USA Today (and former Register Guard) reporter George Schroeder reported this afternoon that offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich "could be named head coach within 72 hours of (Chip) Kelly's departure," according to a source.
The news should not come as a surprise to many Oregon fans, as Helfrich has long been the assumed coach-in-waiting behind Kelly, but was the unofficial head coach of the Ducks during the hours between Kelly accepting, then spurning the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a year ago.
Schroeder's source is quoted in a way that makes him sound optimistic, assured that Helfrich is primed to continue the system and success that Kelly has delivered at Oregon, taking the program to new heights at an astonishing pace.
To quote Schroeder's article:
"He can finish Chip's sentences," the person said of Helfrich. "He's been in that environment long enough (to succeed). It's a leap of faith but it's very similar – I'd almost argue that it was a bigger leap (promoting) Chip than with Mark.
It appears fairly obvious that Helfrich is the successor in large part for continuity's sake, and it's doubtful that most Oregon fans consider that a bad thing. To quote Schroeder's source one more time:
"I don't think anybody wants to see this change happen," the person said. "But if it's gonna happen I don't think anybody has concern with (promoting Helfrich)."