What Chip Kelly's Departure Means to Oregon's Offense in 2013

Lisa Horne@LisaHornePac-12 and Big 12 Lead WriterJanuary 16, 2013

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 03:  Head coach Chip Kelly of the Oregon Ducks celebrates their 35 to 17 win over the Kansas State Wildcats in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 3, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Multiple news outlets are reporting that Oregon head coach Chip Kelly is taking his talents to the City of Brotherly Love. 

Eagles make it official by announcing Chip Kelly as their head coach. Owner Jeffrey Lurie gets the man he wanted all along.

— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 16, 2013

FOX Sports reporter Jay Glazer confirmed Mortensen's report, and USA Today's George Schroeder reported that Oregon has already reacted to the breaking news.

Oregon AD Rob Mullens quickly scheduled a 10 a.m. Pacific conference call -- right now -- with FB assistants.

— George Schroeder (@GeorgeSchroeder) January 16, 2013

The timing of this announcement couldn't be worse—national signing day is exactly three weeks away, and the Ducks' class of 2013 could get inundated by negative recruiting tactics by other Division I coaches. 

Offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich has unofficially been tabbed as the next coach for the Ducks, but Oregon law requires all public universities to interview at least one minority candidate for an open head coaching position, according to a USA Today report. That means a delay in announcing a new head coach and more time for Division I coaches to try to flip an Oregon commit.

Helfrich's probable promotion to head coach wouldn't likely affect this year's recruiting class much, but losing Kelly will still produce some aftershocks. Let's face it—Chip Kelly calls the plays, not Mark Helfrich. The genius play-calling will be missed, and despite Helfrich's official job title, he was more responsible for mentoring the Ducks' quarterbacks and making weekly offensive adjustments than making those jaw-dropping calls that Kelly made famous. 

The team will also be affected by the unknown. 

Oregon's looming Committee on Infractions hearing is coming up, and many pundits believe Oregon will be sanctioned since its motion for a summary disposition was recently denied by the NCAA, according to this Yahoo! Sports report. Would Kelly's departure seem eerily similar to then-USC head coach Pete Carroll's departure—right before USC was hammered by the NCAA—to the Seattle Seahawks?

Recruits can be fickle, and if they start to over-think things and let their imagination run wild while another school's coach is telling him how he'll not be eligible for postseason play, the recruiting class could take a hit. And that will affect the offense. 

Oregon currently has Scout's No. 26 recruiting class with 13 commits and only one Top-100 commit. Running back Thomas Tyner, ranked second by position among all 2013 running back prospects, could be one of the ones to watch over the next three weeks. 

Tyner had decommitted from Oregon in October and then recommitted a day later. He also planned on enrolling at Oregon early, but according to Scout, he hasn't signed his letter of intent yet. With Helfrich calling the plays, the offense may increase its passing numbers and decrease its running game. A top running back may consider other schools if the offense changes.

Also of importance is this nugget from Duck Sports Authority:

Tyrell and Tyree Robinson, two of the more coveted recruits in the Ducks recruiting class have already announced that they are reopening their recruitment and will consider USC and Notre Dame as options.

Oregon fans have to be concerned at this point. That may be just a case of some players getting their feathers ruffled. It also may be a case of some players considering flying south for the winter.