Bellotti Grants Two Coaches Permission

Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti revealed this afternoon that he granted permission to a couple Oregon assistant coaches to explore options with other programs recognizing that they will eventually lose their jobs with the Ducks.

Bellotti said that Chip Kelly, the named successor, had told defensive line coach Michael Gray and wide receiver coach Robin Pflugrad that Kelly would eventually bring in coaches to fill the defensive line and wide receiver coaching positions. Bellotti could not confirm that either has accepted a position with anyone else.

"Obviously with the eventual transition there are a couple of coaches Coach Kelly feels close to," Bellotti said. "He (Kelly) wants to bring into the program. One is at the receiver position and one at the defensive line position. So I've granted permission to Michael Gray and Robin Pflugrad to explore their options and I've told them I would help them because at some time down the road they recognize they will not have a job here at Oregon."

Bellotti went on to say that he believes Kelly would only be replacing the receiver and defensive line coaching positions. When asked what the relationship Kelly has with current defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti, Bellotti would only say that he thinks Kelly and Aliotti are friends and work well together. Any questions in regard to changing the defensive coordinator position would be better asked after he (Bellotti) has stepped down.

This weekend there are several national high school all-star games being played and Bellotti believes the Ducks are in on between eight and 10 and further went on to indicate that Oregon has a "legitimate chance" at five to seven. The coach also thinks perhaps that one or two may announce a commitment to Oregon this weekend.

Questions were asked about next year's squad and over all Bellotti was optimistic with returning veterans at the quarterback, running back and tight end positions on offense. The headman was encouraged by the development of offensive linemen Bo Thran, C.E. Kaiser and Jordan Holmes but felt that there might be a possibility that some incoming freshmen could be called upon to play significant minutes next year.

Defensively Bellotti's biggest concern was at defensive line particularly at tackle. The coach wants to see a healthier Tonio Celotto but did concede that there are at least two junior college transfers who will help out during the spring workouts in April. eDuck Sports believes that one of those transfers is Justin Thompson, 6-5, 290 from El Camino College, who delayed his enrollment at Oregon to meet eligibility requirements.

The other defensive position that Bellotti does not have an immediate response as to whom will take over is the Rover position held by Patrick Chung in 2008.

A player that Bellotti feels has greatly improved not only in his physical ability but his outlook on football is Jamere Holland. Bellotti mentioned that the coaching staff challenged Holland to become more involved. Bellotti indicated that he, Kelly and Pflugrad had the same conversation with Holland telling the player he is a good athlete but needed to spend extra time studying, meeting with coaches and being engaged on the field.

"He took that as a personal challenge and has earned playing time," Bellotti said of Holland.

Bellotti thinks his team deserves to have a final Top-10 ranking this season but doesn't necessarily see a pre-season Top-10 billet at the start of next year, though that could change based upon the success of this year's recruiting effort.

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