Chip Kelly

Chip Kelly doesn't get caught up in his feelings during return to Autzen

Chip Kelly doesn't get caught up in his feelings during return to Autzen

EUGENE - UCLA coach Chip Kelly is laser focused on the task at hand, rebuilding the Bruins football program that fell 42-21 to Oregon at Autzen Stadium on Saturday. So much so that returning to site of his greatest professional successes proved insignificant enough to break through his stony exterior. Or so he claimed.

To hear UCLA quarterback Wilton Speight tell it, Kelly, who insisted during the week that he wouldn't get swept up by nostalgia when he returned to Autzen, treated this game like any other. No emotion. No extra desire to win. No misty water-colored memories of the way he and the Ducks were. 

"Xs and Os," Speight said. 

That very much defines the Chip Kelly we all knew when he had the Ducks' humming from 2009 through 2012. He zeroed in on his agenda and did not care what anybody else thought. He didn't have time for feelings or much of anything that failed to give his team an edge. It worked for him at Oregon. Will it work for him at UCLA, a job that comes with a far greater degree of difficulty than the one he was handed with the Ducks? 

How well Kelly did with that chance could be defined by a cool moment that took place before Saturday night's game. 

"I think it was cool pregame that they acknowledged coach Kelly's return and everyone kind of game a standing ovation." Speight said. "He's lying if he says that didn't feel good."

Kelly didn't lie. He did appreciate the gesture from the 56,114 in attendance after long-time public address announcer Don Essig announced Kelly's presence. 

"It was nice," Kelly said. "These fans are awesome. My six years here was an unbelievable experience. This just kind of solidified it."

But that's all the emotion you'll get from Kelly regarding this day. For him, the game will be remembered for the score that ended his team's chances of becoming bowl eligible in his first season at the helm. And it will be remembered for the teachable moments it presented for his young UCLA team that sits at 2-7. 

Kelly simply has no time or emotion or reflection.  

"I don't think that way," Kelly said. "I'm a forward thinking guy. To me it's about the journey. It's not about thinking about memories and thinking about moments. It's about what's next. We've got a lot of work to do to get ready for a good Arizona State team."

That attitude, which lacks in the fuzzy feelings department, is the same one he had when he guided Oregon to three Pac-10/12 conference titles, the national title game, the program's first Rose Bowl win in 85 years and a Fiesta Bowl victory. It's simply who Chip Kelly is. It's partly what got him into trouble in the NFL for reportedly not being able to relate to professional players. He is, at times, so laser focused that he forgets the human side of the game. 

So how could Kelly waste a second feeling good about returning to Autzen where he had so much success when his current team is struggling to scratch out two wins on the season? He couldn't. Doing so would do nothing for the Bruins so why bother?

Kelly said he viewed the game as merely another opportunity for his struggling team to grow.

"We've got a young team that's learning from their mistakes," he said. "A lot of teachable moments from this game."

When asked to give a review of the big picture regarding his rebuild, Kelly said he is too focused on the details to consider where the team was versus where it is now. He called UCLA a "micro operation."

Kelly, who will turn 55 on Nov. 25, left Oregon at age of 49. He's been through a lot since then. He spent four years in the NFL. He's been fired twice. In many ways, he's a different coach than the one that departed Oregon in January of 2013 to take over the Philadelphia Eagles. 

"Older. Grayer," Kelly said. "I think we're all byproducts of our experience. You grow and you learn. That's part of it. I owe a lot of it to here. The experience I had here."

That experience was far different than the one he is in now. Kelly inherited a very good team and a program still on its way up and armed with a strong staff in place that he inherited.

"It was a lot easier transition, I think, because we all weren't new," he said. 

He made the most of the opportunity and won big. But he didn't build Oregon. He merely built a culture that worked. Now he is faced with both overhauling a culture and rebuilding the roster. 

Kelly called that the "fun part."

"No one wants it easy," he said. "And that was one of the reasons it was attractive."

Oregon has about 60 players on scholarship. Many are breaking down. Youth and injuries have created a mess. 

"Baptism under fire," Kelly said. 

Speight said he believes that Kelly has the UCLA program on the right track. 

"I think he inherited a team that has a lot of talent but now he's trying to instill the culture," Speight said. 

Redshirt running back Joshua Kelley said mostly the same.

"We're buying into it day in and day out," Kelley said. "We like where it's heading."

UCLA on paper had little chance to defeat the Ducks on Saturday. But they hoped to win the game for their coach. According to Kelly, his coach cared about this game more than he let on. But when told that Kelly downplayed the significance, Kelley responded: "Whatever coach says. We're going to go with that."

Hmmm...Could there actually be a nostalgic bone hidden within Kelly's body?

What is present is his love of friends. He might not want to reminisce about past successes, but he appears to like to reconnect with old pals. Kelly said he took time this weekend to hang out with former football strength and conditioning coach Jimmy Radcliff, former athletic director and major UO money donor Pat KilKenny, baseball coach George Horton and golf coach Casey Martin, to name a handful. 

"There's a lot of great people at this place," he said. "That's what makes it special."

But apparently, reminiscing about Marcus Mariota, Dennis Dixon and Darron Thomas running his offense, or LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner or De'Anthony Thomas getting loose for touchdowns does not matter enough to make him get all misty eyed while standing in Autzen.  

"I just feel sad that we came out on the wrong end today," Kelly said. 

It is who he is. And that's okay. Chances are, his single-mindedness will one day lead the Bruins into contention. 

Oregon starts November with "special" victory

Oregon starts November with "special" victory

EUGENE- In front of a roaring 56,114 fans in Autzen Stadium, the Ducks grinded out a 42-21 victory against UCLA, halting a two-game losing streak. 

Through the first three quarters, Oregon (6-3, 3-3) got on the board with much thanks to its special teams unit, defense and UCLA’s errors.

Oregon’s first 14 points were largely produced by special teams; a dazzling 56-yard punt return taken to the house by Ugo Amadi and a fake field goal 28-yard pass from punter Blake Maimone to Jacob Breeland which led to CJ Verdell’s rushing touchdown.

The emergence of improved special teams play is no coincidence.  After back-to-back road losses, the UO coaching staff met with each Duck player individually to discuss how the team could bounce back.

"Overall, our guys wanted to hold our special teams unit to a higher standard," Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said. "They were gonna take it upon themselves to challenge each other on special teams, and I think what you saw tonight was a product of that."

A mishandled return by UCLA setup Oregon's third score. Justin Hollins’ sack and scoop led to the Ducks fourth touchdown and extended Oregon’s lead to 28-7.

All four of those plays added much-needed sparks but did not answer the major question entering this game; can Oregon re-establish its rushing attack?

"We made a decision,” Cristobal said on Oregon’s offensive identity. “We talked about it and we said enough is enough. We're going to be the physical team we started the season as.”

Oregon had an average night on the ground when considering its opponent.

Yes, the Ducks finished with 200 rushing yards on 42 attempts, surpassing their combined rushing total and carries from their last two losses, combined. 

However, Oregon’s decision to re-commit to the run game came against the second-worst run defense in the Pac-12. The Bruins allow an average of 209 rushing yards per game.

Verdell led the Ducks with 90 rushing yards on 25 carries, and also caught four passes for 38 yards. Tony Brooks-James sealed the win with a 54-yard touchdown run, his longest of the season.

Once again, Oregon’s offense was ignited by the Justin Herbert-Dillon Mitchell connection. After being questionable throughout the week and undergoing concussion protocol, both Ducks extended impressive streaks.

Herbert finished the game 18-of-32 for 264 yards with two touchdowns, both to Mitchell, who caught eight passes for 156 yards.

Herbert owns the longest active streak in the nation with a touchdown pass in 24 consecutive games and became the fastest Duck to reach 6,000 career passing yards. Mitchell extended his streak to 14 consecutive games with a reception and reached his fourth 100-yard game this season, tying the record. 

Oregon’s homecoming game was also a welcome back to former UO head coach Chip Kelly to Eugene, who received an ovation from the crowd prior to the coin flip. Herbert grew up in Eugene during Kelly’s era.

“I just stayed focused on the game and just tried to block that out and not let it distract us,” Herbert said. “But it’s definitely cool to line up against him. He’s a coach I grew up watching, and it was special.

The Ducks took a baby step towards regaining their rushing attack against a below average Bruins defense.

Next, Oregon will travel to play Utah, who holds opponents to an average of 100 rushing yards per game.





Here's where to watch and stream Oregon football vs. UCLA

Here's where to watch and stream Oregon football vs. UCLA

On Saturday, Oregon returns to Autzen Stadium to host UCLA and coach Chip Kelly. The Ducks (5-3, 2-3 Pac-12) look to bounce back after back-to-back losses at WSU and at Arizona.

Here is coverage and how to watch the game...

7:30 p.m. Friday: Talkin' Ducks, NBC Sports Northwest

  • With Jordan Kent, Joey Harrington, Aaron Fentress and Bri Amaranthus

4:30 p.m. Saturday: Oregon vs. UCLA kickoff on ESPN

  • Tim Brando, Play-By-Play

  • Spencer Tillman, Analyst

  • Holly Sonders, Sideline Reporter

Radio: 1080 "The Fan" in Portland, KUGN-AM 590 in Eugene

Live stream: Fox Sports Go


Oregon backup QB Braxton Burmeister "different" than last season

10 numbers to know: Oregon vs. UCLA

Injury updates: Herbert and Mitchell

Oregon football welcomes back Chip Kelly in all black Jordan brand uniforms

Mailbag: If Herbert can’t play who starts at quarterback?

Mailbag: If Herbert can’t play who starts at quarterback?

Mailbag: If Herbert can’t play who starts at quarterback?

Every week I answer your best questions on Twitter and Instagram. This Saturday, the Ducks looks to stop their two-game losing skid against UCLA and Chip Kelly... There is plenty to talk about!

QUESTION: What is the status of Justin Herbert?

Oregon coach Mario Cristobal will not make a final decision if quarterback Justin Herbert will play against UCLA until later in the week.

The good news is, Herbert practiced Wednesday and cleared concussion protocol. Cristobal and the staff will continue to evaluate his health leading up to game time, and barring a bad evaluation, I’m leaning towards thinking that Herbert will play on Saturday.


QUESTION: If Herbert can’t play who starts at QB?

Backup quarterbacks Braxton Burmeister and Tyler Shough split first-team reps during Tuesday's and Wednesday’s practice, according to UO offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo and coach Cristobal. The coaching staff has not named who would start, sans Herbert. Burmeister has more Pac-12 conference experience, starting five games as a sophomore when Herbert was out with injury. In that span, Burmeister went 44 of 77 for 330 yards with two touchdowns and six interceptions. Since then, his teammates and coaches say he has improved vastly on the field and with his confidence commanding the offense.

[READ: Oregon backup QB Braxton Burmeister "different" than last season]

However, the sophomore recently underwent a minor knee surgery last month and was cleared to play last week. For the six weeks that Burmeister was rehabbing, Shuck received all second-team practice reps, something Cristobal said the freshman greatly benefitted from.

Shough, rated the No. 1 player out of the state of Arizona by 247Sports and Rivals, has played in two non-conference games but has yet to attempt a pass.

“Tyler is smart and he has good reads, I like the way he throws the ball,” Oregon wide receiver Jaylon Redd said.

Because of Burmeister’s injury, I could see Shough getting the start. I don’t think it will matter much, as we will probably see both on Saturday if Herbert is out.


QUESTION: Is Dillon Mitchell going to play?

Cristobal will not make a final decision if wide receiver Dillon Mitchell will play against UCLA until later in the week. Mitchell is close to completing concussion protocol, but was in street clothes and did not participate in Wednesday's practice. 

Based on the huge hit Mitchell took at Arizona, I would not be surprised if the junior did not play Saturday.

With Mitchell out, Johnny Johnson III worked with the first-team offense.


QUESTION: Why haven’t we seen more Cyrus Habibi-Likio?

You aren’t alone if you are wondering where Cyrus Habibi-Likio has gone from the Oregon offense. The redshirt freshman hasn’t carried the ball in three games. His last attempt coming at Cal, where he finished with 12 yards on six carries and one touchdown in front of 150+ family and friends.

[WATCH: Cyrus Habibi-Likio, the next LeGarrette Blount?]

After that performance, Cristobal called him an “every-down type back” and that he expected his role to increase. It hasn’t. Could be because of Oregon’s running game failures or because they only trust Habibi-Likio in the red zone, but hopefully fans will get to see more of him against UCLA.

According to reports, during Wednesday’s practice, CJ Verdell was the first running back in with the first-team offense but Habibi-Likio also received a carry.


QUESTION: What has Chip Kelly said about returning to Eugene?

After coaching six years at Oregon, Chip Kelly returns to Autzen Stadium as UCLA’s head coach on the opposite sideline. Here is what he said about coming back to Eugene:  

"It'll be an unbelievable experience. It's a special stadium. A special fan base. But we'd better have our focus and concentration on the 2018 Ducks, not worry about what went on between 2009 and 2012."

He also called Oregon fans an “educated crowd.”




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10 numbers to know: Oregon vs. UCLA

Injury updates: Herbert and Mitchell

Oregon football welcomes back Chip Kelly in all black Jordan brand uniforms

A rare talent, Justin Herbert is a hot commodity, but is he NFL ready?

Oregon's offense reaching horror movie status

What They’re Saying: Chip Kelly is back 

NBCS Northwest

What They’re Saying: Chip Kelly is back 

It’s homecoming this week for the Oregon Ducks, and what better way to celebrate than the return of Chip Kelly. 

Here’s a look at What They’re Saying about the Ducks (5-3) match up against the Bruins (2-6) this weekend. 


Autzen Stadium will welcome back Chip Kelly, Oregon’s former head coach from 2009-12, this time as a visitor. Kelly, now head coach of UCLA, will look to put his four-straight BCS Bowls at Oregon behind him and lead his Bruins to a win in Eugene. 

Ducks fans seem divided on whether they’ll boo or cheer Kelly as he steps on the field for the first time since leaving for the NFL in 2013. 


The Ducks have #QBProblems heading into Saturday’s game with quarterback Justin Herbert still in concussion protocol. 

Herbert did not take reps with the offense during Wednesday’s practice availability, but his return to practice is an indicator he could still play this weekend’s game vs. UCLA. 

Is winning possible if Herbert is sidelined Saturday?  

Both teams have been plagued by injuries. UCLA has five players sidelined by concussions, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Ducks could play without Herbert and wide receiver Dillon Mitchell come Saturday.

The Ducks dropped crucial games to Washington State and Arizona over the last few weeks, but fans remain focused on Oregon securing a bowl bid. 

GAME INFORMATION: UCLA Bruins (2-6) at Oregon Ducks (5-3); Autzen Stadium; Eugene, Oregon; Kickoff time 4:30 PM (PT); Spread: Oregon -8.  

Chip Kelly is chasing his own legend

Chip Kelly is chasing his own legend

One would assume that Chip Kelly, who created his coaching aura and thus his fortune during a glorious six-year run at Oregon, would take some time to reflect while standing in Autzen Stadium when his UCLA Bruins play the Ducks on Saturday. 

Look around. Take in the sights and the sounds. Recount the times opposing teams gasped for air while chasing his "blur offense" and occasionally faked injuries out of desperation. 

The good ol' days. 

But if you thought that about Chip Kelly, then you just don't know Chip Kelly. Because, while his brief yet wildly successful run at Oregon as an offensive coordinator for two years and head coach for four won't soon be forgotten by fans who anointed given him virtual messiah status, Kelly said he would not deviate from the task at hand.

"We've got to focus on the team on the other sideline or we're going to get beat," Kelly said during today's Pac-12 coaches conference call. "It'll be an unbelievable experience. It's a special stadium. A special fan base. But we'd better have our focus and concentration on the 2018 Ducks, not worry about what went on between 2009 and 2012."

Vintage Chip Kelly. But until he is able to replicate what he accomplished at Oregon during those years, Autzen will always be the venue that housed his greatest accomplishments and should be worthy of his time and admiration. Even if it's just for a brief moment. 

Kelly has never had it nearly as good as he did while with the Ducks when he went 46-7 and won three Pac-10/12 Conference titles before leaving following the 2012 season. His success landed him tens of millions of dollars in the NFL, first spending three seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles before getting fired for the first time in his career after having two winning seasons because his personality didn't mesh with that of management or the players. Kelly landed in San Francisco in 2016, went 2-14 and got let go. After taking a year off, Kelly took over UCLA and sits at 2-6 (2-3 Pac-12).

The end result is that Kelly has never built anything successful. He inherited an Oregon program clearly on an upward trajectory, and one that had already tasted grand success when he replaced Mike Bellotti in the spring of 2009. Kelly's success in his first three years at UO, including a run to the national title game in 2010, were accomplished primarily with players recruited under Bellotti. 

Kelly certainly elevated Oregon (5-3, 2-3) in terms of wins and losses, but he also did so in an era when the conference wasn't nearly as strong as it has been the past four years. Consequently, the degree of difficulty facing Kelly as he attempts to build a champion at UCLA is by far the greater challenge and one that Kelly, despite the early losing, says he is enjoying. 

"I love football. I love coaching football," he said. "I love being around our staff and our players. You can't always be caught up in the result. It's about the process. The group of kids we have here are awesome. They work their tails off. They are here everyday. We're down some numbers with some injuries and whatnot. But our players are great. They're awesome."

To get UCLA on top, Kelly must recruit his tail off. Kelly was praised as a great recruiter while at Oregon, although he famously didn't care much for the process, as confirmed by a few of his former assistant coaches. In reality, Kelly won in his first three years primarily with players recruited under Bellotti, who hired Kelly as the offensive coordinator in 2007 with the expressed purpose of helping rev up the offense. In 2012, the Ducks went 12-1 with mostly players recruited under Kelly but none in the senior or redshirt junior classes. 

The fact is that the Ducks recruited well because the staff, most of which had been at Oregon for ions, used the advantages bestowed upon them by Phil Knight's money and elevated the brand's profile in the recruiting world. Kelly benefited from the foundation laid down before his arrival and won big. He was a good coach with an innovative no-huddle offense that landed in the right place and at the right time. 

Now, Kelly must build a vessel of his own from the rivets up. His first recruiting class, which came about after he took over the program in late November 2017, finished ranked 19th in the nation. Not bad at all. However, the 2019 class currently ranks 79th with just nine three-star recruits. 

Kelly downplayed the idea that he didn't embrace recruiting and pointed out the numerous NFL players that the Ducks landed while he was at UO. However, the question posed to him revolved around his like or dislike of recruiting, not his success rate.

Once cleared up, Kelly responded by saying he loves, "identifying the right players that are the right fit for the university." Who doesn't? But at UCLA, despite the advantages of being in Southern California, Kelly is going to recruit harder than he did at Oregon because he is recruiting to a loser without the swag Oregon had already possessed when Kelly became the guy in 2009. 

Given time, Kelly might just realize the same successes. If not, he could find himself fired for a third time.

Kelly's successor at Oregon, his handpicked offensive coordinator, Mark Helfrich and his staff, struggled with recruiting toward the end of their tenure. The talent level dropped off and Oregon struggled immensely on defense in 2015 and all over the field in 2016. The latter year produced a 4-8 record. Helfrich and the entire staff were fired that year despite having reached the national title game just two years prior. Just like that, all that Bellotti and Kelly had built had been torn down and a completely new staff was is in place living off of the fruits born from the labor of the previous coaching staffs while attempting to chase the memory of a legend now residing at UCLA. 

"I don't know what mechanics went into it but I was very sad," Kelly said of UO's firing of its former staff. "They were some great men. Great teachers. Great role models. They were unbelievably successful. I think Helf was 37-16 and took a team to a national championship. So, I feel for all of those guys. Extremely close with all of those guys. A couple of them retired. A couple are on my staff here. We all know going in to this process that sometimes things aren't going to work out our way. We all understand that."

Kelly's star has dimmed since he left Oregon. The conference has changed dramatically. Teams score more points now, given that much of the conference has adopted similar no-huddle, spread attack to the one Kelly used with the Ducks and still employs.

It's going to be far more difficult for Kelly to win big this time around. If he does, he will regain his footing as a college football guru and leave that messy NFL stint behind him. If he fails, Kelly will only have his time at Oregon to look back upon as one of glory. 

It's why Kelly on Saturday should soak it in as much as he can of Autzen, Eugene and the fans he left behind.

"Beautiful country," Kelly said of Oregon. "Love the place. Had a great run there for the six years that I was there. Awesome people in the university and the community."

When asked on Monday in Los Angeles if he would go anywhere special while Eugene or visit any friends, Kelly replied: "I'll be going to Autzen Stadium. That's all I'll have time for."

While there he should take some time to reflect and enjoy. After all, so far it's only place where he has found success as a head coach. 

10 numbers to know: Oregon vs. UCLA

10 numbers to know: Oregon vs. UCLA

Oregon (5-3, 2-3 Pac-12) hosts UCLA and coach Chip Kelly this Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Want to drop knowledge at the tailgate? Here are 10 numbers to know. 

Vegas shifts: Oregon opened as a 10.5 point favorite over UCLA(2-6, 2-3). The line has moved to Oregon -7.5, with the news that UO quarterback Justin Herbert’s status is uncertain due to concussion protocol.

Ducks are going streaking: The Ducks have won five straight against the Bruins in Eugene while averaging 42.4 points during those victories.

Throwback to 2012: Welcome back, Chip Kelly. Saturday will be the first time Kelly coaches in Autzen Stadium since 2012. After spending six years with Oregon football (2007-2012), he will be on the opposite sideline wearing blue and gold.

Win the… defense? UCLA's rush defense ranks 11th in the Pac-12 Conference and 107th nationally. The Bruins give up an average of 209.2 yards per game and have not held an opponent under 100 yards rushing since Nov. 12, 2016 vs. Oregon State.

Herbert leading the country: Herbert has a touchdown pass in 23 consecutive games played, good for the longest active streak in the FBS. We could see that streak come to an end if Herbert does not play on Saturday.

Zero: Freshman backup quarterback Tyler Shough has attempted zero passes, but led the team on a touchdown drive against Portland State and has played in two games. He was rated the No. 1 player out of the state of Arizona by 247Sports and Rivals. Sophomore backup quarterback Braxton Bumeister has also played in two games this season and completed four of eight passes for 27 yards.

Dependable Dye: Linebacker Troy Dye is on a current streak of four consecutive games with double-digit tackles, making him the first Oregon player to do so since Joe Farwell in 1990. He’s led Oregon in tackles in 16 of his 32 career games, including four of five in conference play this season.

Mitchell on top: Junior Dillon Mitchell’s 579 receiving yards on 42 catches in league play lead the Pac-12. He has been targeted 70 times in five games. Mitchell’s status for UCLA is uncertain because of concussion protocol.

Protecting the quarterback: Left tackle Calvin Throckmorton hasn’t allowed a sack in his last 1,943 snaps on the offensive line over his last 26 games. He’s made 33 consecutive starts, and is the third ranked tackle in the Pac-12 and No. 10 in the country, according to Pro Football Focus.

Going bowling: A win would make Oregon bowl eligible for the second straight season and the 13th time in the last 14 years. ‘



Good, bad and the worst: Oregon's offensive stars in concussion protocol

Oregon football welcomes back Chip Kelly in all black Jordan brand uniforms

A rare talent, Justin Herbert is a hot commodity, but is he NFL ready?

Oregon's offense reaching horror movie status

Ducks' downward spiral familiar, requires patience


Oregon football welcomes back Chip Kelly in all black Jordan brand uniforms

US Presswire

Oregon football welcomes back Chip Kelly in all black Jordan brand uniforms

The Ducks are wearing all black Jordan brand uniforms for Chip Kelly's return to Eugene.

Oregon fans are encouraged to wear black on Saturday for the 4:30 p.m. kickoff vs. UCLA.

Are these the best Oregon uniforms of the season? How about ever?


A rare talent, Justin Herbert is a hot commodity, but is he NFL ready?

Oregon's offense reaching horror movie status

Ducks' downward spiral familiar, requires patience

Ducks drop out of Top 25

Welcome back, Chip Kelly

USA Today Img.

Welcome back, Chip Kelly

The highly anticipated return of former Oregon Ducks head coach Chip Kelly has been a game to schedule on your calendar since the schedule was released, and that time has just been set.

The Oregon Ducks will host the UCLA Bruins at 4:30 PM (PT) on Saturday, November 3rd, 2018.

Oregon (2-2 Pac-12) sits currently in fourth in the Pac-12 North division with a trip to the desert to face the Arizona Wildcats before returning home to host the Bruins. 

UCLA (2-2 Pac-12) also sits at fourth in the Pac-12 South division and will host No. 23 Utah before flying north to Autzen Stadium.

At a quick glance, the Bruins are lead by freshman quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, a dual-threat QB to say the least. If Arizona QB Khalil Tate plays this Saturday vs. Oregon, the Ducks will have the opportunity to face another Pac-12 conference quarterback who can get it done through the air as well as on the ground before facing Thompson-Robinson. 

And after losing in Los Angeles last season 31-14, how much would the Ducks love to upset Chip Kelly’s return to Autzen while getting a little bit of revenge from last season?

Rough week for coaches that passed on Oregon

USA Today

Rough week for coaches that passed on Oregon

The failures and successes of the Oregon, UCLA and Florida State football programs will be constantly compared and contrasted in the upcoming years given the connective tissue of the coaches involved.

After the first weekend of football that saw all three programs take the field, Oregon's Mario Cristobal is the only coach sitting at 1-0 following a 58-24 win over Bowling Green on Saturday at Autzen Stadium while the first outings for two coaches that chose not to work at Oregon went painfully sideways. 

Chip Kelly's UCLA Bruins lost 26-17 on Saturday at home to a Cincinnati team that went 4-8 last season. Willie Taggart's previously No. 19-ranked Florida State Seminoles looked painfully out of sorts on offense Monday night while losing 23-3 at home to No. 20 Virginia Tech in front of a national audience. 

That both Kelly and Taggart made their names as offensive maestros makes the way each lost that much more interesting and alarming. Their teams combined for 20 points. At home. Both averaged 40-plus per game at Oregon with healthy starting quarterbacks on the field. 

"Tough loss," Taggart told reporters following his team's five-turnover performance. "Not what anyone expected."

Said Kelly on Saturday: "Just too many mistakes...We knew going in we were young."

So what does any of this mean?

Well, according to many on Twitter, Taggart, now 47-51 as a head coach, is overrated and will certainly run FSU into the ground. He can't coach offense and he's a fraud. Of course, that ignores his top 10 offense at South Florida in 2016 and the fact that Oregon last season averaged 50 points per game with a healthy Justin Herbert in the lineup. 

Kelly, who had four years of dominance with the Ducks, has been given a little bit more leeway. Still, given that he once was tabbed with the "genius" label, the reviews of his first outing in Los Angeles weren't kind. 

Of course, it's unfair to judge any coach by even a handful of games, let alone just one. That rational, however, won't ever stop those with access to social media to fire off a quick zinger at the expense of a millionaire coach. And if you're a Ducks fan, it makes perfect sense to feel a sense of satisfaction watching two men fail after both said "no" to Oregon. 

Kelly wouldn't, and shouldn't, ever return to Oregon. He knew he had exhausted all he could out of the Ducks when he left for the NFL following the 2012 season. Returning to Eugene after failing at two NFL stops would be a sign of his career sliding backward. 

Taggart took over for Helfrich and infused some energy into the Ducks' program while taking UO's recruiting to new heights. Then, his dream job opened up and he couldn't resist, so he left Oregon after one season, leaving behind many bitter fans.  

The truth is that both Kelly and Taggart are in better situations. Each resides in a state filled with elite level talent just beyond the doorsteps of their respective programs. If either had returned Oregon to national prominence, he certainly would have done the same at UCLA and Florida State. 

In many ways, Cristobal is UO's consolation prize. He must live up to not only the grand expectations surrounding Oregon based on an era of excellence far in the rearview mirror, but he also must coach knowing that most of the fan base wanted Kelly to return or Taggart to remain. That's a lot of pressure to contend with. 

So far, Cristobal leads this race, 1-0. But don't become too giddy, just yet.

Kelly was never the coaching God many Oregon fans made him out to be. He was in the right place at the right time during his years at Oregon when the Pac-10/12 was far weaker, and USC and Washington were down. Still, Kelly is a very good coach and motivator, and he will have success at UCLA after he turns around what amounts to somewhat of a rebuilding project.

As for Taggart, he will soon be loaded with as much talent as he could ever want at FSU. Chances are that he will win far more games than not. But he has far more to lose by failing at FSU than Kelly does at UCLA. Taggart has never won a bowl game or a conference title, yet he has taken over one of the most coveted jobs in the country.

Coaches recently voted him the most overrated coach in the country. He did nothing to disprove that belief on Monday. 

The tale of these three connected coaches won't be complete for a few years. All three are in good places with great opportunities for success. 

After one weekend, Oregon fans should feel good about Cristobal while also recognizing that the Ducks whipped a weak Bowling Green team. They should also snicker at both Kelly's and Taggart's first-game failures while also realizing that the very reasons you wanted them at Oregon will likely make them both successful in their new jobs.