One of the true destination jobs in all of college football opened up over the weekend when the University of Southern California fired head coach Lane Kiffin. It’s easy to land top recruits, you’re living on the beach—where do I send a resume?
At least one analyst believes Chip Kelly might be asking the same question. NFL.com touts Gil Brandt as “a longtime consultant to universities in the hiring process of head coaches,” and Mr. Brandt is of the opinion that Chip might be ready to wash his hands of the Philadelphia Eagles and head back to school by the time this season ends.
3. Chip Kelly, Philadelphia Eagles head coach: It would not shock me to see Kelly, 49, leave Philadelphia after one season, especially if the Eagles have a down year. Kelly knows better than most the kind of job this is and can be. He has never been in pro football before this season, and to tell you the truth, I'm not sure he's made for it. He reminds me of Steve Spurrier and Bob Stoops; they were destined to be college coaches. Kelly is similar. Being around him a little, I know he's a rah-rah, enthusiastic guy. Guys like that don't cut it for very long in the NFL. What he did at Oregon, transforming an OK program when he got there to what it is today, is nothing short of remarkable. This one could potentially get messy because of the sanctions leveled against Oregon. Kelly received an 18-month show-cause penalty, which would make his re-entry into college football problematic, but not impossible.
Some might be tempted to give that prediction more weight after Sunday’s 52-20 drubbing in Denver. The Birds are 1-3, and the product on the field has looked progressively worse each week.
When Chip left Oregon to take the position in Philadelphia, he famously quipped that he “burned the boat,” meaning he wasn’t going back. There’s also the matter of the five-year, $32.5 million contract he received from the Eagles, although no doubt Kelly would be well-compensated at USC.
Regardless, it’s pure conjecture at this point. If the Eagles’ season turns into a total disaster, that may make a move back to college somewhat more likely. For now, Kelly is focused on the 0-4 New York Giants in Week 5, a game that presents a real chance to get back in the win column.
Maybe a W would even tempt some fans down from a ledge.
>> Top candidates to replace Lane Kiffin at USC [NFL.com]