Blur Ascent: From 'Chip Kelly who?' to 'Chip Don't Go' in 4 seasons flat

Blur Ascent: From 'Chip Kelly who?' to 'Chip Don't Go' in 4 seasons flat
Chip Kelly heads off to catch a plane to Philadelphia on Wednesday, January 16, 2013.

EUGENE, Ore. - Don't forget: Chip Kelly lost his first game as head coach of the Oregon Ducks.

Big time.

His Ducks came up short 19-8 after a frustrating night out on the smurf turf at Boise State's Bronco Stadium at the start of the 2009 season.

"Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount's biggest connection Thursday night came after the final whistle," reported at the time.

The "Blount Force Drama" put Kelly's disciplinary policy to a media-scrutinized test early on, a policy tested time and again in a series of highly publicized off-season dramas involving his players. Some of the headline-seizing shenanigans involved players who featured prominently in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl field day Oregon had with one-time BCS national championship rival K-State.

Kelly arrived at the helm of the Ducks in a "succession plan" implemented in 2008 under long-time University of Oregon President Dave Frohnmayer that sent Mike Bellotti from head coach to athletic director.

Kelly departs tested time and again again by the conduct of his players, some of whom redeemed themselves; others left the program in a lurch.

The depth chart never failed to deliver.

Blount's suspension from the team opened up a sizeable hole for future San Francisco 49er LaMichael James, who would give his coach reason for concern at times, too.

When Jeremiah Masoli crossed that line with Kelly and left the team, fans despaired.

Then they met Darron Thomas.

And not enough Duck fans had even heard of Marcus Mariota before the spring game.

Kenjon Barner blew us away as LaMike's buddy - and tore up the field as part of a mutli-pronged threat made even more famous by his teammate DeAnthony Thomas and the nickname his Dogfather gave him.

Kelly spreads his wings and leaves the Ducks for the Eagles after presiding over an amazing run of conference championships and BCS bowls.

But as the BCS system shifts to a new day in college football, Kelly leaves his Ducks - and college football - with unfinished business: a national title.

Or at least a national title in the estimation of the computers: ESPN's fan polls put the Ducks atop the heap as the nation's favorite.

Just as the Duck success spawned fight songs aplenty, the second round of "Chip to the NFL?" spasms inspired indy fok classics and plenty of fretting by fans, who felt a familial kinship for the coach.

That kind of devotion - and the blur offense he rode in on - are the kind of energy that ought to find a good home in the NFL.

And if it doesn't?

As his noble opponent at rival Oregon State, Mike Riley, can tell him: You can go home again.

Oregon fans love a good story.