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November 28, 2008

Dienhart: Syracuse to interview Oregon's Kelly

Rivals.com has learned that Oregon offensive coordinator Chip Kelly will interview for the Syracuse job on Wednesday.

Syracuse is looking to replace Greg Robinson, who is coaching out the season after being told on Nov. 17 he would be fired at the end of the season. Syracuse is 3-8 and plays its final game on Saturday at Cincinnati.

Robinson has a 10-36 record in his fourth year on the job. Rivals.com reported Illinois offensive coordinator Mike Locksley interviewed for the Orange post earlier this week. Others believed to be targets are Buffalo coach Turner Gill, East Carolina coach Skip Holtz, Florida assistant head coach Steve Addazio and New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator Doug Marrone.

Kelly has coordinated some of the best offenses in America in his two years at Oregon. In 2007, Kelly's attack led the Pac-10 in scoring (38.2 ppg) and total offense (467.5 ypg) behind quarterback Dennis Dixon, who emerged as a Heisman front-runner before a late-season injury.

Kelly's offense has continued to perform at a high level in 2008 despite quarterback issues. The Ducks have started two quarterbacks (Justin Roper and Jeremiah Masoli) while also playing two true freshmen (Darron Thomas and Chris Harper) and losing a potential starter in training camp (Nate Costa). The Ducks rank first in the Pac-10 in total offense (458.6 ypg) and scoring (39.8 ppg).

Prior to joining Oregon in 2007, Kelly was a member of the New Hampshire staff. From 1999-2006, Kelly served as offensive coordinator, engineering an attack that averaged more than 400 yards in seven of the eight seasons with Kelly at the controls. New Hampshire averaged more than 30 points in his final four seasons. In 2006, New Hampshire quarterback Ricky Santos won the Walter Payton Award as the top player in I-AA.

Before being elevated to offensive coordinator, Kelly coached the New Hampshire offensive line (1997-98) and running backs (1994-96). Kelly was defensive coordinator at Johns Hopkins in 1993. He broke into coaching at Columbia in 1990.

Kelly, 44, is a native of Manchester, N.H., and a graduate of New Hampshire.

Tom Dienhart is a national senior writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at dienhart@yahoo-inc.com.



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