Any fan who has watched Oregon Ducks football games this season has noticed one consistent trend. The Ducks play well in the first half, but games are usually close. Then, in the second half, the Ducks' conditioning and coaching adjustments leave their opponents in the dust. In this manner, Chip Kelly has brought the Ducks to the No. 1 ranking in the nation.
In just his second season, Kelly has proved to be among the best, if not the best, offensive mind in the country. Last season, he took the Ducks to the Rose Bowl for the first time in nearly 20 years. They did lose to a very talented Ohio State team, but Kelly’s first exposure to the national spotlight was a success.
However, all this success has to be concerning Ducks fans, at least in one respect. Despite the fact that Kelly signed a long-term contract with the Ducks, it’s only a matter of time until a deep-pocketed NFL owner approaches Kelly with the opportunity to move up in the ranks.
Teams like Dallas, Minnesota, Cincinnati and San Francisco all have talented rosters with offenses that are unable to succeed. Enter Kelly, who has proven his ability to put points on the board.
While the last several college coaches to move ranks have been failures (although Pete Carroll has done a good job this season), NFL teams like to roll the dice. Dennis Erickson was twice an NFL coach before returning to college, and, perhaps more importantly to NFL teams, Jimmy Johnson was a college coach before moving up.
By all accounts, and especially considering his recent extension, Kelly will not be moving this season, but a coach of his caliber will get calls and continue to get calls. And some of them will be very enticing.
In the meantime, Ducks fans can look forward to utter dominance of the Pac-10, with scores that make basketball coaches envious.