The hunt is on for a new USC coach after firing Steve Sarkisian. One name that seems to keep surfacing, whether it’s the hope of northeast media or pure speculation, is Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly.
Clay Helton currently leads the Trojans on an interim basis, but it’s unknown how interested the administration would be in keeping Helton on or completely wiping the slate clean at the end of the season.
Should the Eagles organization make Kelly available, certainly the USC job would make sense for Chip. It would, however, not make sense for USC.
Kelly, whom many have called a genius for his innovative up-tempo spread offense, has somewhat let his accolades go to his head. He went from the offensive coordinator position to the head coaching position and put Oregon on the map as a consistent national championship contender. However, the Ducks are still without said National Championship having lost to Auburn under Kelly and last season against Ohio State under Mark Helfrich.
What many fail to realize is Eugene is a small city in Oregon, so any semblance of national attention is craved. Hence Nike owner Phil Knight’s insistence on every different possible combination of jersey for Oregon, in hopes of garnering attention for his alma mater and of course his multi-billion dollar corporation.
USC gets attention for sneezing in big market Los Angeles.
Kelly didn’t have to deal with detractors, though some administrators and alumni didn’t care for his attitude. Chip also gets quite Chippy with the media. Basically, from a PR standpoint, he’s another potential Lane Kiffin.
The most glaring thing about Kelly’s reign at Oregon is not all the success, but what’s happened since he left.
The Philadelphia Eagles are not better off for hiring him, as they made the playoffs his first season and have gotten progressively worse since. The same can be said for Oregon, despite it’s success with Heisman winner Marcus Mariotta, the Ducks days of plug and play are seemingly over as they’ve yet to find their webbed footing halfway into the 2015 season.
Oct 4, 2015; Landover, MD, USA; Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly looks on from the sidelines against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Meanwhile, Stanford continues to thrive and seemingly remain contenders within the Pac 12. That brings me to my next point. USC should hire a Jim Harbaugh kind of coach.
Now it’s obvious many a Trojan faithful can’t stand Jim Harbaugh. After all, he ended the USC home winning streak in 2007 and went for two during a blow out at USC homecoming in 2009. However, results are results, and for a guy like Harbaugh winning is everything.
Harbaugh is a very intense guy that demands everyone see his vision. He made Stanford a tough physical team with a consistent identity. The Cardinal will run through you on offense and punch you in the mouth on defense. They will simply wear you down, as they did in the second half against USC this season. Opponents know what they’re going to get from Stanford, it’s just up to the opponent to stop it.
The one glaring thing about the Stanford game this season is it reminded me a lot of the Stanford-Oregon match ups. The unstoppable force meets the immovable object. In this case, the immovable object is tougher and obviously more sustainable as Stanford continues to rack up impressive victories in the post-Harbaugh era. The rest of the country has grown wise to Oregon’s gimmick, but Stanford isn’t a gimmick. It’s old school. Harbaugh built stability, something that can’t be said for Pete Carroll even if sanctions did play a part.
After a stint with the NFL’s 49ers and a Super Bowl appearance, Harbaugh has gone back to his alma mater to coach and overnight the Michigan Wolverines have gone from laughing stock in the Big Ten to Playoff Contenders.
The Pete Carroll era was the party all the time and win forever era. It’s time to put the lasers and rave music away, and look to the hard nose era of John McKay. It’s time for USC to get back to their traditional roots and hit opposing teams in the mouth every single Saturday. The Trojans have been undisciplined for too long, and SC needs a tough coach to bring it back.
Kelly wants to put the rumors to rest. USC apparently hasn’t called him and he has no interest in coming back to college. Keep in mind that Kelly has yet to receive a pink slip from a job that pays him handsomely, even if he is ill suited for it.
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Kelly recruits soft track athletes built for speed. However, when Oregon played teams bigger than them and fast like them at the line of scrimmage, they’ve been beaten. From Auburn to LSU to Stanford to Ohio State to even USC, the Ducks were beatable at their height and now even more so.
The new persistent rumor has USC interested in the Ravens John Harbaugh, Jim’s brother. John beat Jim in the aforementioned Super Bowl. Whether or not John has any interest remains to be seen, but if the rumors are true, USC is looking in the right direction.
Everyone should hope for the best when it comes to Clay Helton. His success equals USC’s success. However, the deck is stacked against him. The Trojans came out flat and somehow managed to make it a game at Notre Dame, but moral victories don’t exist at USC. With Utah and Cal on the immediate horizon, Helton has his work cut out for him.
Perhaps physical and more importantly mental toughness was under our nose the whole time? Here’s hoping, but for now, the search should surpass Chip.