The 2007 hiring of New Hampshire offensive coordinator Chip Kelly was historic to the Oregon football program. Although named to the same position by Oregon (taking over for Gary Crowton, who left for LSU), his version of the spread offense has brought legendary results to a program that has had its share of ups and downs. His innovative offensive assault gained more national attention once Duck head coach Mike Belotti resigned and Kelly was named his replacement.
Since taking over in 2009, he has led the high-powered Ducks to two Rose Bowl appearances and a close National Championship game loss in 2011. Led by redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota, the 2012 Ducks once again looked like BCS title contenders until getting unceremoniously knocked out of the picture by conference opponent Stanford in a close 17-14 game. In a year (2012) where the Ducks were supposed to be rebuilding, they remain in the top five and will most likely be given a BCS bowl berth.
Kelly was widely courted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last offseason to become their head coach and was thought to have accepted the position. Kelly supposedly had second thoughts, and instead, Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano took the job (and has already brought results). News also emerged that New England coach (and future Hall of Famer) Bill Belichick had consulted Kelly about the spread no-huddle hurry up offense, which has become another dangerous tool in Patriot quarterback Tom Brady’s arsenal.
Although he has yet to win a BCS championship, he has little left to prove in the college ranks. While I’m not sure that’s motivation for him to leave Eugene, perhaps the possible upcoming sanctions against Oregon will make him change his mind. One has to think that the NFL will beat down his door this offseason in the hopes of luring the young offensive mastermind to the pr’s.
Here is a preview of the teams that could call Kelly sooner rather than later. Rankings are in best fit (from worst to best).