The musical chairs of promotions at the University of Oregon moved former Head Coach Mike Bellotti to the Athletic Director’s chair, and former Offensive Coordinator Chip Kelly was promoted to Head Coach. Kelly is assigned the task of dragon slayer, and will attempt to knock USC from the Pac-10 perch it’s been on for the better part of this decade.
Kelly’s no slouch at designing plays on the offensive side of the ball. His spread offense system has played very well for the Ducks, leading the Pac-10 in both scoring and total offense the past two seasons. Oregon has a monster non-conference schedule this season with their first three games at Boise State, and then home and home against Purdue and Utah. The Ducks will be lucky to go 2-1 during this stretch. A 3-0 start will have thoughts of playing for a national title dancing around in their heads.
Coach Chip Kelly joined KTAR to give an overview of his team and the Pac-10 in general.
On replacing Mike Bellotti and transition to head coach:
“Usually when you get a chance to be a coach at the division one level it’s because you’re taking over a program that wasn’t very successful so you’re bringing in your own assistant coaches, you’re making wholesale changes. You hear people talking about trying to change the culture and what not. So when this job was presented from Mike (Bellotti) the opportunity for the succession plan, very rarely do you get to take over a top ten program. For that reason, almost all of our assistant coaches are the same.”
Coach Kelly was asked about the opening game against Boise St.:
“There’s not a bigger test to open the season than to play Boise at Boise. They have a tremendous home field advantage, probably one of the best in college football. We’re going to find out if we’re any good right off the jump on September 3rd.”
On Oregon playing big non conference games year after year:
“Two years ago, my first year here, we played Michigan at Michigan who was a bowl team that one a New Years bowl, beat Florida. We played Fresno State who went to a bowl game and then Houston went to a bowl game. Our goal at Oregon is to be the best, and to be the best you’ve got to play the best. I’ve got no problem with it. Some people talk about having a couple of easy games early so you can ease into the schedule. We’re not easing into anything. We’re going to find out what we’re made of in those first three games and then head into the toughest conference in my opinion, the Pac Ten, because you have to play everybody. You don’t get to skirt a team every couple of years like some of the other leagues with the round robin schedules. We’ve got to play them all. I like our schedule, and that’s the way it’s always going to be. We want to challenge ourselves.”