Helfrich Out, Harsin in at Oregon?
As I predicted several years ago, once Chip Kelly left Eugene, the Ducks would lose their luster. Kelly now under fire in the NFL, is a once in a generation college coach that turned Oregon into a rival of traditional college football powers. It was not unusual during the Kelly years to have talk shows and blogs from Tuscaloosa to Columbus speculating on to handle the blur offense. Without Kelly, Oregon's dominance is a blur. His successor Mark Helfrich is out, so who's in?
Brian Harsin of Boise State has been mentioned as a front-runner. Harsin has the pedigree and experience to bring the Ducks back to the national forefront. However, I believe that Harsin's best days are ahead of him here in Boise.
Only in the land of the Blue could a 10-2 be considered a not so successful season. This is a good sign that the program is growing. Fans in other football hotbeds like Alabama and Ohio State have little tolerance for losses. Even the great Chris Petersen was not perfect while coaching the Broncos. Think of the loss to Nevada and TCU that cost the Broncos a trip to the Rose Bowl and other big money games.
2016 was a tough year for Coach Harsin. Call it the curse of Pete if you will. Petersen's final years were marked by big time programs poaching his offense and defensive coordinators. (Remember when Coach Harsin left for Texas?) It was a revolving door, and when you lose your OC and DC in the same year, there's bound to be a drop-off. Still, 10-2 isn't bad for a new staff and a young sophomore quarterback named Brett Rypien with unlimited potential.
Back to Oregon, why not Harsin? Let's see there's Lane Kiffin, PJ Fleck, Les Miles, Etc...Look for Knight to go for a big name like Jim McElwain who has Northwest ties. One day Harsin will leave but not until his mission is accomplished and that is getting BSU into the College Football Playoff.