The Miami Dolphins are continuing to explore other options should former Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher turn down their offer to be the next Dolphins head coach. Now comes word that the team could be interested in one of the hottest names in college coaching: University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly.
KEZI of Eugene, Oregon, reported late Monday night that the Dolphins have contacted Kelly's agent regarding their opening at head coach. The Dolphins do not appear to have spoken with Kelly directly, but they have at least initiated the first stage of the vetting process.
It was only a matter of time before the NFL came calling for Kelly. He is 34-6 after three years leading the Ducks and considered to be one of the top offensive minds in college football.
Oregon has finished in the top ten in scoring in each of Kelly's three seasons leading the Ducks. Prior to coaching at Oregon, Kelly was the offensive coordinator at the school under head coach Mike Bellotti for two seasons.
Kelly developed his fast-paced offense as the offensive coordinator at the University of New Hampshire from 1999-2006. The Division I-AA Wildcats averaged over 400 yards a game in seven of his eight seasons as coordinator.
Kelly's spread offense relies on speed and a hectic pace. The Ducks rush to the line of scrimmage after each play, sometimes getting the next snap off less than 20 seconds after the end of the previous play. This confuses and tires opposing defenses, who have a hard time catching Oregon's quick skill players.
It has been a long time since a college coach has equaled his success in the NFL (cough, Steve Spurrier, cough) Only Jimmy Johnson, who won titles at UM and with the Dallas Cowboys, has truly succeeded in transitioning from college to the pros. After Miami's up-and-down experience with Nick Saban a few years ago, the team may be wary of getting in bed with another college coach.
But the success of spread quarterbacks like Cam Newton in the NFL suggests Kelly's scheme at least deserves a chance in the NFL, and if the Dolphins can take advantage of it, so much the better.
Equally important is the fact that a coach like Kelly, who has head coaching experience and is considered an innovator on offense, would provide the Dolphins with infinitely more excitement than any of the team's other second choices, a round-up of little-known NFL coordinators, most of whom have no head coaching experience.
Indeed, hiring Chip Kelly could bring the team more buzz than landing even Jeff Fisher. But a potential Kelly hiring is still a long way off. The team has yet to set up an interview, and Kelly may not even be interested in jumping up to the NFL.
But for Dolphins fans who don't want to hire a retread or anonymous coordinator, the hope of luring Kelly from Oregon is the best thing the team has going for it right now.