Let’s have some fun today.
Just for kicks, and we’re not meaning mishits on sure things, Caleb Sturgis style, how about we ponder where the “In Chip We Trust” sheep should plan their next grazing area?
As discussed here as recently as Monday, there is no overwhelming vibe that one Charles Edward Kelly will be handed his walking papers from Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie any time soon, or, quite possibly, any time, period. But that doesn’t mean the coach/GM/ruler of the Midnight Green Universe won’t opt to pack up and go on his own.
Should he, the mind boggles at his prospects. Not so much that he likely has so many, but that he likely has the pick of the litter – especially if he went the college route.
For starters, despite all the lazy, blabber-mouthing that has trailed Kelly like a shadow during his tenure, he is not exactly what anyone with a grasp of college football would say is a “college coach.” The guy lacks interpersonal skills that are far more required at that level than the NFL, where he’s dealing with supposedly grown men. Cut to the chase, pro football is a job. For the players, coaches, management, etc. It’s a bottom-line business that clings to the belief that winning will yield profits.
Frankly, Kelly, in his non-communicative, hell-bent on doing things his way, is a classic pro coach. He is all about record, not rep … and certainly not about coddling the fragile egos of athletes at their most susceptible of times, which would be in college, or high school, not the pros, where money can alleviate an awful lot of concerns.
Plus, we’re not talking about a guy who ran the tightest of ships at Oregon. Player suspensions and unruly behavior may not have been the everyday norm around Eugene, Ore., but they were hardly the exception, either. Heck, by the time he made that clandestine connection with Philly to officially seal the deal there, Oregon already was staring at NCAA sanctions courtesy of Kelly’s reign.
But there is no arguing with his on-field results. Though no fan here, the dopes who question the caliber of opposition he faced are idiots, stone-cold, ill-informed idiots. The guy won three Pac-12 conference titles his first three years, and his Ducks finished ranked among the nation’s top 5 his final three years. Even with the Eagles, he posted back-to-back 10-win seasons in 2013 and ’14, and, quite possibly, may have righted their ship in this, his third season, too.
So, what gives if he goes? Does he stay pro, working some deal to rework the system and land at another locale, or does he go back to college?
Considering his age – he ain’t old, but at 51 he ain’t young, either – it seems a more stable environment would be ideal, one where he could work his mad-scientist mind into the type of frenzy without any hassles in a way that would allow him to reach an inner peace, if not happiness.
To me, that says college – although, to reiterate, kinda astounded that so many programs seem desperate to make a sales pitch to him.
Right now, there is one big-time gig open – Southern Cal – and two with big-time potential – South Carolina and Maryland. Money wouldn’t be a stumbling block with USC, where boozy Steve Sarkisian received his walking papers Monday, and probably wouldn’t with Under Armour U. (Maryland), where good-guy/mediocre coach Randy Edsall got his pink slip Sunday, either. The original USC (South Carolina) just had its Head Ball Coach, Steve Spurrier, abruptly terminate his Hall of Fame career Monday night, and may be able to scarf up the funds necessary to lure Kelly. But, honestly, its eyes may be focused more intently on alum/former Gamecocks player Mark Dantonio, who has quietly built a national power at Michigan State.
You know, Oregon hasn’t been quite the same since Kelly left, either. The remnants of his efforts carried the Ducks to great heights the last two seasons, but that’s over now. They’re middle of the pack mediocre now again in the Pac-12. Big win over Oklahoma this past weekend or not, Charlie Strong doesn't look long for Texas, either.
So, who knows where he goes …
My real concern is that Philly could lose its best coach – Temple’s Matt Rhule – in the near future. Now that would not be fun.
- Jack Kerwin | firstname.lastname@example.org