In case you just awoke from a long winter's nap, you might have heard that the Oregon Ducks had some big news this week. Chip Kelly pump-faked everyone and decided that the NFL was worth it. Ducks DL coach Jerry Azzinaro followed him out the door and joined him in Philly.
The DuckNation Mailbag has never been so packed, so let's see what you've got on your mind.
Bob C. (Bakersfield, Calif.): Now that Chip has taken his ego to Philadelphia, who will take over? Can the Ducks maintain their success on the field? What about recruiting?
DuckNation: Mark Helfrich is the logical choice as the transition would be nearly seamless. As far as the way the offense and defense would be run, it would be hard to tell there was a change at the top. On the field, one look at Oregon's roster and you have to think missing the BCS in either of the next two years would be a disappointment. The roster is as loaded as it has ever been and a head coaching change can only change so much, at least in the short term.
As far as recruiting goes, that's anyone's guess. The Ducks' current class was upset at first, and some of the Ducks' top commits are scheduling official visits elsewhere. After the initial shock wears off, things should settle down and the Ducks' class should look fairly similar to what it is now. As far as the Class of 2014 and beyond? We'll have to wait and see who the coach is and what the staff looks like. The Ducks have become a brand name with a big draw. So losing Kelly stings, but it doesn't automatically end what Oregon has become.
Deon B. (Oakridge, Ore.): Does losing Jerry Azzinaro hurt the Ducks or does it actually help? I guess he was a fairly good coach, but it doesn't seem like he could really recruit.
DN: It hurts for the sake of continuity and yes, he is a good coach. He took some very average defensive lines and made them better. As far as recruiting, he did help the Ducks land their best class of defensive linemen in 2012. Arik Armstead, Alex Balducci and DeForest Buckner were all big-time prospects. Chip Kelly, Nick Aliotti and Steve Greatwood had a lot to do with them joining the Ducks, but Azzinaro played a role as well. The Ducks should be able to find a coach of equal or greater value on the field who would also be valuable in recruiting.
Shannon T. (Stockton, Calif.)- How many of the Ducks' current commits will be with Oregon on signing day?
DN: Linebacker Joe Walker (Palos Verdes. Calif./Harbor College) is already enrolled. Of the 12 in the "currently committed" group, the best guess is that at least 10 of them will sign with the Ducks on signing day.
Nacho R. (Chula Vista, Calif.): Do you think the Oregon commits from San Diego will stay that way? Or do you think they are headed to Ohio State? Who else might be in play for Tyrell and Tyree Robinson? What about Darren Carrington Jr.?
DN: We imagine that the that Tyrell Robinson (San Diego/Lincoln) and Tyree Robinson (San Diego/Lincoln) will stay committed to the Ducks and eventually sign on the line for Oregon next month. Ohio State might not want them to play basketball and Notre Dame doesn't seem like the right fit. Washington and USC could be the biggest competition from here on out. Tyree wanted to go to Washington, and the appeal and location of USC make them a threat.
As far as Darren Carrington (San Diego/Horizon) goes, no one really knows. He has hinted at wanting to take visits in the past, but with Chip Kelly on board, that wasn't an option. Carrington doesn't have an offer from Ohio State quite yet, but they are working hard to try and secure at least a couple of wide receivers in this class. If a visit does happen, he could be the next California receiver to head to Columbus.