The Oregon Ducks have a contingency plan in place if head coach Chip Kelly leaves for a head coaching job in the NFL, especially after his team ran all over the Kansas State Wildcats in the Fiesta Bowl. It is not the national championship that Kelly was hoping to win before making the jump to the NFL, but the time may be right anyway. For Oregon, if that time is now, the Ducks will promote offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich to the new head coach.
This is no secret.
Helfrich would be the smoothest transition for the Ducks, who clearly value an offensive mind. Helfrich has been a key part of Oregon’s success on offense, along with Kelly. Promoting him to head coach if Kelly leaves is a no-brainer.
Before returning to the Ducks as an assistant coach after serving as a graduate assistant, Helfrich also served as the offensive coordinator with the Boise State Broncos and coached with the Arizona State Sun Devils and Colorado Buffaloes before coming back to Eugene three years ago.
Kelly has not said whether or not he will leave Oregon for the NFL over the next few weeks. He came close to becoming the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last offseason, but had a change of heart at the last minute, opting to return to the Ducks for the 2012 season.
Had it not been for one three point overtime loss against the Stanford Cardinal, Oregon would have been playing against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the BCS Championship Game instead of the Alabama Crimson Tide. And if the Ducks were to have won that game, there would be no doubt in anyone’s mind that it would be the final time we see Kelly roaming the sidelines in college football.
Either way, he is still expected to receive countless offers that will be quite lucrative, should he decide the time is now to leave Oregon for the NFL.