departure will surely have a fallout with their impending recruiting class, as Kelly leaves just three weeks before National Signing Day. To avoid that, Oregon is going to want to work quickly to find a successor for him, which will likely be current offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich.
There are a number of uncertainties surrounding Oregon right now–and the future, but now one thing is clear: Lane Kiffin will officially be the coolest Visor in the Pac-12.