"Obviously one of the best coaches in the game," Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo said of Kelly, per Gene Wang of the Washington Post. "For us to have an opportunity to be around him, learn from him, we're just trying to soak in as much as we can."
"Some of the things he did at Oregon revolutionized football," Niumatalolo added. "Everybody's doing no-huddle, one-word concepts. His offseason stuff, his uptempo stuff, a lot of the things that he implemented, literally high school, college and pro guys are doing it. He's definitely a trendsetter."
The admiration is mutual. Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk broke down Kelly's well-documented respect for the program:
Chip Kelly has long been an admirer of the U.S. Navy. When he coached at Oregon he modeled some of his offseason program on Navy SEALs workout routines, and when the Eagles hired him he hired a Navy SEALs trainer to serve as Philadelphia’s sports science coordinator. Kelly has attended Navy games while he was an NFL head coach, and there was even talk that he might be interested in coaching Navy.
Kelly, 53, was indeed a visionary at Oregon, where his read-option spread attack and and breakneck pace influenced college offenses and inspired Oregon's trip to the BCS National Championship Game in 2011. And while he went 10-6 in his first two seasons with the Eagles, he never had the same level of success at the pro level, going 6-9 in his final year with the Eagles in 2015 before going 2-14 in his lone campaign with the Niners last year.
Kelly has been making the rounds at college campuses, however, attending a New Mexico Lobos practice on April 3 and a Texas A&M Aggies practice last Wednesday. He also visited with Alabama's coaches in January.
"If I get a chance to watch someone else practice and train, I jump at the opportunity," Kelly said during his New Mexico visit, per Rick Wright of the Albuquerque Journal. "It's always good to see how other people do things."
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