Chip Kelly and Devin Brown Ohio State Buckeyes

What Is Chip Kelly Like As A Position Coach?

New Ohio State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Chip Kelly is coaching a position for the first time since 2008. That was the last time he was as assistant coach rather than a head coach.

That is, aside from last season’s bowl prep for UCLA when Kelly took over the quarterback coaching duties because Bruins QB coach Ryan Gunderson left after the regular season to become the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at his alma mater, Oregon State.

It was in that month of coaching a position again that Kelly’s wife remarked to him how happy he seemed. Kelly has said that his favorite part about football “is football,” and he was able to get back to that in bowl prep. That’s also when he started considering his future.

After being a head coach for the Oregon Ducks, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, and the UCLA Bruins, the possibility of getting back to just football started to tug at him.

“So I just thought at the time that — you know, there’s a story about John Lennon when he was a little kid,” Kelly explained, “and he had an assignment of ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ And he said, ‘I want to be happy.’ And then his teacher said, ‘I don’t think you understand the assignment.’ And his mom said, ‘I don’t think you understand life.’ So, I just want to be happy. And I’m really happy coaching a position.”

What Is Chip Kelly Like As A Position Coach?

Ohio State has five scholarship quarterbacks on the roster this season, and with a new position coach, everybody comes into this a little bit new. Redshirt sophomore Devin Brown has been in the Buckeye offense for three winters now, but this has been his first exposure to Chip Kelly.

Well, almost his first exposure. Kelly and OSU offensive line coach Justin Frye recruited Brown out of high school when both coaches were at UCLA and Brown was a blue-chip QB prospect out of Corner Canyon High School in Draper, Utah.

“He’s been great. He’s been awesome,” Brown said. “I feel like I have a really good relationship with him. You know, he recruited me to UCLA when I was still coming out of Corner Canyon. So I kind of already had that relationship him and Coach Frye.

“It’s funny, I was talking with them, I was sitting in their office in LA, you know, telling them I wasn’t going to go there and then they both follow me here. So it’s pretty funny. But no, he’s been great.”

This is, however, the first time that Will Howard has ever gotten to spend time with Kelly. As long as you don’t count the numerous Sundays on the couch during the football season when Howard was younger.

“First impressions of Coach Kelly? Really, really smart dude,” Howard said. “You know, it’s kind of cool for me, I grew up an Eagles fan. So he was the head coach of the Eagles when I was in middle school and high school. So I’m getting to work with somebody who coached my team growing up. Just ton of knowledge. He’s been around, knows everyone.

What Can Chip Kelly Do For You?

Chip Kelly has always been heavily involved in his teams’ offenses. Even though there is always an offensive coordinator, it has been Kelly calling the plays. That is expected to continue this season at Ohio State, but before that happens, he’s got to get the Buckeye quarterbacks up to speed.

Kelly has had a history of productive offenses throughout his coaching career. He has always been seen as an innovator. Part of that is the talent on hand, but there is also the system that he has implemented.

“His schemes are really, really quarterback friendly,” Howard said. “I think the things that he does are easy. It’s not a lot of manipulation. It’s how can we get as many yards as possible without any strain, you know? And it’s good. It’s a lot of really good stuff that he’s done.”

What does Howard mean by “quarterback friendly?”

“Just easy throws,” he said. “I think he does a lot of good stuff in the RPO world. I think a lot of the things that he’s trying to teach us is that we don’t have to work harder, we just need to work smarter. Getting the ball out to these guys on the outside that we have and letting them go make plays in space, I think is going to be really big for us this year. Basically we’re just the point guard out there. We’ve just got to distribute the ball and get yards however we can.”

Devin Brown is also very happy with what he’s seen to this point.

“I love the system that he’s brought in and the wording of everything,” he said. “So it’s been a good time.”

Kelly and his quarterbacks have been knee deep in the playbook with the hows and whys of every call. He wants his players to understand all of the ins and outs, and he does it in a style that helps make that a reality.

“He’s very laid back and wanting us to learn,” Brown said. “He’s very teacher oriented. He wants us to learn and really process everything without giving us the information. So it’s been good.”

The Buckeyes have returned from spring break and will get back on the practice field this week for practices on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. The pads will also go on this week, which will be Chip Kelly’s next piece of evaluation for his quarterbacks.

Which also means the next step in his quest for happiness will be seeing how well his quarterbacks handle a pass rush.

And you can’t help but wonder if John Lennon had any words of advice for that back when he was younger as well.

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