A day after Chip Kelly finished his fourth season as head coach of the Oregon Ducks, the Buffalo Bills interviewed the innovative sideline boss for their head coaching vacancy. Buffalobills.com learned that the interview took place late on Friday in Arizona where Kelly’s fourth-ranked Ducks posted a 35-17 victory the fifth-ranked Kansas State Wildcats in the Fiesta Bowl.
There were numerous reports that the Cleveland Browns had met with Kelly earlier in the day, with the Philadelphia Eagles also reportedly scheduled to interview the Oregon head coach on Saturday.
Kelly, 48, who turned down the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their head coaching position last offseason, has led Oregon to three consecutive conference championships in the Pac-12 (2009-2011) and four consecutive appearances in BCS bowl games. Oregon has alternated between the Rose Bowl and Fiesta Bowl over the past four years.
A two-time conference coach of the year, Kelly led the Ducks to the BCS title game in 2011 only to lose on a last second field goal to Auburn (22-19). He’s compiled a record of 46-7 in his four years as Oregon head coach.
Kelly’s spread run system has allowed his Oregon teams to average 44.2 points per game in his four seasons as head coach, scoring 40 points or more in 39 of their 53 games on his watch.
In 2012 including the team’s BCS bowl victory Thursday night, Kelly’s Ducks averaged almost 50 points a game (49.6) and scored 89 touchdowns in 13 games.
When asked prior to the Fiesta Bowl if he believes his offensive system would translate well to the NFL, Kelly believed elements of it have already been implemented in the pros.
“I don’t think anybody knows any answers until somebody does it, but I think the Washington Redskins are doing a pretty good job with (Griffin) and the kid at Carolina has done a pretty good job,” said Kelly. “It depends. I don’t know. I’ve never coached in that league.
“I’ve visited practices and talked to people about it, but the one thing about that and about everything is you’ve got to have good players. Sometimes the coaching aspect is way overrated. We don’t play the game. I think college football is a personnel-driven game and the NFL is a personnel-drive game. Your job as a coach is put your players in a position to make plays and then get out of the way and let them go make them.”
Kelly’s Oregon team has a 15-game road winning streak, which leads the country and will carry over to the 2013 season. They haven’t lost a road game since 2009. His Ducks squad is also 15-6 against AP top 25 teams and 6-3 against the AP Top 10.
He began his college coaching career at Columbia (1990-1991) before returning to New Hampshire, his alma mater where he first served as running backs coach in 1992. After a one-year stint as defensive coordinator at Johns Hopkins, Kelly returned to New Hampshire where he coached for the next 13 seasons as running backs coach (1994-96), offensive line coach (1997-98) before being elevated to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach (1999-2006).
Kelly said in his postgame press conference Thursday night that he would like to make a decision on his coaching future in short order.
“I want to get it wrapped up quickly and figure out where I’m going to be,” he said.