Chip Kelly will lend creativity to a stale NFL

His departure from Oregon to coach the Philadelphia Eagles is a blow to the college game, which is losing an innovator, and a coup for the professional ranks.

Chip Kelly's about-face decision to accept the Philadelphia Eagles job immediately makes the National Football League more interesting and college football less interesting.

This is different from Nick Saban leaving Alabama for the pros, where he would simply implement on a higher level the NFL system he already runs in Tuscaloosa.

Kelly, who led Oregon to a four-year record of 46-7 and four consecutive Bowl Championship Series bowl games, is a different Duck entering a different league.

"Everyone is excited to see some new idea, and how it will work," former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti, who hired Kelly in 2007, said by phone Wednesday.

People are intrigued about Kelly in the NFL for the same reason they wanted to see up-tempo Oregon play slug-it-out Alabama for the national title.

The 49-year-old Kelly offers creativity, contrast and bombast to an operation noted for being conservative, conventional and staid.

The NFL is a retread operation. If you've seen one Marty Mornhinweg, haven't you seen them all?

It is a league in which Norv Turner (an Oregon grad) will coach in some capacity until he drops and the same league where onetime NFL kingpin Monte Kiffin, who failed as USC's defensive coordinator, can immediately be hired by the Dallas Cowboys.

Oh, boy. Kiffin will now get to face, twice a year in the NFC East Division, the former Oregon coach whose offense last year scorched USC for a school-record 62 points.

Chip Kelly isn't a retread; he's a brand-new tire ready to put rubber to the road. But will this former Duck fly?

The NFL has historically rejected innovation from the college level and likes to mold the putty in its own likeness.

With rare exceptions, the NFL has been a graveyard for college coaches going back to Bud Wilkinson.

The old boys, years ago, ran Mouse Davis' run-and-shoot offense out because it didn't have a fullback or a tight end.

Times are changing, though, and Kelly just set his watch to EST. The zone read concepts he ran so successfully at Oregon are already matriculating to higher ground.

Dual-threat quarterbacks Robert Griffin III in Washington and Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco are helping to change the construct, and the New England Patriots already run elements of Oregon's up-tempo offense.

Bellotti says Kelly is hitting the NFL at just the right time.

He says the Eagles are getting "a guy who understands how to put pieces together and how to be successful. He is detail-oriented and adds dimensions of creativity. I think he's got the answer. Will he have immediate success? Probably not. But the reality is he's a quality coach that is built for the NFL."

Kelly, of course, will have to adjust. He can't expose his quarterback to the constant hits required in the conventional spread.

The truth is, even at Oregon, Kelly constantly adapted his offense to fit his personnel.

Jeremiah Masoli, who led Oregon to the Rose Bowl in 2009, was a better runner than a passer. So Masoli ran more — 121 times for 668 yards.

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