Ducks' edge isn't pace... it's all about Chip Kelly

Ducks' edge isn't pace... it's all about Chip Kelly
October 8, 2012, 3:48 pm
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I still hear people talking about how fast Oregon's Ducks rattle off plays and how quickly their spread offense functions. And a lot of those people still believe that's the Ducks' big advantage over their opponents and why they're one of the best teams in the country.

But it's not. It was a factor a couple of seasons ago but if you think it's a big deal now, you're not watching college -- or even high school -- football these days.

Everyone is playing fast. A whole lot of teams are going without a huddle. And spread offenses are plentiful -- probably the most common offense in college football. Defenses are getting pretty accustomed to all that and are ready most of the time.

But the real secret to Oregon's success on offense is simple: It's Chip Kelly and his command and understanding of offensive football.

Oregon's execution, game in and game out, is consistently at a very high level. The Ducks sputter at times, sure -- but consistently they eventually find something that works and then pounce on it to open up the game.

Kelly's understanding of his offense -- and I say "his" because his ability to modify, change and counter off his offense makes it uniquely his property -- separates the Ducks from just about everyone else they play.

Keep in mind, this is not -- and has not been -- a program loaded with NFL-caliber players. That's what makes this whole thing so special. The more I see of Oregon, the more I believe that Kelly has that special touch on offense that only the great coordinators and head coaches possess.

Bill Walsh had it with the west-coast offense. A zillion other coaches used that same offense but not many had the touch with it that Walsh owned. And that means he not only knew ALL the in-game adjustments and counters, but more important, he knew all the practice drills and points of emphasis so that his players understood what to do, too.

I saw the same thing with Mouse Davis and his "run-and-shoot." He took it all the way to the NFL and Barry Sanders had some of his best seasons running the football out of what was then considered a passing offense. A lot of people tried the run-and-shoot and many of its principles are still around -- but nobody ran it like Mouse did.

I watch Chip Kelly and I see that same confidence on the sidelines that Walsh and Davis had. That same knowing smirk that said, "Go ahead, bring it -- but I already know what I'm going to do before you do what you're going to do."

Teams have adjusted to Oregon's pace, because so many others are doing the same thing. Sure, not as fast as the Ducks do it -- but don't confuse pace with the crisp execution of an offense.

The Ducks are one of the best teams in the country because they can score. And you can't stop them. When and if they lose, it will be because somebody else can throw a ton of points on the scoreboard or has such a huge talent edge on Oregon that even great execution can't overcome it.

Until that time, just sit back and appreciate a sports rarity -- a system that's so finely tuned and well maintained that it's virtually impossible to stop. !function(d,s,id)var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)0;if(!d.getElementById(id))js=d.createElement(s);;js.src="platform.twitter.comwidgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);(document,"script","twitter-wjs");