The concept wasn't novel but the execution was flawless.
Chip Kelly did many things extremely well in his first head coaching job, but foremost among them was his masterful job of selling his players and Duck fans on his methods and philosophy.
Central to that was "next man up," the idea that if a player went down or was lost to the program in some way, the next guy had to step in and do the job. The younger player was talented and prepared, and the coach created the expectation that the team would continue with the same energy and confidence.
Duck fan and DSH editor Scott Morgan writes:
The reload, not rebuild idea is something the Ducks have not really had the luxury to achieve, in my estimation. Teams like Alabama, Ohio State, USuCk, etc have the year-in, year-out top tier recruiting classes to sustain that in their programs and they know all too well how much of a benefit it is.
The loss of depth due to transfers (Lache Seastrunk, Tra Carson, Devon Blackmon, Tacoi Sumler) and injuries (John Boyett, Carson York, Avery Patterson, Curtis White, Josh Huff, Ricky Heimuli, Isaac Remington, Dion Jordan, Koa Ka'ai and numerous others.) during the past couple of years was much higher than the norm.In past years, had we lost this magnitude of starting players - for the season or for significant portions of the season - we would never have had the depth to overcome such losses and play at the highest levels of college football. Players down the depth chart really stepped up and acquitted themselves admirably throughout the past couple of years.
This was an excellent article. I think the truth of what Kelly did that was uniquely great, is even a bit bigger. As well as next man in, was a belief and practice of Win the Day that was beyond just a platitude, Chip refused to live in hypotheticals. And I admired his absolute refusal to answer hypothetical questions with reporters. This was a man who lived in the present, and lived beyond distractions. I think carrying this forward may be the greatest challenge Mark Helfrich faces.
@litangel7 LA--appreciate that very much. You make a great point, that Kelly taught his players how to think, and modeled those attitudes in his coaching and his dealings with the media. It's a trait he shares with successful coaches like Urban Meyer and Nick Saban, the extremely focused attention to detail and tight focus on the process.
Thanks for the shout out, Dale. I knew you would be able to put my thoughts into another great read.
@goducks58 Great suggestion on your part, gd. I really appreciate your input.
Kelly's results were a dramatic contrast to the old days, and some of the credit has to go to his refusal to whine or allow his players to do so. "There's no waiver wire in college football," he said. That first season, Thurmond, Willie Glasper and T.J. Ward all went down, and John Neal got Talmadge Jackson, Cliff Harris and John Boyett ready to play. They won the PAC-12 with an 8-1 record, beating USC 47-20.
Great read Dale yet again! An even greater feat by the Ducks is the fact that we have been in the top tier of programs for the past 4 seasons despite the incredible disparity in recruiting. How many 5 stars do USC, Alabama, LSU get each year and how many of them end up going to the NFL? The Ducks get it done with 3 and 4 stars which goes to show that either the star system is incredibly irrelevant or our coaching is just that good. I think it's a mixture of both but mostly the latter of the two. Continuity is what wins games and makes a successful program, we've been blessed with some of our coaches and especially our ability to improve players vastly. People may not like Oregon from an outside view because of our flashy Nike uniforms but there is no denying that this culture breeds positivity and hard workers are rewarded. Nothing is given here, players earn their due and those are the kind of guys who prove it each saturday as the Ducks continue to outwork opponents. It's not just talent that wins games, it's wanting it more than the guy you're up against. GO DUCKS!
@mtallia Continuity HAS been a huge factor in Oregon's success, and in particular it was instrumental in saving this year's recruiting class. Ducks recruiting classes in the last several years have averaged around 15, but they recruit extremely well for their system and teach. They also do a great job of developing players by working them into the lineup, building depth in the second halves of games and by emphasizing special teams play. Brian Jackson and Boseko Lokombo are two examples of probable starters in 2013 who started as subs and role players.
agree completely, and add, what we also know,, even moreso under kelly the ducks recruiting value of leadership, team leaders, and character, has paid off and been shown to be of extremely high value to that whole equation of team first mentality, and ready to step in and step up, by all the players. Kelly really set the mark high there, and basically the whole concept/value of accountability, responsibility, and dependability, has translated to a maturity and continuity on the field.
@nyduck The character element has been pivotal, no doubt. Kelly's teams played with a lot of focus, maturity and poise. They practiced well and took care of business against lesser teams, rarely letting down. The commitment to winning and the pride in preparation were outstanding.