Senior College Football Columnist

How much of a toll does Chip Kelly's system take on his QBs?

With the big news that Chip Kelly is leaving Oregon for the NFL, there has been rampant speculation on how the college offensive whiz is going to do at "the next level." One of the most debated aspects of Kelly's system--and that of the spread of college schemes infused with the QB-run game to the NFL--is the injury risk of quarterbacks since they have been such a vital part of the running game. This season, Oregon QB Marcus Mariota had 106 carries (included scrambles and designed runs).

After all, Kelly's been coach in Philly now for -- what? -- 15 minutes. Truth is, he hasn't even loaded up the SUV yet to make the trip, which is why University of Oregon maintenance isn't rushing to his office to scrape his name off the door just yet.

No doubt, there is more risk in Kelly's scheme concede some Oregon insiders. How much? If you examine the Ducks' history in Kelly's six seasons running the Oregon attack, the concern certainly seems warranted.

2007: Kelly's first season as the Ducks' offensive coordinator: Lost starter Dennis Dixon to an ACL injury in late October. Then, lost backup Brady Leaf to an ankle injury in November. Also, lost reserve QB Nate Costa to an ACL injury in practice. In addition, Oregon lost fourth-string quarterback Cody Kempt to a concussion in the game against arch rival Oregon State. Justin Roper finished the OSU game and the Sun Bowl.

2008: Lost Costa to another ACL injury in practice. Then, lost Roper to a knee injury against Purdue in mid-September. Lost Jeremiah Masoli to a concussion the next week against Boise State.

2009: Masoli injured his knee against Washington State in early October, causing him to miss the next game against UCLA, which Costa started.

2010: Darron Thomas started all 13 games, but did hurt his shoulder against WSU, forcing Oregon to rely on Costa to play the rest of that game.

2011: Thomas injured his leg against Arizona State, forcing freshman Bryan Bennett into action to finish that game and start the next game against Colorado.

2012: Redshirt freshman Marcos Mariota started all 14 games.


Bruce Feldman is a senior writer for CBSSports.com and college football commentator for CBS Sports Network. He is a New York Times Bestselling author, who has written books including Swing Your Sword, Meat Market and Cane Mutiny. Prior to joining CBS, Feldman spent 17 years at ESPN.
 
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