Update - 1/14

by Frank Baldwin January 15, 2016


Back in PAC-12 Country - But he's not in the Conference!


Will 49ers coach Chip Kelly learn from the old Chip Kelly?

By John Canzano


Kelly's flop in Philadelphia is an easy case study. He was done-in by his general manager….basically, himself. Kelly forgot that it took a lot of people to be successful and decided he only needed himself. He seized control of personnel, which only served to alienate people around him. He was clumsy in casting off players. He was arrogant, coarse, and wanted so much control of the lives of his players that they stopped feeling like people.

Anyone who has been around Kelly knows he's equal parts outspoken and intelligent. They also know that he's chronically in a hurry. The Eagles felt rushed in their pursuit of the playoffs, he took too many gambles, made too many bad personnel moves, and flushed too much talent. The resulting six-win season wasn't the equivalent of bottoming-out, but the direction was troubling to Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, who course-corrected.

The big winner ends up Colin Kaepernick. Because the struggling 49ers quarterback now has a coach who understands what to do with him, and how to best utilize him. They're like two men in a row boat stuck in the middle of high seas today. But what I'm hoping Kelly has learned is that if the 49ers are going to be a success, it's going to come because Kelly works well with his front office, cultivates a strong locker room, and remembers that this isn't all about him. He's the coach. But he's going nowhere without the organization and locker room lined up together. 

Part of Kelly's issue in Philadelphia is that he walked around, acting like most of the the rest of the league were a bunch of dolts. He traded LeSean McCoy for Kiko Alonso, giggling like he knew something the Bills didn't. He flushed DeSean Jackson. He ran off a Pro-Bowl guard, Evan Mathis, in a spat that suggested Kelly didn't think he needed linemen. You're coaching against men like Belichick and Coughlin? You need every gifted player at your disposal. Because if you alienate too many, you're coaching with your hands tied behind your back.

This is Kelly's last shot as a head coach in the NFL. He blows this one and he's going to have to go back to college or take an assistant role in the NFL. Carroll was 33-31 in his first NFL run. Kelly is 26-21. I like the hire by the 49ers, not just because it marries your franchise quarterback to a coach who can utilize him, but because it marries a desperate franchise with a man who has no choice but to learn from himself.

Said Kelly in 2012: "I learned a long time ago the big time is where you're at. I never have got caught up with coaching the Rose Bowl. I never get caught up in that I'm coaching in front of 60,000 people. All I care about is the people I get to work with every day. That means the staff and the people I interact with and the kids on my team and do I love them. And that's it. I'm happy.


Devon Allen returns to the Oregon track team

By Chris Hansen

Devon Allen is back with the Oregon track and field team coach Robert Johnson said Wednesday, and gearing up for what is expected to be a full season for the redshirt sophomore.

Allen was last seen on the track in the summer of 2014 winning NCAA and U.S. outdoor titles in the 110-meter hurdles as a freshman.

But the multi-sport star injured his knee on a kick return in the 2015 Rose Bowl playing wide receiver for the Duck football team and missed the ensuing track season.

He returned to the football team this fall and caught nine passes for 94 yards. With the football season over, Allen has officially resumed his track career and is entered in the 60 and 60 hurdles at the Washington Preview indoor meet in Seattle this weekend, though Johnson said Allen won’t actually make his season debut for a couple more weeks, most likely at the Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., Jan. 29-30. 

“Devon is back and has been training with us for a few days,” Johnson said. “I know we were anticipating opening him up this weekend but we’re going to hold off on the idea and let him get a little more seasoning.”

And hopefully regain the form that turned him into an instant sensation in 2014 when he became the first hurdler since Renaldo Nehemiah in 1979 to win an NCAA and U.S. title in the same season. His time of 13.16 at the NCAA meet set the Oregon school record, was the second-fastest time in NCAA history, and helped the Ducks win their first outdoor team title in 30 years.

“He’s definitely been training with us and once he gets a little more work under his belt we’re going to try to debut him as soon as possible to try and get his track legs back under him,” Johnson said.


IAAF scandals make it tougher on TrackTown USA's Vin Lananna

By Ken Goe


Single-session tickets for the World Indoor Track & Field Championships -- March 17-20 at the Oregon Convention Center -- go on sale Friday. I expect the meet to sell out. There only are about 7,000 seats. Now that ticket buyers don't have to commit to three days and all sessions, the remaining seats should go quickly.

But this hasn't been an easy sell for TrackTown USA president Vin Lananna and his crew of organizers, in part because their timing turned out to be abysmal. Track & Field's ongoing international doping and corruption scandal keeps getting worse and worse. It appears to have involved the highest levels of the International Association of Athletics Federations, the governing body of international track & field.

The World Anti-Doping Agency's Independent Commission into doping issues released a second report, on Thursday. It flogged the IAAF leadership. EuroSport lists seven key points from the independent commission report, three of which point the finger directly at former IAAF president Lamine Diack.

None of this has anything to do with TrackTown USA's attempt to put on the World Indoor Championships. But it does sully the sport TrackTown is trying to promote. And it has raised questions about the way TrackTown went about securing the 2021 World Outdoor Championships for Eugene. Diack appears to have been a key player in helping TrackTown circumvent the normal bid process to secure the 2021 championships.

I've seen no credible evidence that Lananna or anyone affiliated with TrackTown did anything unethical or illegal to get that meet. But the fallout seems to have made the Oregon legislature skittish about putting up state money pledged by Oregon governors John Kitzhaber and Kate Brown.


Frank Baldwin
Frank Baldwin


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