Chip Kelly’s departure to the Philadelphia Eagles seems like a boon to USC and other Pacific-12 Conference powers.
But don’t be surprised if Oregon remains just as good as it is today if offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich is promoted to head coach.
If Oregon is good at something, it is promoting from within and not skipping a beat. The transition from Rich Brooks to Mike Bellotti to Kelly got better each time. And Oregon is now a bona-fide national power so don’t expect the Ducks to go into a tailspin.
USC should be so lucky to have an ascension plan this smooth when a coach departs. The Trojans couldn’t even fill their defensive coordinator position from within when Monte Kiffin resigned after a poor season.
Kelly’s departure affects USC in another way because it robs Trojans coach Lane Kiffin of his mentor. Kiffin’s followed Kelly’s lead by instituting morning practices, banning injury reports and switching to flashy-colored cleats.
Although Kiffin is associated with Pete Carroll, Kelly might influence him more with his ideas. No one exerted more influence than Kelly among Pac-12 coaches. Some Washington fans were upset when Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian embraced him this season.
USC might keep a recruit or two with Kelly gone but most of his skill players were guys ignored by the Trojans. Think of Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota? Not recruited by USC.
When Nike founder Phil Knight stops supporting Oregon that will have more impact than whoever coaches the Ducks.