Oregon head coach Chip Kelly spoke to media this morning in Scottsdale one final time before tomorrow night’s Fiesta Bowl matchup against Kansas State.
The NFL questions continued, and of course, Kelly masterfully dodged them. Quotes from the press conference are below.
Here is the full press conference with the always witty coach.
Q: Four BCS bowls in a row. What have you learned as a coach coaching bowls these last four years?
A: I think you learn really how hard it is to get there. That’s the one thing I think as a team, as a staff, as a group of players, to not take it for granted. It’s a truly special thing to be able to play in a BCS game. Some of our freshmen that came in as freshmen four years ago, they think it’s kind of the norm. We make sure they understand it’s extremely hard to get there and appreciate it and understand what it takes to get there. And make sure to pass on to the younger guys what it takes to get there. It’s not a surprise that you made it there. It’s not luck that you made it there. It’s about our preparation, always constantly trying to hammer home that issue to our guys. Don’t take anything for granted.
Q: One of the recent trends in the NFL is more pistol formation. People are tracing that back to you. Your thoughts on what seems to be a melding of the NFL and college games.
A: Don’t know. Haven’t been there. Don’t run the pistol offense. That’s not what we do. Chris Ault at Nevada invented the pistol offense. Just retired. Great football coach out there. There’s a lot of ways to play football. Pistol, don’t know that very well. We’re more of a spread run team. Trends go one way and the other. I said this a long time ago, if you weren’t in the room with Amos Alonzo Stagg and Knute Rockne when they invented this game, you stole it from somebody else. Any coach is going to learn from other people and see how they can implement it in their system. Anything you do has to be personnel driven. You have to adapt to the personnel you have. There’s a lot of great offenses out there, but does it fit with the personnel you have. The key is making sure what you’re doing is giving your people a chance to be successful.
Q: Your name has been thrown around quite a bit for the numerous open NFL jobs. I’m sure your players hear that. How do you answer those kind of questions from your players?
A: I’ve never been asked a question by one of my players. I think one of the tenets of how we do in our program is we don’t like outside influences control our lives. It’s kind of just noise to us. They’ve never said a word to me. I’ve never said a word to them. I always believe that praise and blame is all the same. You can’t, again, be a selective participant and listen to things that are good being said about you and block out bad things being said about you. Our team is extremely focused. If you get a chance to get inside our team, which is never going to happen, if you ever did get a chance, what we talk about, what we focus on really has nothing to do with what’s going on outside. That’s the great thing about coaching kids of that age. They don’t get caught up in it. I don’t think our kids read message boards, newspapers. They want to hang out with each other, have a good team, excited to get back to position meetings. We’re getting ready to go play the Fiesta Bowl. That’s what we’re excited about.
Q: Last year after you ultimately turned down Tampa Bay, you said you’d listen to options to everybody. Do you expect to do that in the next week?
A: I’m waiting for an offer from you. I will listen and I am excited if you do want to give me a call.
Q: Do you expect to field some offers here in the next week?
A: I don’t expect anything. I said this a million times. I’m never surprised by anything. I do not know what the future holds. I do know we have a football game tomorrow night and I’m going to be there.
Q: I know you’re focused on this game. There’s been a lot of talk about whether your offensive approach would adapt to the NFL. Have you given any thought to that whatsoever?
A: No. I get asked the question. I don’t think anybody knows any answers until someone does it. The Washington Redskins are doing a pretty good job. I forgot the name of their quarterback, but I think he’s done a decent job. The kid at Carolina has done a pretty good job. But it depends. I don’t know. I’ve never coached in that league. I visited practices and talked to people about it. The one thing about that, about everything, you have to have good players. Sometimes the coaching aspect is way overrated. We don’t play the game. I think college football is a personnel driven game, so is the NFL. Your job as a coach very simply is to put your players in positions to make plays, get out of the way and go make them.
Q: A lot of people look at this game and see two very different teams. What kind of similarities do you see, especially run first on offense, that type of thing?
A: I think we’re a lot more similar than people think. Offensively we rely on running the football, play?action pass. They do, as well. We preach special teams. They preach special teams. That’s going to be a huge matchup in the game tomorrow night. We’re a little bit different in our spacing on the defensive side of the ball than they are. Still the same fundamentals. They run to the ball extremely well on defense. We do, as well. I think we’re more similar than I think people really think when you look at it.
Q: Any interesting stories that happened with you guys this week?
A: We stayed away from the life and death situations. Here again I thank the Fiesta Bowl people for creating good environment for us. Although I didn’t go with them when they went and ate at Fogo de Chao. We had kids the next day that looked like they had meat induced coma. We didn’t have a case where anybody had to perform the Heimlich like Mark did last year.
Stay tuned for continued Fiesta Bowl coverage from Ducks football beat writers Sean Larson, Conor Armor, and Alex Shoemaker. The crew will be live from University of Phoenix Stadium tomorrow evening to bring you live, up-to-the-minute coverage from the game. For in-game updates, follow Sean (@SeanALarson) and Conor (@ConorArmorUO) on Twitter.