Coaching Buzz: O’Brien, Shaw And Kelly

Here’s the latest coaching buzz around the NFL, focusing on candidates who could be plucked from the college ranks.

Oregon’s Chip Kelly continues to draw polarizing opinions (you can find many of them in our special Coaching Buzz section). Kelly’s No. 2 Ducks fell to Stanford in overtime last night, 17-14. One general manager told Adam Schein of recently that he’d be wary of Kelly.

“I’d be scared of Kelly. Does he understand the pro game? (Former Washington Redskins coach Steve) Spurrier had no idea. He (Kelly) would not be my first choice, but I’d interview him.”

Another general manager disagreed.

“[Greg] Schiano has changed the perception. Kelly is innovative enough to do it. He’s a bright guy. I think he would understand the hierarchy in the NFL.”

Meanwhile, Bill O’Brien continues to do a tremendous job with the Nittany Lions under extremely difficult circumstances. Unlike Kelly, O’Brien has NFL coaching experience, serving as an assistant on Bill Belichick’s New England staff for five years. David Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News asked O’Brien point blank if he’d back with Penn State next season. Here was the exchange:

Me: “I think a lot of fans want to know the answer to this question and that’s why I’m asking it. Are you going to be back here next season?”

O’B: “You guys gave legs last week to a story that… there’s no story there. Y’know, I’m focused on one game at a time. I’m focused on this football team. That’s not something that I even think about. I think about that I’m the head football coach at Penn State. And I’m looking forward to getting this team ready for Wisconsin. I mean, we give legs to a story that’s not even there.”

Me: “It’s a yes or no question.”

O’B: “It might be for you. For me, it’s Wisconsin. And this football team and this senior class. That’s where I think the questions should be directed: Indiana. The senior class. Getting ready for Wisconsin.”

Me: “Well, that’s gonna sound to the fans like you’re noncommittal.”

O’B: “I’m the head football coach at Penn State. I love coaching here. And I can’t get back to work on Monday and get ready for Wisconsin.”

O’Brien’s contract includes a buyout reportedly on the plus side of $9M. But as others have pointed out, those things can be negotiable, and NFL owners aren’t exactly strapped for cash.

In the link above, Schein asked five NFL executives about their top college candidates, and every one had O’Brien first or second on their list.

And finally, Stanford’s David Shaw was on the opposite end of Kelly’s loss yesterday. Like O’Brien, Shaw has NFL experience. He served on the Eagles’ staff in 1997 as a quality control coach and went on to Oakland (quality control, quarterbacks), Baltimore (quarterbacks, wide receivers) and San Diego (wide receivers, passing game). Shaw served as the offensive coordinator for four seasons at Stanford before replacing Jim Harbaugh as the head coach.

Daniel Jeremiah, a former scout with the Eagles and Ravens, who now works for, would be surprised if Shaw left Stanford.


As always, you can find all our coaching posts in one place, right here.

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