In two years, Chip Kelly has led two of the most prolific offenses in Oregon history. His ability to get the most out of his offensive players and put them in the position to succeed has brought a flurry of points.
He took Dennis Dixon, who couldn't pull it together for his first two years, and turned him into a Heisman trophy candidate. He took Jeremiah Masoli, who hadn't stepped foot on campus until a few weeks before the start of the season, and despite some growing pains, helped build him into a great QB for the last few games of the season.
On top of that, while some think the spread offense is nothing by trickery, when you boil it down, Kelly has a very simple philosophy: get the ball into the hands of your playmakers. Get them in space and allow them to do their thing. While trick plays happen from time to time, the bread and butter under Kelly is execution and running the ball. And that philosophy will continue.
While we won't see many initial changes in the offense (or the defense), in terms of personality, Kelly is almost the opposite of Bellotti. He's passionate, he gets loud, and that's how he motivates. Bellotti was always calm, commanding, and in control. It will be a change of pace, and that's not always a bad thing.
Though we've expected it for a while, Kelly's now moving up. Honestly, I didn't expect this to happen this year. I thought we'd have another year of Bellotti, where he could mentor Kelly more, and allow him to focus on the offense. But on March 30, he'll be the head coach, leading Oregon spring practice. And that's a whole different ballgame. While Kelly received all the credit for the offensive explosions, Bellotti received much of the blame. And that's how it works when you're in the big chair. He will be responsible for every aspect of Oregon football.
And we won't know how Kelly reacts to this until he's in that situation. But he's in a great position to succeed. He's got a lot of talent to work with and for all the administrative ideas, he's got Bellotti a few doors down to get advice from.
While nothing is definite in coaching changes, I think the University did just about everything right. They found their man early on, locked him up, and passed along the torch as well as can be expected.
This spring now becomes especially interesting with the coaching change. We'll not only get to see players growing, but a new head coach. And that is daunting, but also exciting.