Chip Kelly announced today he will not accept the head coaching job for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I would like to personally congratulate Mr. Kelly for making a phenomenal decision. He may be 100% responsible for Oregon not making the National Title game this year, but Chip did actually do something right by staying with Oregon in the college realm.
Kelly decided to place the game against USC (and Oregon’s National Championship hopes) on the foot of a sophomore kicker who did not win the job in training camp, was 7 for 11 on the year, and had a long of 40 yards. Logically, Kelly bled the clock dry in order to make sure USC could not score and set up Alejandro Maldonado for a game TYING field goal from 39 yards away. Oregon (who averaged about a touchdown every 2 minutes of possession) had the ball on the Southern Cal side of the field with over a minute and a half left and two timeouts. Kelly got the ball to the 22 yard line and with over a minute and a timeout, ran the ball twice to the middle of the field, bled the clock dry and set Maldonado for a chance to win…he of course missed, USC won, and Oregon would not be the team earning the rematch against LSU…but I digress.
For Kelly, the world suspected he would become a head coach in the NFL for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the team offered Kelly the position. He accepted…then declined. Kelly probably reviewed how spread offense coaches have fared in the NFL and realized only one has made the jump (Bobby Petrino) and he quickly became the most hated man in Atlanta and had to skip town in the middle of the season in order to avoid a lynch mob…or at least Mike Zimmer.
Petrino retreated to SEC country in Arkansas (more importantly, the college game in general) where the spread offense is not just a way of living, but has become the most popular system in the nation. Kelly was wise to avoid Petrino’s fate. Team’s have found all NFL players are fast enough to neutralize the speed spread teams successfully employ at college level. Kelly would not be able to recruit dominate athletes in the pros as he has at Oregon…not because those types of athletes are not available, but because every other team would have just as athletic and fast players. A system based solely on speed has never worked in the NFL and Chip Kelly’s offense is the definition of a system based on speed. One watches Oregon run around against the big hulking players of Wisconsin and big backers in the SEC in order to out quick everyone…well imagine that type of system being implemented when every player is as fast and athletic as James Kirkpatrick from Alabama and there is not a squirmy, defect on the field where you can run around them…Chip Kelly saved his career and we won’t see him have to get fired by Tampa in three years when he fails as a coach in the NFL and have to comeback and coach a slack college team like Arkansas (no offense, Hogs) when he already has a national powerhouse in Eugene which is in the Rose Bowl and National Title hunt every year…now if he can learn to play for the win….