Black Monday arrived and front offices of a number of teams wasted little time. By early Monday afternoon, seven NFL coaches had been fired, and the axe could fall on a few others by the end of the day.
But this doesn't change much for Oregon, which has dealt with the Chip Kelly-to-the-NFL cloud for weeks. The Ducks are used to this. Some Oregon staffers say they are asked about Kelly and the NFL weekly, if not daily, in casual conversation. Kelly has addressed speculation ever since he nearly took the Bucs job earlier this year.
Players aren't about to dive into that topic right now, not with the Fiesta Bowl looming in three days.
"When we say it's all about Kansas State for us, it really is," said quarterback Marcus Mariota.
An Oregon source says there's a faction of Kelly's staff that is hoping to hear soon what's going on so they can look for jobs if necessary. If Kelly does go, offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich could slide into the job to keep the Ducks' continuity.
Oregon has had no staff turnover since Kelly joined four years ago, and the Ducks take pride in that. They believe it's contributed mightily to their success. The Ducks staff includes Oregon lifers such as running backs coach Gary Campbell (30 years), offensive line coach Steve Greatwood (21 years) and defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti (on his third stint with Oregon).
Helfrich has made an impression in Eugene and appears ready to be a head coach. But he's concerned with coordinating Kelly's offense right now.
"He's a great guy to work with and be around and often misunderstood, I think," Helfrich said.
Kelly has been pegged as a potential Andy Reid replacement in Philadelphia, but if Kelly really is NFL-bound, he should take a hard look at the Carolina situation. Kelly and Cam Newton on offense would be wild. If he stays at Oregon, he knows he could sleepwalk into 10-2 every year, especially with Mariota around for a few years.