The University of Oregon is prepared to promote offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich if head coach Chip Kelly takes an NFL job, according to a person with direct knowledge of the school’s plans in a report by USA Today.
Helfrich, an Oregon native who played at Southern Oregon University and a Ducks graduate assistant in 1997, is believed to offer the Ducks the smoothest transition in the event Kelly leaves the program. Helfrich has had a hand in creating the Ducks’ offensive game plans and has worked extensively with the program’s quarterbacks. He was offensive coordinator at Boise State, and also coached at Arizona State and Colorado before joining the Oregon staff three years ago.
Kelly has been linked to wish lists of several NFL teams and is scheduled to interview with the Bills, Browns and Eagles. In the meantime, Kelly is helping to prepare the Ducks for Thursday night’s Fiesta Bowl match-up with Kansas State.
A 45-7 record at Oregon, four consecutive BCS bowl game appearances and Kelly’s innovative offensive playbook have made him a target for NFL teams looking to jump-start their offenses. The Buccaneers flirted with hiring Kelly prior to giving the job to Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano prior to the 2012 season.