The inspiration for this post comes from an article posted to FishDuck.com, entitled "Fiesta Bowl No Huddle Dynamics" and written by Josh Schlichter (@joshschlichter). First published on January 22, but I wasn't aware of it -- and therefore didn't read it -- until Monday when Ben Aven (@100AndBenPercnt) tweeted out the link. I strongly encourage you to read the article in full if you haven't already, and I dare you not to get a little giddy while doing so. I believe that will become the natural reaction to how Chip Kelly calls plays. Also, remember the formations and play-calls because I'm sure you'll be seeing them again with the Eagles.
Two quotes that stood out:
However, out-scheming Chip Kelly often takes more defensive adjustments than it would for any other coach in the game today simply because when Oregon "gets on a roll," it becomes incredibly hard for a defensive coordinator to identify and call proverbial counters to Oregon's rapid pace and subsequent play calls, effectively handcuffing the defense to a handful of coverages.
Running a no huddle offense might present several challenges for a coaching staff, but forcing a defense to play off of pure reaction as opposed to identifying formations, plays, and tendencies can help your offense immensely. As soon as a defense is on its heels, Chip Kelly and Mark Helfrich have a really amazing ability to find which plays will work the best against a basic defense.
We're all searching for clues as to how Kelly will run his offense in the NFL. Here we have been presented with some more insight, specifically in a no-huddle situation at the end of the half. It also further highlights why Kelly was so intent on signing James Casey and drafting Zach Ertz, who are both formation-versatile and can line up in a variety of spots. They are chess pieces, particularly invaluable when switching out personnel groupings is eliminated. From one snap to the next, they can morph into different roles. Ertz presents one more wrinkle than Casey: In addition to lining up in the backfield as an H-Back or in-line as a traditional TE spot, he can split out wide as a WR. By the way, Colt Lyerla is awesome and we're totally drafting him, whether it's in 2014 or 2015. I also believe Marcus Mariota, who I view as a bona fide NFL QB prospect, will be targeted by Kelly whenever he declares for the draft (could be as early as 2014).
After a missed field goal by Kansas State, the score remained 15-10 in favor of Oregon, which had experienced literally no success on offense in the second quarter to that point. With 1:00 left on the clock and timeouts remaining, Chip Kelly was feeling anything but apprehensive despite his offense's recent struggles. I think there's a fair number of coaches who might have been content with the lead and called for a run play or two (dumb), or for his quarterback to take a knee twice (smart), to bleed the clock and get into the locker room to regroup. That's just not in Chip Kelly's nature. He went right for his opponent's heart. Five plays and 77 yards later -- boom, boom, boom -- Oregon's offense was celebrating a touchdown and 22-10 lead, having demoralized a Kansas State team that was feeling pretty good about itself a minute earlier. Like a roundhouse kick to the face. Perhaps such aggressiveness will get Kelly burned at times, but I also think he'll be more successful than not in the long run as a result.
While I acknowledge that players still have to execute (which was has been a problem with this crew), how the drive in the Fiesta Bowl played out embodies one of the reasons I believe in Chip Kelly. It has to do with his overall personality and approach, and how both are infused into his play-calling. Attack, attack, attack, come at you in waves, never let up. Kelly is unfazed in high-pressure situations; in fact, he thrives, which makes me so hopeful above all else, since that's where Andy Reid had his meltdowns. There's also something genius and beautiful about the simplicity of the pay-calls. Unlike his predecessor, Kelly doesn't appear to be the type of coach who's prone to outsmarting himself, and he's not afraid to run the same play over and over if it's working. I could get used to the Eagles being a "you know what's coming and still can't stop it" offense.
Whereas with Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg I had come to fear the very thought of the Eagles operating a no-huddle, two-minute offense, I'm encouraged and excited -- GIDDY -- imagining how it'll work with Chip Kelly. Guys, I don't think we're going to have to worry about terrible play-calling or time management anymore. And that makes me smile.