Kelly, Helfrich, Greatwood: Their Roles In Oregon's Offense for 2009

Jeff KneisSenior Analyst IIIJune 10, 2009

CORVALLIS, OR - NOVEMBER 29:  Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli #2  of the Oregon Ducks throws a pass against the Oregon State Beavers at Reser Stadium on November 29, 2008 in Corvalis, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

With Chip Kelly becoming head coach, Mark Helfrich recently coming from Colorado to become Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach and Steve Greatwood getting the Running Game Coordinator label, it is getting tough to figure out who is really running the Oregon Ducks offense.

Helfrich has yet to coach any official practices, as he didn't assume coaching duties until after spring ball, so only Chip Kelly knows how each person truly fits into his plan for the offense in 2009.

Figuring out who will assume which role will not be 100% clear until fall camp begins for the Ducks, but I will do my best to breakdown how I think each person will fit into the plan.


A quick look back to the Bellotti/Kelly relationship might provide some insight into how the offensive duties will be divided.

Bellotti put trust in Chip Kelly’s plan from the start of his coaching gig at Oregon. Kelly and occasionally Bellotti would teach the quarterbacks, but the game planning/film watching was left up to Kelly.

Since Kelly’s offense is still the style Oregon will use, I believe Kelly will have more of an active role in the offense as a head coach. Helfrich will have to learn the offense from Kelly and the right situation for certain plays.

Bellotti let both coordinators have full control of the game plan and play calling. I think because Kelly wants to have more influence on the offense that is run, he will slowly transition the play calling duties to Helfrich.

Kelly's Role

I think, especially this year, Chip Kelly's role with the offense will not change much from his previous role as offensive coordinator the past two seasons. I believe he will call all the plays and make final decisions on the game plan each week.

One way which his role will change will be the added duties of being the head coach. At practices, he will have to be more involved in other areas and will not be able to spend as much time mentoring the quarterbacks.

Kelly will also need to rely on both Helfrich and Greatwood to help break down film on upcoming opponents. With added responsibility of moving up to head coach, Kelly will have to cut back on his film preparation and will need both coaches to help him come up with an offensive game plan against each opponent.

Helfrich's Role

To start the season, I believe Helfrich’s role will mainly have to do with working with the quarterbacks in practice and helping them with their decision making. As the season progresses and he learns the playbook, I believe he will start to have more responsibility with the game plan.

Chip Kelly’s offense takes a long time to learn and even longer to master. I think he will bring Helfrich along slowly and teach him the ins and outs of what makes the Oregon offense so dangerous before letting Helrich take over play calling duties.

I think Helfrich will provide an immediate impact in the development of the quarterbacks and will start to show more of his offensive coordinator skills later in the season and in 2010.

Greatwood's Role

The most interesting part of the offensive coaching situation was the announcement of Steve Greatwood as Running Game Coordinator.

I am not sure what a Running Game coordinator exactly does, but I would assume he will have more input on how to game plan against opponents.

Greatwood has done an amazing job producing top rushing attacks for the Ducks over the years and this is a positive step in getting him more involved in the offense.

I feel Greatwood’s role will not change much during practice, but will have more influence in the game plans and with breaking down opponent’s defenses.

These changes are still up in the air to the fans and come fall practice, I am confident there will be an effective system in place for the Ducks to have a great offensive year.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.