The Oregon Ducks still have their Fiesta Bowl matchup with Kansas State to worry about on Thursday night, but it seems their head coach is already planning his next move. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot, Chip Kelly will interview on Friday for the head coaching job with the Cleveland Browns:
The Browns' interview with Oregon offensive wizard Chip Kelly is expected to take place as early as Friday in Arizona, a league source told The Plain Dealer. But Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner, who flew to Arizona on Tuesday to first interview Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton and then Kelly, know they have to move quickly.
Per Cabot, Browns management knows it has to move quickly because Kelly is considered a top candidate for other vacancies as well. The Oregon coach is also expected to interview for the same position with the Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles over the weekend, according to Mike Garafolo and Erick Smith of USA Today.
In other words, Cleveland will have to leave a lasting impression to land its top target.
Kelly, who is finishing up his fourth season as Ducks head coach, is widely regarded as one of the top coaches in college football. Since taking over for Mike Bellotti before the 2009 season, Kelly has compiled an impressive 45-7 record and has made BCS bowls in each of those four years.
Leading that charge has been a potent spread offense that has become Kelly's calling card. Oregon finished the 2012 regular season scoring 50.8 points per game and rushing for 323 yards per contest, both of which were second in the FBS.
Kelly's brand of offense is seen as having heavy influence throughout college, and his patented read-option plays have even become en vogue in the NFL.
The Browns undoubtedly see Kelly as the man who can help an offense that stagnated throughout 2012. Cleveland finished the regular season 25th in total offense and scored only 18.9 points per game. Those offensive struggles are seen as the overarching reason the Browns finished at 5-11, their fifth straight season with either four or five victories.
Will Kelly be able to solve those woes? It remains to be seen. However, it seems Cleveland will give its best pitch for him on Friday to give it a shot.