No need to sugarcoat things here, Mark Helfrich has some big shoes to fill. He’s replacing Chip Kelly, who lost only seven games in four years as head coach and transformed the Ducks into perennial title contenders. Kelly’s now busy molding the Philadelphia Eagles into Ducks-East, and the reins to college football’s fastest team are passed to rookie-head coach Mark Helfrich. Fate smiled on Helfrich with the relatively toothless NCAA sanctions, so there will be no excuses if the Ducks don’t produce at a high-level right away.
Helfrich is a ‘rookie’ head coach in name only, as he was the offensive coordinator under Kelly during his tenure. He knows the “Win The Day” philosophy and is surrounded by essentially the same staff that Kelly had, therefore there should be little-to-no transition time. Oregon’s ‘next man up’ philosophy is just as applicable with the head coach position as it is with wide receivers or linemen, it doesn’t matter who the man is as long as they’ve prepared properly. The players respect Helfrich as they did Kelly, and understand that their coaches are brilliant football minds whose system will be successful as long as the players do their role.
It’s unfair to expect a national title appearance within a coaches first two seasons, but thats the reality for Helfrich (Kelly did it). The talent level at Oregon is higher than it’s ever been, and the Ducks’ window for a championship may never be as wide-open as with Mariota under center. The talent, facilities and fans are all there. Now it’s up to Helfrich to put it all together. Go Ducks!