Johnson On The Rose - Kelly Is Elite
Posted Jan 2, 2012

Terry Johnson's thoughts on Chip Kelly becoming among the elite after the win in the Rose

By Terry Johnson
Please follow me on Twitter @TPJCollFootball

The 2012 Rose Bowl will go down as one of the most exciting Rose Bowls in history. Oregon's perseverance after falling behind repeatedly in the first half speaks volumes about the team's character.

The win also makes another very important point – that it is time to consider Chip Kelly as one of the elite coaches in college football.

Kelly's credentials speak should speak for themselves. In his three seasons in Eugene, he has guided the Ducks to three conference championships, and three BCS bowl berths.

In other words, he has more conference championships than he has conference losses.

Despite this success, Coach Kelly has received a considerable amount of criticism throughout his tenure. According to his critics, the Duck offense was just a gimmick, and could never work against a more physical team, especially when the opponent had more than a week to prepare. To illustrate this, they pointed out that Oregon's offense had sputtered in the last two bowl games when they played against the tenacious defenses of Ohio State and Auburn.

Tonight's win over Wisconsin should silence those critics permanently.

After winning the Big Ten championship against Michigan State, the Badgers knew they would be playing the Ducks in the Rose Bowl. They had an entire month to prepare for Oregon, and boasted one of its best defensive units in years - ranking eighth nationally in total defense.

If Kelly's detractors were right, the Badgers should have run the Ducks out the stadium.

It did not happen.

Chip Kelly had prepared an excellent game plan, and demolished the Wisconsin defense. Oregon ran the ball right at one of the nation's most physical defenses to the tune of 344 yards, and 8.6 yards per carry.

The numbers fail to tell the entire story. The genius of Kelly's system is that the Ducks set the tempo. When Oregon needed to score, they struck quickly. After they took the lead in the fourth quarter, the Ducks went into ball control-mode and took nearly ten minutes off the clock in the final frame.

After recording 34 wins in the last three seasons, Chip Kelly deserves to be mentioned as one of the games top minds, on par with the likes of Urban Meyer and Nick Saban. In fact, about the only thing that people can criticize him for now is that he has not won a national championship.

However, as long as Kelly roams the sidelines, the Ducks will always be a factor in the BCS equation.