The Buccaneers came very close to hiring Oregon head coach Chip Kelly days before bringing in Greg Schiano. In an interview with a Seattle radio station Kelly talked about his spread offense and how close he actually was to becoming the Bucs' head coach.
The Buccaneers have flirted with some big names to fill their coaching vacancies over the history of their franchise. John McKay – the first ever head coach – was a superstar in the coaching world when he shocked those who followed NCAA football by leaving powerhouse USC to come to Tampa Bay and take on an expansion franchise. Steve Spurrier considered leaving the University of Florida in 1996 to come to Tampa, and everyone knows the story of Bill Parcells jilting former owner Hugh Culverhouse, and again the Glazers in 2002 before Jon Gruden was hired.
During the early morning hours last January, Oregon head coach Chip Kelley came within a fraction of an inch of becoming the ninth head coach to walk the sidelines in Tampa Bay. Wednesday he talked about just how close he came in an interview with Seattle radio station KJR.
“I was close. … I decided to stay, really, because of our staff, “ Kelly said. “I love those guys, love working with them. I think sometimes when people make decisions about taking job X over job Y, it’s ‘Well, that’s a good job?’ Well, what makes it a good job? The people you work with every day. We’ve got something special there. We’re the only staff in the country that’s been together four straight years. … There’s certainly challenges out there that intrigue me, but I think at the end of the day, when you finally have to make a decision, the reason I stayed was because of the staff.”
Kelly and his Ducks run an intricate spread offense, and many media members and fans of the Buccaneers have played the “what-if” game had Kelly accepted. In the interview Kelly talked about how he felt his offense would have translated in the NFL.
“I think some does (translate to the NFL), Kelly said. “No one can be married to one thing, because it’s all personnel-driven. You can say, ‘Hey, we’re going to do this.’ It’s like the Denver Broncos. What John Fox did in Denver with Tim Tebow was outstanding because he looked at what he had for a player and said, ‘Hey, we’re going to run this.’ Now, all of a sudden, they have Peyton Manning and they’re not going to run the same plays. … It’s a personnel-driven game and I think the coaches that are the best at it can adapt their systems to the NFL.”
The Buccaneers obviously ended hiring Greg Schiano, and although not as big a name as Kelly, many fans seem to believe the former Rutgers boss is a better fit for the young Tampa Bay roster. Kelly may yet end up in the NFL and well could become successful, but for now the community appears to solidly be standing behind the coach who said yes.
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