Chip Kelly Insists Willie Lyes Investigation Is Not Distracting His Top Ranked Team From Its Preparation for Opener Against LSU

July 27, 2011 – 7:00 am by Steven Cuce

The Oregon Ducks are focusing on preparing for a huge challenge on September 3rd when they kick off the 2011 season at Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington against Louisiana State.  All the while, Chip Kelly has been bombarded with questions about the NCAA’s investigation of Willie Lyles and whether he worked for the Oregon football program improperly.

Chip Kelly has continually stated that anything regarding Willie Lyles will be discussed after the NCAA investigation is over. Oregon University hired a law firm to handle the case and cooperate with the NCAA.  Every media outlet has been trying to get Kelly to shed even the slightest glimpse of light about the matter, but he has remained mum and adamant about not commenting until the investigation is over.

In Chip Kelly’s mind he believes that the Ducks have done nothing wrong. Kelly doesn’t feel it was a mistake because 80 other schools worked with Lyles as well. Unfortunately, that excuse has never worked for anybody, and it perhaps suggests that Kelly doesn’t understand the trouble he and the Ducks program could be in.  This recruiting scandal by Lyles may be the beginning of the end of Kelly as the Ducks head coach.

Chip Kelly joined 950 KJR with Dave ‘Softy’ Mahler to discuss how he has and will continue to approach the onslaught of media questions concerning the NCAA’s investigation of the Oregon football team’s relationship with Willie Lyles, being concerned about nothing but preparing his team for the new season at the moment, waiting until the investigation has run its complete course before commenting, whether it’s been tough for him or his football team to focus because of the ongoing investigation, the opportunity to play LSU at Cowboys Stadium to start the 2011 season, and if he’d agree that the Ducks have a big bulls-eye on their back because of all the success they’ve had in recent years.

How is Oregon approaching all the questions that you are getting today regarding the NCAA investigation of Willie Lyles? What do you want people to know?

“As I said in the press conference that the NCAA has a process that we have great respect for that they are going through examining and reviewing the situation. And we have also hired an outside law firm to conduct their own review of what we have done and when that report comes out then we’ll talk about it. But until that point in time we can’t talk about it.”

Are you concerned with where Oregon football is going to be once this NCAA investigation is over? Is that a concern for you at all right now?

“No. Our concern is that the process is going on and we are going to let it take its course. That’s what I’ve said — when the end result comes out we will be more than happy to talk about the whole thing.”

Has this been tough having the NCAA investigation be the focus of the football team for the last couple of months?

“It’s not the focus for our football team. Our kids are back in Eugene, Oregon right now working their tales off right now getting ready to play LSU.

Tell me about the opportunity to play LSU in the season opener at Cowboys Stadium?

“I think we always want to challenge ourselves. Since I’ve been at Oregon we have played at Michigan, played at Tennessee, played Utah, played Purdue. I love playing in big games and our players relish that. It’s one of the reasons they come to our place. I don’t have a lot to do with scheduling because a lot of it is scheduled way out, but this opportunity did come up and somebody bowed out. I can’t remember who and when this opportunity came up to look for a game I said ‘Let’s test and see what type of football program we are.’ “

Do you feel that Oregon football has the big bulls-eye on their back where every team you face will make you guys out to be the biggest game of the season? Do you feel the pressure?

“No. I think our kids last year really understood in what we try to talk to our players about all the time that we don’t deal with outside influences like praise or blame. They are all the same to us that if you continue to…not only in football, but in life kind of run your life or run your football program based upon what other people think of you or what other people talk about you then you’re just going to be a yo-yo and be up-and-down. We know that our formula for success is that we win because of our preparation and we feel if we can put in a good week of preparation we have a shot every Saturday that we go out there. We control that, but we don’t control all the other stuff. Are we going to get everybody’s ‘A’ game? Yeah. But I believe we got everyone’s ‘A’ game last year and twelve times we came out on top and one game we didn’t.”

Is the NCAA investigation a distraction for the players? Is it affecting the focus of the program?

“I don’t think so. You can ask our players and I don’t believe it’s a distraction. I don’t think to be honest with you that the media did because they voted us #1.”

Listen to Chip Kelly on 950 KJR here

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