Tony Dungy on hiring of Chip Kelly: 'It's a great move'

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Tony Dungy on hiring of Chip Kelly: 'It's a great move'

Chip Kelly's hiring as the Eagles' head coach has raised a few key questions:

Which quarterback will fit Kelly's system? What's his biggest challenge in jumping to the NFL? What will the Eagles' defense look like?

NBC Sports analyst and former NFL head coach Tony Dungy joined John Boruk on SportsNite Wednesday to discuss those topics.

Your son Eric played this past year -- he's a sophomore wide receiver at Oregon -- so you have a little bit of insight on what Chip Kelly does in that offense and his coaching style.

My son has actually been there three years and is a redshirt sophomore, and Ive known Coach Kelly since then, and I tell you, Philadelphia is getting a tremendous coach. In watching him practice and seeing what they do in the spring and training camp when I was there, they practice a lot like a NFL team.

I dont think the adjustment is going to be too big and, I dont know this for a fact because I havent talked to Coach Kelly in about two weeks, but I have to think, in watching Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson do what they have done in the playoffs has led him to know that there is parts of what I do that can work and we can put pressure on people with a mobile quarterback and do some things.

I think hes going to have fun there, but hell do what his personnel dictates. Thats the one thing I really enjoyed watching them over three years. He had three different quarterbacks -- Jeremiah Masoli and then went to Derron Thomas and then to Marcus Mariota this year -- and they did a little bit of different things with each one, but they played to their strengths and won a lot of games. So again, I would have to be very excited if I were a Philadelphia fan.

Which quarterback would fit Chip Kellys system (Michael Vick or Nick Foles)?

Well, I think thats going to be a money driven decision and well see what happens. I do know Coach Kelly really liked Nick Foles. I watched Nick play against Oregon twice and have two outstanding games and throw the ball all around and make plays and I know Coach Kelly likes playmakers, so itll be interesting to see. I think Michael could flourish in that offense, for sure. Its just that probably will come down to money.

But the one thing I can tell you about Coach Kelly, he will adjust to his personnel. Hell use guys in the way they can be used best. I know DeAnthony Thomas was a highly recruited kid to go to USC and play corner because people didnt think he was big enough to play on offense and certainly not big enough to play running back, and Chip told him, You come here and Ill find a way to use you and make you a dynamic player, and thats what happened. They used him in the slot. They used him in some different ways running the ball and got the ball to him and hes a great player. So I think thats really coachs strength is getting the most out of his personnel.

What is Chip Kellys biggest challenge in his jump to the NFL?

The biggest challenge for anybody coming in is just getting people to believe and there is going to be some skepticism from his players and from everybody at first. Is this really going to work? Is this guy a pro coach? But Ill tell you what, hell do well once they get to know him and once they just see his demeanor and what he thinks about football. Hes going to impress them and once he gets everyone to believe, theyre going to be effective.

Do you feel as if a guy in Chip Kelly -- he brings an innovative mind that maybe other teams and other coaches around the league will catch on to and will follow once he gets here?

Well, he thinks outside of the box, and hes not afraid to be a risk taker and be a little different from the crowd. I know this was Philadelphias first choice. I happened to talk to both Chip and Jeffrey Lurie way back when this thing first started. I have a little bit of self-interest -- I was trying to talk like a dad and talk Coach Kelly into staying, but also talk from the perspective of being a former NFL coach and the things the Philly organization could give Coach and what its like coaching in the NFL and that type of thing.

I think he was intrigued by that and he wants to step up to the challenge, and I think hes going to do it. Again, the big thing I saw in three years was utilizing personnel, and the National Championship game was my sons first year, and Auburn had 10 guys drafted off that team -- that was Cam Newton, Nick Fairley and that group -- and Oregon played them right down to the last play, lost on a field goal on the last play of the game, and the only guy they had drafted that year was Casey Matthews, who went to Philadelphia. But that was, I think really spoke to what Coach Kelly can do -- take guys that might not be prototypical players, but use them in a way they can perform and produce.

What do you see in terms of the Eagles' defense with Chip Kelly as the head coach?

Well, I think, No. 1, the reason why they hired Chip Kelly was not to fix the defense. Hell get that done and hell get a competent person in there to run that side of the ball. But I know they hired him to be explosive and to move the ball and score points and I think that is his philosophy: Hey, were gonna put pressure on people to keep up with us scoring' and I think Philadelphia will do that. I think youll see some really good offense, and the one thing hes not going to micromanage the defense. Hes going to set a tone for the whole team, and the way theyre going to play and the attention to detail and the focus and the attitude and theyll play good defense.

I think its a great move and theres no doubt in my mind Coach Kelly is going to be a special coach in the NFL.

No. 12 Villanova at Elon: Wildcats eager for CAA road win

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No. 12 Villanova at Elon: Wildcats eager for CAA road win

No. 17 Villanova (3-1, 1-0) at Elon (2-2, 1-0)
Rhodes Stadium, Elon, N.C.
Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

Climbing in the national rankings, Villanova looks for its fourth straight win this weekend in a road CAA contest. Here’s a look at the matchup:

Scouting Villanova
After a season-opening loss to Pittsburgh, the Wildcats have won three straight, including a 31-14 rout of Lafayette last week. The Wildcats’ defense continued to flex its muscle in that victory with senior defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon scoring on a 25-yard fumble return to go along with his two sacks and sophomore linebacker Jeff Steeb returning an interception 45 yards for a TD. For the season, Villanova’s defense has now scored four touchdowns in four games while its rushing defense ranks 21st in the country, allowing just over 100 yards per game. Offensively, running backs Aaron Forbes and Javon White formed a nice tandem last week with both scoring and Forbes running for a career-high 111 yards on 11 carries.

Scouting Elon
The Phoenix bounced back from two straight losses to start the year with a home rout of Fayetteville State and a massive 27-10 road win over nationally ranked William & Mary last week. Just its second victory over over a top-10 FCS program, Elon was led by a 120-yard, two-TD rushing game from Malcolm Summers and an opportunistic defense that intercepted three passes. Elon does have some question marks offensively with several underclassmen in prominent roles, including sophomore Daniel Thompson, who took over for the injured Connor Christiansen at quarterback after the first game. But Elon’s passing offense still ranks third in the CAA with 206.5 yards per game.

Series history
This will be Villanova’s first-ever game vs. Elon, which joined the CAA in 2014.

Storyline to watch
Kpassagnon, an NFL prospect, was the biggest reason why Villanova extended its winning streak to three, putting all kinds of pressure on Lafayette and setting the tone by scoring a defensive touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. He’ll have a chance to do that again and try to rattle a young quarterback early. And he may need to have another big game in what figures to be a low-scoring affair between two hot defenses.

What’s at stake?
Elon and Villanova are among six teams that are 1-0 in the conference, meaning the winner of this game could rise to the top of the conference after just two games.

Prediction
Elon’s win last week was very impressive, but it seems unlikely that this young Phoenix squad can knock off two nationally ranked teams in a row. Villanova 24, Elon 14.

Phillies-Mets 5 things: Howard, Phils can spoil Mets' season

Phillies-Mets 5 things: Howard, Phils can spoil Mets' season

Phillies (70-89) vs. Mets (85-74)
7:05 p.m. on CSN

Just three games remain in the Phillies' season. After a 24-17 start, the season went predictably downhill. However, the Phils have a chance to play spoiler to a big-time rival with the New York Mets in town. Alec Asher is on the hill for the Phillies while Robert Gsellman faces the Phillies for a third times this year.

Here are five things to watch on Friday night.

1. End of the road for the Big Ticket
There are just three games left in Ryan Howard's tenure with the Phillies.

It's been a long ride for Howard. There'll be plenty on Howard this weekend (and there's a pregame ceremony for him on Sunday), but here are some of his stats from his 13 years in Philadelphia.

Howard has hit 381 home runs and has 1,192 RBI with the Phils. He has 10 seasons of at least 20 home runs and has a run of six straight seasons from 2006 to 2011, his first six full seasons, with at least 30 home runs and 100 RBI. He twice walked more than 100 times in a season and he racked up 276 doubles.

The long-time first baseman has hit 47 home runs against the Mets, his second highest total against any team (52 vs. Atlanta). In 174 games, Howard has 157 hits and 73 walks against the Mets.

Howard goes into the weekend with 197 home runs at Citizens Bank Park. Overall, he's racked up 1,465 total bases at CBP. He has, however, struck out 880 times in 769 games there as well.

2. Playing spoilers
While the Phillies are firmly outside of the playoff race, the New York Mets are in the driver's seat for a wild card spot. The Phillies could have something to say about that.

The San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals both won on Thursday while the Mets were off. That leaves the Mets one game ahead of the Giants for the first wild card spot and two games up on the Cardinals for a playoff spot. 

If the Mets win two of three this weekend, they clinch homefield advantage in the Wild Card game on Wednesday. With one win, they guarantee that they cannot be eliminated this weekend. Their magic number is two to clinch a playoff berth, so a combination of wins and Cardinals' losses can get them into the postseason. 

The Phillies can throw a wrench into the Mets' gameplan with a strong showing this weekend. While they've lost six of seven, the Phillies will likely get up for games with playoff implications. Furthermore, the Mets have the incentive to clinch as soon as possible as to avoid needing Noah Syndergaard to pitch on Sunday, so they can hold him for the National League wild card game on Wednesday.

3. Asher closes out impressive month 
Asher has made four starts since coming up earlier this month and has been much more impressive than his late season stint in 2015. 

After going 0-6 with a 9.31 ERA last year, he's 2-0 with a 1.66 ERA. However, despite picking up a win last weekend against the Mets, he struggled late and left room for improvement. 

Asher began his start Saturday vs. the Mets with a perfect game through three innings. He worked around three baserunners in the fourth inning, but came unglued after a couple errors in the fifth inning. While poor defense is not his fault, it would have been a good sign if he could have picked up his defense. Instead, he barely made it through the inning after four unearned runs.

Normally, a team would look for length out of their starter when handed such a large lead, so Asher only making it through five is disappointing. He still hasn't allowed more than two earned runs and has induced plenty of weak contact with his two-seam fastball.

The Mets will be the first (and only) team he faces twice this season.

4. Third time the charm vs. Gsellman?
Gsellman will be making his seventh career MLB start on Friday and it will be his third against the Phillies.

In two starts against the Phils, Gsellman is 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA over 13 innings. He has 13 strikeouts against them while allowing 10 hits and three walks. 

All four runs he allowed to the Phillies came in his first start. He had held the Phils to one run over six innings but departed after loading the bases with none out. The Mets' bullpen promptly allowed all three inherited runners to score.

On Sunday, Gsellman dominated, shutting out the Phils for seven innings. He allowed just five baserunners and struck out eight in the 17-0 win. 

The 23-year-old rookie has a 2.56 ERA through seven appearances in the majors. He started the season in Double A, but he will likely get a playoff start if the Mets gets to the Division Series.

5. This and that
• The Phillies have just two extra base hits in 50 plate appearances against Gsellman. They are hitting .222/.271/.267 against him. 

• Eight Phils have hits off Gsellman. Freddy Galvis is 2 for 5 with a double and Jimmy Paredes is 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI. 

• Michael Conforto hit a home run off Asher last season. No Mets hitter has more than one hit against him, in part because none of them have faced him more than three times.

• The Phillies have 601 runs on the season, the fewest in baseball by 39 runs. The Mets have the fifth worst total with 659 runs.

• Jeanmar Gomez is 0-3 with a 19.13 ERA in September. He's allowed 18 runs (17 earned) in eight innings.