Wait, is Chip Kelly still coach of the Eagles?
Look for new Philly coach Chip Kelly to be back in college in two years -- for a lot of reasons.
For the Eagles, Chip Kelly worth the high costs
Take your time, boys. Chip may have left the building, but the seat isn’t cold yet. The great Charles Kelly needs time to settle in. Somewhere. Give him a week or two -- then don’t be surprised if the whole NFL doesn’t work out and he heads back to Eugene.
Would any of us be surprised?
"He's in, he's out, he's in, he's out," joked Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby Wednesday at the NCAA Convention.
It’s weird what winning can do. If I’m Phil Knight, I’m beside myself. Twice in the last year the richest shoe manufacturer in the world has endured his coach’s dalliances with the NFL. Twice in the last year he came back. Third time, it turns out, is the harm.
Just when Oregon thought it had Kelly for at least one more year, the skittish Kelly couldn’t get through January. And, to a certain extent, that’s OK. Don’t worry about recruiting. Butch Davis left a week before signing day in 2001. Larry Coker won the national championship with Miami that year.
Oregon has this thing locked down at the moment. When recruits are congratulating Kelly on his move on Twitter, that doesn't indicate a mass exodus. Maybe they sense it too. His skittishness is why Kelly will be back, soon, in college football. Chip is the living embodiment of his offense. Quick, swift, impatient. Line up and do it again. One player told me in November the team was doing reps once every 10 seconds in practice.
Bravo for the Eagles, but this isn’t -- can’t be -- a long-term relationship. I don’t doubt that Kelly can succeed in the NFL. I doubt his patience. Chip Kelly can't succeed enough for Chip Kelly. This has the look of a Nick Saban at Miami. Two and done. Maybe. Kelly isn’t one to suffer fools or losing for very long. If his offense stalls in the NFL, we already know it may be the best in college.
That's why some college power may have themselves a heck of a coach in 2015.
As for the coming NCAA penalties, that's the not the first thought I had on Wednesday. This wasn't your classic bail-out job. As of Tuesday, Kelly was committed for at least 2013. The fact that he returned from NFL Tour II earlier this month showed a certain amount of assiduity.
This is not about the NCAA and it's not about the money. OK, it's a little about the money, but Chip isn't that kind of guy. He lives to X and O. This is about a 49-year old man at the height of his marketability testing himself at the highest level.
For now, Oregon will recover. In fact, it probably already has its coach. Expect offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich to be named to replace Kelly. It’s off to Philly for Kelly, who doesn’t owe Oregon much else after delivering four straight BCS bowls and three Pac-10/12 titles. Not a bad four-year run. He promised you nothing, Oregon, as a no-name offensive coordinator that Mike Bellotti took a shine to.
He leaves as the winningest coach in Oregon history. But in a another sense -- Jeez, make up your mind already. In a move that reeked of desperation (on both sides), the Eagles have themselves a coach -- but for how long? Seriously, how long?
There aren’t many college jobs he could take at that point that would be considered an upgrade on Oregon, but there would be a few -- USC? Texas? Kelly could magically reappear in college at about the same time Mack Brown is retiring. Don't doubt that deep in that point-a-minute mind of his, the thought has crossed Kelly's mind.
That’s why today is not about today. It’s about a few years from now. At the moment, Kelly is the hottest coach in football, not just in college. He is Jim Harbaugh two years ago and Pete Carroll three years ago. His schemes are all over the NFL. The man is chasing his offense to the pros as much as the pros were chasing him. Does the zone-read work in the NFL? Have you been watching the playoffs, RG III?
All Kelly needs is a triggerman. That’s his next great hurdle, developing/signing/drafting a quarterback to make Philly Oregon East. It can never be that, of course. Kelly went 46-7 in four seasons with the Ducks. Safe to say he won’t win at an .868 clip in the NFL. But can he win 10 and get Philly to the playoffs? Sure.
I still wonder how long that will hold his attention. The Eagles are getting ready to hold a press conference. Let’s just hope Chip Kelly shows.
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