No Agenda No Rumor No Doubt

Eugene -- It doesn't really matter what bowl game the Oregon Ducks go to some things that are certain. One, Mike Bellotti and Chip Kelly will be Ducks for a long time, Chris Harper is a special player and LeGarrette Blount is ready to get back on the field and play for whoever is the head coach at Oregon.

An extra ordinary media conference was held on Friday prior to the start of the first of nearly 15 practice sessions leading up to a yet unannounced bowl game. Most everyone who follows these things is pretty sure the destination will be San Diego for the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl.

Bellotti indicated in the conference that there was no secret or hidden agenda in naming Kelly the Head Coach in Waiting. For all intents and purposes things are the same for the next couple of years. Kelly will gradually move into the role of head coach and Bellotti will start assuming more responsibilities as Athletic Director though not likely this upcoming year. Bellotti expressed his full confidence in Kelly by responding to a question if he feels Kelly is ready and capable of doing all the duties of the head coach.

"He wouldn't be sitting here now in this position if I didn't feel he was capable of doing all those things," replied Bellotti to the question. "Chip is creative, intuitive, a great communicator, detail oriented and is a good teacher."

Kelly, a guy who takes on challenges like a bulldog clinging onto a soup bone is the type who takes no prisoners when it comes to winning games, recruiting prize recruits and heading a team towards a national championship. Kelly expects no problem with the staff whom he characterizes as a very professional group. From the comments made after the conference and prior to practice, everyone was in agreement -- Kelly was undoubtedly the best pick to succeed Bellotti.

Kelly dispelled one rumor that had circulated that he was not happy living on the West Coast.

"That story about wanting to go back east is turning into an urban legend," commented Kelly. "I don't know where that ever came from that Nicole (Kelly's fiancée) isn't happy out here. We're both very happy here. This place has been unbelievable in the short time I've been here and is one of the reasons why I want to stay here."

Bellotti cited a number of things that led him to believe starting a transition of power now was the best option. The headman said things started to evolve several weeks ago and that and with the support of President Dave Frohnmayer and Athletic Director Pat Kilkenny the decision was made to announce the Ducks' intention. Responding to a question about some skepticism raised in the Portland media asking how long will it be before Kelly takes over Bellotti was clear to the point.

"I think it is going to be closer to a year or two," replied Bellotti. "There was no rush to this. It had been thought out for about four weeks."

Bellotti also address another subject that has made the rounds in Portland and that is about some sort of hidden meaning to all of this change in the head coaching position at Oregon.

"I want to say one more thing, there are no hidden agendas; no behind the scene pressures, what you see is what you get," concluded Bellotti at the end of media conference. "We are both truly happy and pleased about this and it was well thought out and I owe the administration a debt of gratitude for that."

Another rumor that can now be considered squelched is the gem that has been bouncing around eDuck message boards about Chris Harper planning on leaving. None of the coaches knew anything about the rumor and according to Harper it wasn't so. The rumors started after someone spotted a photo of Harper with Kansas State Coach Bill Snyder on Harper's Face Book account.

"The photo is a year old," said Harper of the picture. "I don't know why people are making such a big deal of it."

Considering how much Harper will be part of Oregon's offense next year it would be an absolute shock to see him wanting to leave the Ducks. When Kelly was asked if there was something going on with Harper, the Offensive Coordinator thought the question dealt with the fact Harper was not in the Civil War.

"He was out with a groin injury," said Kelly of Harper's physical condition. "That's why he didn't play"

When further pressed about Harper, Kelly was genuinely surprised and unaware that any rumor was circulating.

So much for wild internet rumors.

Harper by the way did not practice on Friday, still nursing the groin injury.

On the practice field running back LeGarrette Blount was looking forward to getting back to playing football in a bowl game and as far as the succession plan he made no bones about his support for his coaches.

"I think it is awesome," said Blount of the coaching move. "I would go to battle for anyone of them as head coach."




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