There is no denying the success of Chip Kelly as the head coach of the Oregon football team.
However, behind Kelly stands a talented group of individuals that are just as key to this program as the main man himself. These men are the backbone and the future of the Ducks. They are talented and full of potential, per ESPN.com's DuckNation.
Oregon lifers such as running backs coach Gary Campbell and linebackers coach Don Pellum know the ins and outs of this football team better than anyone else, including Kelly. Cambell is a recruiting expert, which is vital to the Ducks' continued success. Pellum is also a crucial piece in Oregon's recruiting. These men may often be "behind-the-scenes" guys, but their impact extends much further than many realize.
The assistant coaches are important to Oregon as they will be the ones to lead the team to a title someday. More than likely, Kelly will leave sooner rather than later. In fact, he nearly bolted for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the NFL after last season. While some may worry about the day Kelly leaves, there really is no reason for concern.
A certain level of continuity in Oregon's assistant coaches adds to the team's strength. Beyond just Campbell and Pellum, many of the assistant coaches have been with Oregon for a long time. This list includes strength and conditioning coach Jim Radcliffe, defensive backs coach John Neal and offensive line coach Steve Greatwood.
However, the veteran assistant coaches are not the only ones deserving credit for the team's strength. Newcomers, such as wide receivers coach Scott Frost and defensive line coach Jerru Assinaro, add value to this football program as well.
This value is further proved through offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, who the Orlando Sentinel named as one of the five assistant coaches to watch in 2012. Rightfully so, as the Oregon offense has become one of the most exciting in college football since Helfrich took the reigns. Helfrich may just be an assistant, but his impact is great.
When Kelly does decide to leave, these are the men that will continue the title search for Oregon. Kelly will most likely not take many of his assistants with him, which is an advantage for the Ducks.
While a certain level of credit must be given to things such as facilities, uniforms and the institution itself, Oregon has really found itself a secret weapon in its' assistant coaches. The combined experience they bring to this team will no doubt also bring a title to the Ducks in the coming years.
As far as Oregon is concerned, head coaches may come and go, but it is the assistant staff that brings strength and opportunity.
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