January 7, 2011

BCS: Coach's Corner

Auburn, No. 1 in the BCS standings, brings a 13-0 record and Southeastern Conference Championship into the National Championship Game against Oregon, ranked No. 2 with a 12-0 record and PAC-10 Championship.

Oregon is known for their fast-paced offense, not only because they run plays so quickly, but also because they are incredibly effective. If their game against California is taken out of the equation, they averaged over 52 points per game on the season.

The game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT, and will be broadcast from University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona by ESPN. This will be the first-ever meeting between Auburn and Oregon.

Oregon head coach

[db]Chip Kelly[/db] is in his second season as the Head Duck, and his second season as a head coach at any level. A 1990 graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Kelly broke into coaching as a freshman coach at Columbia University in 1990, and returned to New Hampshire as running backs coach in 1992. He spent a total of 13 years as an assistant at UNH, serving as offensive line coach for two years, running backs coach for three years, and ultimately was offensive coordinator from 1999-2006.

Kelly joined the Oregon staff as offensive coordinator in 2007, and produced new school records in scoring and total offense. The Ducks broke both those records in 2008, and led the Pac-10 in rushing yards per game, scoring, and total offense. In addition to his offensive background, Kelly has three years' experience on the defensive side of the ball, including a one-year stint as defensive coordinator at Johns Hopkins, in 1993.

Kelly was Pac-10 Coach of the Year in 2009, having become the only coach in Pac-10 history to win the conference title outright in his first year. In 2010, Kelly has won multiple coach of the year honors. His overall record as a head coach is 22-3.

Oregon Defensive Coaches

Defensive Coordinator [db]Nick Aliotti[/db] is in his 20th season at Oregon, and this is his third stint with the Ducks. Aliotti has 36 years of coaching experience, including three years as a defensive assistant with the St. Louis Rams (1995-1997). His defensive philosophy is to stop the run, and his defenses have finished in the top 20 nationally multiple times in rushing defense.

Defensive line coach [db]Jerry Azzinaro[/db] is in his second season at Oregon, and was actually hired a month before Chip Kelly became head coach. A native of Brooklyn, NY, Azzinaro was defensive coordinator at Duke from 2004-2006. Duke's head coach at that time was current Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof. Azzinaro also served as defensive coordinator at UMass and American International College, in addition to serving s head coch at Division III Western New England College in 1986. Included in his personal accomplishments are a brown belt in combat judo, and a New England Golden Gloves heavyweight championship.

Secondary coach [db]John Neal[/db] is in his eighth season with the Ducks. A 1980 graduate of BYU, Neal spent eight seasons coaching the defensive backs at UAB prior to joining the Oregon staff. Prior to moving to UAB in 1995, Neal was the secondary coach at Ole Miss from 1992-94. Neal teaches an aggressive style in the secondary, and his units have been among the national leaders in interceptions, in addition to producing four NFL draft picks over the past two seasons.

Linebackers coach [db]Don Pellum[/db] has spent 23 seasons on the Oregon staff. Pellum graduated from Oregon in 1985, and immediately began his coaching career as a graduate assistant there. In addition to coaching middle and weakside linebackers, Pellum serves as the Ducks' recruiting coordinator.

Oregon Offensive Coaches

[db]Mark Helfrich[/db] is the Oregon offensive coordinator, and is in his second year with the program. A 1996 graduate of Southern Oregon University, Helfrich became the youngest offensive coordinator at a BCS school when he got the job. Helfrich's primary focus is on the passing game, utilizing skills he learned during a 5-year stint with Arizona State and two years with Colorado. Helfrich's passing offense at Arizona State ranked in the top 10 nationally three times during his 5 years there. Helfrich spent a year as a player/coach (offensive coordinator) with the Vienna (Austria) Vikings in the winter of 1997.

Offensive line coach [db]Steve Greatwood[/db] is the running game coordinator, a title often given to an offensive line coach, as they generally have an excellent understanding of the nuts and bolts of the running game. Greatwood has spent a total of 25 years on the Oregon staff. A 1980 Oregon graduate, he spent the first 15 years of his coaching career focused on the offensive line. Following a brief stint coaching in the NFL, Greatwood returned to Oregon as defensive line coach in 2000, and coached the Ducks' DL through 2004. In 2005 he returned to the offensive line role, and has been there since...

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