After Taggart: Would You Have Wanted Chip Kelly?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials 31 Comments

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It wasn’t going to happen, but if Chip Kelly could have returned to Oregon again–would you have wanted him back? This is an interesting question because a ton of people have declared thatFishDuck wants Chip Kelly back, and would have passed on Mario Cristobal.” I’ll give you my answer on that if you give me yours, and we can wonder together what could have been under Chip Kelly 2.0.

Let me offer my answer immediately since I’ve written about it in articles and comments so many times already. Chip Kelly instead of Mario Cristobal? Hard Pass.

It is hard to believe that people would accuse me of wanting Chip back with all I’ve written about the issues during the Kelly era, and when he left. Yet I understand it, since I also created videos of his offense that were viewed over two million times, and I believe that we have to have a high-scoring offense to win a ‘Natty. Thus, people assume I want Chip Kelly back.


While I have been critical of Cristobal and his offense, I have stated in articles many times that I want him at Oregon long-term for a ton of great reasons.

So, why not Chip Kelly?

Kevin Cline

Could you have pictured this again?

Where do we Start?

  • He is disdainful of recruiting, and remains that way. On Rivals in the last three years, UCLA signed 10 4/5-Star players, while Oregon has an incredible 45! Good gosh! Chip’s recruiting at Westwood is worse than it was at Eugene!
  • He lucked into a fantastic staff at Oregon, and has not shown he can attract the same talent at UCLA. (I thought this might be the case three years ago…)
  • The alienation of the media in Oregon was the worst I could ever imagine. He so annoyed ESPN that every Oregon game they telecast had a three-minute explanation during a slow moment, detailing the “allegations” of recruiting improprieties. It turns out it was a slap on the hand later when the NCAA admitted they did not even have rules pertaining to Oregon’s situation. But it hurt recruiting, and ESPN did it because Chip torqued them off too many times.
  • The other stories of his alienation of other media were legendary, and they were hurting Oregon Athletics.
  • Chip angered many boosters and former players during his time here, and it took years to rebuild many of the bridges.

Philadelphia Eagles Twitter

He was going to run the Zone-Read with Sam Bradford?

  • As for the football part of it…would Chip have been as successful at Oregon after so many years later coming from the NFL? I think not, as he displayed some baffling tendencies in the pro game by acquiring quarterback statues like Matt Barkley, Nick Foles and Sam Bradford. It was as if he wanted to prove he was so good that he could even make his offense work with an immobile QB. Not a good indication…
  • Kelly returned to the college game with a swagger as he thought he was the next Nick Saban moving from the NFL who would set the NCAA on fire again.

Please post your thoughts about this article here on FishDuck, in the comments below. I will not be responding on other sites, as I need to keep things a bit active on FishDuck. Thank you!

If you want more detailed reasons why … I wrote about them here and right here three years ago and you can see that I only would have taken CK back (if I had been the Athletic Director) under a number of conditions that Chip would have never met.

Bottom line: I did not want Chip back at Oregon then, and I would not want him now over Cristobal. While Coach Cristobal has issues to solve, they are solvable, while I do not think that is true at all with Chip.

I do know there are people who disagree; give me your thoughts as to why, since we do have a game in the Rose Bowl this fall!

Charles Fischer  (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo by UCLA Twitter

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Well I’d have taken him over Marcus Arroyo and the less points offense.

David Marsh

I’d take Helfrich over Kelly as offensive coordinator.

I would say Helfrich got some bad habits from Kelly because Helfrich didn’t meet with boosters often and was short with the media as well.

Also Helfrich’s failings as a recruiter do somewhat stem from bad habits from Kelly as well. Under Helfrich, Oregon really didn’t send out too many offers and tried to make it prestigious to have an Oregon offer …. Which doesn’t work… He was also knew capped by the sancrions placed on the program from Kelly.

Helfrich could be taught to recruit better… Kelly doesn’t really want to recruit and the problem for him now is that he hasn’t innovated around recruiting.


I did not want to see Chip back for a 2nd try. Mostly because of recruiting, but also because when someone leaves a job voluntarily, their heart is not in it as much as the first time.
I often thought during those years that if CK wasn’t our coach, I would probably think he was an arrogant s.o.b. But wins make it easier to overlook shortfalls.

I do think that he deserves credit for getting us to the next level. Belotti is also one who deserves a lot of credit. When CK arrived due to Belotti choosing him from virtually no where, CK inherited a pretty strong team and staff.

Kelly was not so fortunate at UCLA.
However, I think CK is primed for a big year if his key players can remain healthy.
I believe the transfer portal will aid him in the future more than some teams.

It’s hard not to be miffed when a winning coach leaves your team before fulfilling all the hopes of us faithful. But celebrity is a fleeting star. It’s hard to know how long it will shine bright. The allure of the big league is too strong for many. To be successful on the world’s biggest stage is something most of us can only dream about.
I don’t fault CK for wanting to try his hand at that success, any more than I do Penei opting out last year. Each of us have tough choices in our lives.

One thing to think about, many of the kids Mario is landing have liked the Ducks in big part due to those amazing fun years of CK being our coach.
Perhaps those years of him being here are the gift that keeps on giving.

The problem I had with Chip is on one hand he said he could be happy coaching a high school team back in New Hampshire, and on the other he has constantly chased the almighty dollar and the high profile job. This is another reason why I didn’t want him back, much like Taggart, I don’t trust the guy.

I can trust and respect Cristobal. He may not be the best game coach yet, but he wants to be, and is a straight up guy. He passes my two tests, I would want him to coach my kid, and I would love to sit down and have a beer with the guy.

With Cristobal there may be NFL teams clamoring to sign him to coach, but I think he is more grounded in what he wants. I could be proven wrong, and many times have been, but I like his persona, a lot.


Until Cristobal proves to be a better in game manager and 2nd half adjusting coach, the NFL won’t want him. They don’t need good recruiters.


Great question this morning Charles, thank you! I agree with you 110%.

CK was great for Oregon while he was here. His hurry-up spread with zone reads took college football by surprise (it shouldn’t have, but it did) allowing Oregon to rack up an impressive win streak which did wonders for the O brand.

Even before CK left, a lot of Oregon supporters and others were getting tired of his antics. I was glad to see him move on at the time, and wouldn’t want him back. It was disappointing (but not unexpected) to see him fail in the NFL, but I really thought he’d do better with the Bruins than he has.

I think that amplifies your comment about how he lucked in to the Oregon coaching staff, a great break that he has not had since.

I, like you, feel that MC can learn to use his (many) strengths to overcome his (few but glaring) weaknesses. I hope he sticks around at least until his boys graduate from Oregon! That should give him time to re-write a whole bunch of the record book!

Steven A

There was a lot of sentiment for Kevin Sumlin, so I’d take Chip over him. And, I heard that Sumlin was honest and indicated that he also had NFL aspirations. Whew, dodged a bullet with his honesty.  

My take is Oregon Football Program helps make great coaches. Helfrich just had too many flaws as a head coach. I think there are many coaches who would excel at Oregon. I think Brooks would have killed it at the Oregon we have now. I still remember him recruiting out at the Valley River Center, trying to impress kids. He didn’t try and impress them with his locker room or team meeting areas in the hallways! The ‘invisible hand’ has made Oregon a magical place.

J Duck

When WT(f) bolted, CK never crossed my mind, the Fleck/Rhule types did, but Cristobol brought what WT(f) did…recruiting, but at a completely different level and we all new MC was national recruiter of the year at bama so I was pretty happy with an “MC” to run the show. CK never crossed my mind, recruiting was his worst downfall, of all the things you mentioned Charles.

We all knew CK’s innovations and Allioti’s underrated defense, our development of 2 stars to NFL stars…were great in that era, if not for CK’s stubborness we probably beat Auburn…but defenses figured out new ways to contain the spread, we all knew that would happen, and in the end a 5* once every five years and a few 4*’s annually would not match up to to Saban/Urban/Dabo and the bunch.


Speaking of Aliotti, think think it was a big loss when he left after the Alamo Bowl win. (Of course, there probably could have been a better replacement.)

I’ve always wondered how the Ducks would have done if Aliotti had been hired as head coach instead of MH.


Well, I doubt if he would have made DP defensive coordinator–maybe “promote” him somehow, but not to that position.


At the time I arguably would have been happy at the time if Chip was hired again. I knew he had his weaknesses, but I probably would have thought that he could have corrected the issues that oregon had and had us competing again like he did during his previous tenure.

Looking back at my opinions and beliefs, and I think I needed to recognize that chip got oregon to the playoffs(which was an anomaly consider our overall recruiting) and the likelihood of him being able to do it again would not have improved.

I still think that chip is a great offensive mind his ability to draft up plays is still elite. I think his issues plaguing him at UCLA wouldn’t be any better elsewhere. He can’t recruit and he can’t hire quality staff.

To recap I probably would have been happy at the time if he was hired but looking back i think i undervalued some of his significant weaknesses and I am most definitely happier now.


Honestly I don’t really remember much of the issues you stated. mostly because I was probably enamored with the ethos of chip at the time. I liked how Chip was blunt in his interviews.

Looking back as i have aged, graduated and had real jobs now i see how it is both toxic and negative. I still like Chip but I do not want him as a coach.


I didn’t like how Chip treated the press, especially the local press. (I do think he would usually, though not always, turn on the Irish charm for the ESPNs of the world.) He was just so snotty and condescending, characteristics I do not value at all.


That’s really sad!


Kelly had a team on the brink of winning a National Championship and suddenly bolted for the NFL. Seems to me that winning a National Championship wasn’t a very important personal goal to him.

Just another reason that I would not want Kelly as a head coach at Oregon after Taggart. Loved Kelly when he was at Oregon, but his star faded quickly for me.

His inability to recruit will keep any team that he coaches from winning at a high level on a consistent basis.


The only coach I would have agreed to bring back to build the program was Rich Brooks. The only coach which made sense at the time was Cristobal.

Brooks could have righted the ship, and maybe given Cristobal an easier time transitioning to head coach. Fortunately Mullens was bailed out by the players, and Cristobal was hired.

It may have been interesting to see Brooks at Head Coach and Cristobal as Head Coach in training. It probably wasn’t a possibility, but an interesting ponder point. Bring back what made Oregon great, and that wasn’t just the guy who was handed the perfect job and blew it.

Chip’s a genius at offensive football, but like many genius’s doesn’t have a full understanding as far as his weaknesses.


Your pondering snd summary of those days shed light on elements of the Chipper’s tenure that I had not revisited or thought about for a few years.

You skipped over the positive details of the prolific offense, superb RBs, the exciting brand of football, Chip’s winning record, and the title game appearance.

In response to your question I don’t recall that Chip was on my list of target coaches that included PJ. Fleck, Mike Norvell, Matt Rhule, and Butch Jones (ouch) and others.

As much as I enjoyed the Chip Kelly era, the way he left and his attitude and indifference toward Oregon and Eugene left a bitter taste in my mouth. Your list of questionable situations seems valid.

As the program turned downwards I was very disappointed. It was quickly apparent that the program was slipping under Helf, and his contract extension and final 18-months were excutiating.

When Willie Taggart arrived I was hopeful, did not know what to expect, but trusted Rob Mullens and his think tank. Their decisions became back-to-back coaching disasters.


Are we nearing the Heaven of Oregon Football?