Nicholls State vs. Oregon: Mark Helfrich's Debut a Chip off the Old Block

Brandon OliverContributor IAugust 31, 2013

With Marcus Mariota at the helm, Mark Helfrich started off his head coaching career in grand fashion
With Marcus Mariota at the helm, Mark Helfrich started off his head coaching career in grand fashionChristopher Barth/Getty Images

If the definition of success for a new head coach is based on the scoreboard and the win-loss column, Mark Helfrich is off to flawless start as the Oregon Ducks' new head man.

While FCS cellar-dweller Nicholls State was outmatched in every facet of the game, the Ducks looked as dominant as they ever did under the departed Chip Kelly.

Helfrich was the offensive coordinator during Kelly's head coaching tenure, which was record breaking in every way imaginable. With Helfrich leading the way and former wide receivers' coach Scott Frost calling the plays, the Ducks broke the school record with 772 yards of offense.

The prevailing thought has been that the Ducks would air the ball out a little bit more with Heisman Trophy candidate Marcus Mariota at quarterback.

They loaded wide receiving corps contributes to the theory that the Ducks can open up the offense even further.

What Helfrich, Frost and the Ducks proved today is that the more things change in Eugene, the more they stay the same.

The receivers had a great day catching the ball, but the "no block, no rock," theory still holds true for the Ducks. Their wideouts, who developed into standout downfield blockers under Frost's coaching, helped rush for 500 yards—three players surpassed the 100-yard mark.

It seems as if Helfrich may be slightly less aggressive in terms of going for it on fourth downs, going for two when it isn't necessary. Aside from that, the Ducks appear to be heading down the same path that Kelly lead them on.

While the game wasn't very stressful, the Ducks' new head coach felt confident heading into his debut. He has been with the Ducks during their historic run since Kelly took over in 2009 and advice from his three predecessors helped him prepare for what he was about to embark on.

Ryan Thorburn of the Eugene Register Guard wrote as much after the Ducks 66-3 throttling on the FCS Colonels on Saturday afternoon.

After an offseason full of questions and speculation, the cool, calm and collected Helfrich answered a lot of questions today. While it was against a lowly FCS program, the Ducks' new head man is off to a better start than Chip Kelly was after their first game as Oregon's head coach

Things will get kicked up a notch starting next week as the Ducks travel across the country to face Virginia next Saturday, but for now, Oregon fans are feeling very confident that the changing of the guard in Eugene is nothing more than a news story.

The Ducks have established themselves as a true powerhouse in college football and Mark Helfrich has no plans to change anything.