As long as Chip Kelly is around and Phil Knight keeps on pumping money into Eugene, I feel that Oregon will be our stiffest challenge in the Pac-12 North in the near future. Kelly's specialty read option offense has taken the Ducks to two Rose Bowl and a BCS National Championship appearances. Perhaps when the NCAA does decide to levy its penalty, Kelly will take that call from the pros and bolt. Dunno about you but I am really looking forward to Chip vs NFL press/media. To give us a quick look into the Ducks for 2012, we have Rob Moseley from the Oregon Register-Guard. Make sure you follow his diligent work on Twitter and Oregon Football Blog.
Do you believe Chip Kelly will stay at Oregon for more than a couple seasons or will the NFL come calling with a more attractive offer?
I do think the NFL will come back at Kelly assuming the Ducks avoid major NCAA sanctions and put together another strong season. And you can only flirt with someone for so long before they get the message that you're not interested. Since I do think his ultimate goal is to coach in the pros, and that the window won't be open forever, I'll be surprised if he's still here in, say, three or four years.
How seriously do you believe the NCAA will discipline Oregon for its recruiting violations? Will it uphold Oregon's "failure to monitor" penalty?
Obviously there's no way for me to say with certainty. But I think the negotiated language we've seen already is probably a good road map for where this is going, so yeah, I presume the "failure to monitor" language will be in the final verdict.
Is there a sense in Oregon that the Ducks might be verging on USC-esque elite status? Or do you think that Oregon's success is more of a flash-in-the-pan event?
My personal sense is that Oregon will be elite as long as Chip Kelly is around. He's a special coach (again, assuming he avoids major NCAA sanctions). But maintaining that in Eugene will always be tougher than doing so in Los Angeles, because of the inherent recruiting disadvantages up here. Whoever replaces Kelly, presumably Mark Helfrich, will have to prove he can win at this level with this team; it won't just be a given.
What's the local reaction to the increasing number of off-field incidents? Cliff Harris, LaMichael James, and Kiko Alonso all had issues with the law, yet subsequently returned to the playing field. Does this sit uncomfortably with the Oregon fanbase, or is winning the great deodorant?
I think your last line sums it up. But the 2010 offseason was just a perfect storm of insanity, and while future incidents are viewed in that context, things have been relatively normal in comparison with most programs around the country since then, I'd say. 2010 was an anomaly.
What do you look for when evaluating talent?
I'm not arrogant enough to think I have any business doing so. Thus: Wins and losses.
How has the recruiting game changed in the time you have spent following it?
The coverage has obviously exploded, because the interest is there from fans. Removes a lot of the drama from signing day, and gives the hardcore fans something to chew on in December and January. I don't deal with it much myself, so it doesn't affect me much personally.
What weight do you put on recruit's twitter chatter? Is it all to screw with the media or are they saying legitimate things on there?
I follow players, but like I say, I don't "cover" recruiting as part of my day-to-day job, so I don't put a lot of consideration into any of it.
If you had to guess who would be the player from the 2012 class to shine in college, who would be your pick? From Oregon's class?
Well they're thin at defensive end, so Arik Armstead should have a chance to play early, particularly because he'll be here for spring. There should be some chances for freshmen to play early at receiver and running back, too, so I'll be watching all those guys. And of course, any quarterback has the potential to eventually be the face of the team.
If there's one local player you're rooting for to succeed at the next level because of his success on and off the field, who would it be and why?
Any and all of them.