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Pac-12: Losing Chip Kelly won't ruin Oregon

Published January 16, 2013 2:10 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The natural response to Chip Kelly's leaving Oregon to become the Philadelphia Eagles' coach is that this move gives the rest of the Pac-12 a better chance to beat the Ducks.

That may or may not be true.

Kelly sure seems to be one of those exceptional coaching talents, but a lot of observers thought Stanford's run of success would end when Jim Harbaugh joined the San Francisco 49ers, and that hardly has proven to be the case. It's unreasonable to think that just because Kelly is gone, Oregon's offense will suddenly become easier to solve – for defenses other than Stanford's, anyway.

The infrastructure and cachet of the Ducks' program have created a national brand that won't be diminished by Kelly's departure. Offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich is almost certain to succeed Kelly. And while Kelly clearly was operating the Oregon offense, Helfrich was involved to a degree that should make the transition fairly smooth.

Boise State opponents rejoiced when Dirk Koetter and then Dan Hawkins moved, but Chris Petersen turned out to be the best coach of all. The Broncos' example suggests that Oregon will not drop off immediately or precipitously.