Oregon Football experienced the best possible outcome when they promoted offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich and hired him as the new head coach of the program.
For all intents and purposes, this was the optimal situation after the Ducks lost Chip Kelly to the Philadelphia Eagles of the NFL.
When the Ducks lost Kelly, they very well could have lost their identity along with him.
Oregon football still had the Nike connections, which means they still had the plethora of jersey's and Oregon "brand", but one could argue that Oregon's fast-paced revolutionary offensive system is more of a draw than anything else the Ducks have to offer.
That was Kelly's system since he came in as the offensive coordinator, and it was the system that put Oregon on the map nationally with recruits.
Had Oregon hired outside of the organization, the very look and feel of Ducks' football could have drastically changed, and in the end that would have a rather negative impact on Oregon recruiting. Instead, the Ducks made the smart move and hired from within—promoting Helfrich from offensive coordinator to head coach.
If this seems familiar, that's the same transition Kelly went through, and the results speak for themselves.
This was a big move by Oregon, and it will go down as a huge recruiting win as well.
First and foremost is the issue of Oregon's fast-paced offensive system. Other than Kelly, I doubt there's a coach in the country who knows that system better than Helfrich does. He was the offensive coordinator after all, which means that he had to have known the offense inside and out.
As head coach, he'll have a very intimate knowledge of Orgegon's offensive scheme, and that will help the Ducks hold on to that offensive identity that has become so synonymous with Oregon football on the recruiting trail.
There should not be much of a change offensively with Helfrich at the helm , according to Rob Mosley of registerguard.com:
And then there’s Oregon’s high-powered offense. Helfrich didn’t have a background in the spread-option before joining Kelly’s staff, but he quipped Sunday that “we’re not going to get into the wishbone; we’re not going to be under center with four tight ends.”
“We’ll be very, very similar,” predicted UO tight ends coach Tom Osborne, who coached with Helfrich when the latter was a graduate assistant with the Ducks in 1997, and again at Arizona State from 2001-05. “I can’t see us changing much. I say that, and we evolve what we do each year, because we’re trying to stay one step ahead of our opponents. … But aggressive play calling? I don’t see it changing at all. But we’ll see.”
Oregon's offense should still be intact, which means the brand as we know it should not suffer.
At the very least Helfrich is in the best position to keep that brand moving forward. If Oregon made any other hire, that simply would not be the case.
There's also the fact that things won't change much on the recruiting trail for Oregon. By basically just moving coaches up within the program, the Ducks staff will remain (mostly) intact, and that's huge on the recruiting trail.
Was Helfrich the best hire for Oregon?
Players develop the strongest relationship with assistant coaches and position coaches, so the fact that Oregon only lost Kelly and defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro (who went to Philadelpia with Kelly) is huge for the Ducks.
Recruits won't have to get a whole new staff, and that could be the most important part of this hire for Oregon in the short-term.
Overall, this was the best possible situation for the Ducks.
Things looked bleak when Kelly left for the NFL, but Oregon handled his departure in a smooth fashion and came away with an A-plus hire.