If Oregon ultimately plans on giving its head football coaching job to Mark Helfrich, it's probably going about things in just the right way.
The more people the Ducks interview, the better it would make Helfrich look if and when he is hired. Long considered the heir apparent to the job if Chip Kelly left, Helfrich has never been a head coach. Obviously, the school will do its due diligence in searching for Kelly's replacement. The athletic director, Rob Mullens, made it clear Wednesday there would be a search and it would not be rushed. But the AD has to know the best way to cover his own tail on this hire is to not immediately hand the job to a first-time head coach without at least interviewing others.
And for Helfrich, the better the other candidates are, the better he'll look if he wins the job.
There is also the chance, of course, that Helfrich isn't the guy everyone wants. There could be another candidate out there. And for some reason, I can't stop thinking about that sleek private jet that might be warming its engines on the runway of the airport in Eugene. You know that jet, it's the one former athletic director Pat Kilkenny has used to traverse the country on searches for Oregon's basketball and baseball coaches. Kilkenny likes to go big -- he's not afraid to interview anyone -- and I have to think he'd be a resource in this search.
It's going to be a critical hire at Oregon, no question. And if Helfrich emerges with the job after a lengthy and serious search, he'll certainly do so with the validation that this search could bring.