You know them when you see them.
Other schools study Duck Fans to find a way to liven up their teams. This is their favorite team’s favorite team.
Chip Kelly stands ready to plant his own coaching tree. He studied and learned the spread-option the way San Francisco 49er coach, Bill ‘The Genius’ Walsh, designed and installed the west coast offense. Every coach at every level has mentors, people whose style best fits their football philosophy, and Kelly has his followers.
Did he turn down the Tampa Bay job so they could hire the former Rutgers coach?
Greg Schiano brought a new wrinkle to the NFL when he ordered his players to blast into opponents who lined up to kill the clock in their victory formation. Kelly’s addition to the league would be more entertaining than that.
Did he return to Oregon this year so he might name the coach replacing him? Mark Helfrich hopes so. The Ducks offensive coordinator brings his local roots to the sidelines, from playing high school football for the Marshfield Pirates in Coos Bay, and college ball for Southern Oregon University.
The fans will love him if he keeps winning.
Taking a page from the ‘If You Can’t Beat Them Head Hunt Them’ book, Oregon collected two men from the SEC who’ve seen college football as up close and personal as you’d ever want to see without putting on a helmet.
Craig Pintens left LSU for Oregon to become senior associate athletic director for marketing and public relations. He worked his branding magic in the bayou without spending the night in Mike The Tiger’s cage.
In Eugene he says, “Oregon is your favorite team’s favorite team,” and makes it stick.
Mr. Pintens’ boss is Athletic Director Rob Mullens who came over from the Kentucky Wildcats. In a USA Today article he said, “One of the things that attracts me to the University of Oregon is folks are not afraid to say ‘we want to win championships.'”
Anyone familiar with Kentucky basketball knows they aren’t afraid to say they want to win championships, either. Coaches who don’t usually find themselves called former coaches.
As University of Oregon sports improve and climb in the national stratosphere, it’s a comfort for Duck fans to know the athletic leaders won’t be sucking air. They don’t need to pretend they’ve been to the top of the mountain, they come from programs who live at the top.
Now it’s Oregon’s time while Oregon Baby Boomer Nation holds its collective breath.
(published in oregonsportsnews.com)