It’s not often Oregon head coach Chip Kelly enters a press conference wearing a big smile, but he did on Wednesday in his first official media obligation for the 42nd Annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
At the Ducks team hotel, Kelly entered the makeshift press room and sat in front of a small group of reporters to take questions about his teams matchup with No. 5 Kansas State on January 3rd.
“We’re excited to be here” said Kelly in his opening remarks.
“We tell our players every year, our goal is to spend Thanksgiving together, Christmas with our families and New Years together,…so for the fourth year in a row we’ve done it and we’re excited to be here.”
Kelly began his comments with a brief update regarding the teams schedule over Christmas allowing players to spend the holiday with their families and requiring them to meet as a group at the team hotel today before practice begins on Thursday.
Albeit brief, Kelly also admitted he himself was also able to make it home for the holiday.
A large portion of the seven and a half minute briefing revolved around Kelly’s anticipated move to the NFL.
When prodded about the possible move, Kelly immediately dismissed any discussion about the NFL and kept the focus on the task at hand which is preparing for, and coaching against the Kansas State Wildcats.
“I’m coaching in the Fiesta Bowl and that’s where my sole attention is” said Kelly when asked about all of the reports and speculation about his move to the professional ranks.
“It gives you guys something to write about,..I think you’re entertained by it,…because I don’t read it, it doesn’t mean anything to me.”
In one final attempt to squeeze any kind of headline or information out of Kelly regarding a possible move, he was asked if he had any ambition to coach in the NFL.
“My whole thing since I’ve been here is I’m going to do the best job I can every single day” said Kelly.
“If that’s good enough that other people to look at, I don’t really care,..too many people live in the future. We live in the moment,…our football team lives in the moment,..if you’ve watched us play over the last four years, we’ve always lived in the moment. The only thing we can control is today.”
In a rare moment of open dialogue about his future, Kelly did admit he loves coaching the University of Oregon football team.
“My heart is to win the day, and that’s it” said Kelly.
“I know everybody wants to hear a different answer, and I know at times when I don’t give you guys the answer you guys want, then I’m being evasive. I’m not being evasive. My job is to coach the University of Oregon football team, and I love doing it. And that’s what I’m going to do.”
Lastly, Kelly was asked if making a fourth consecutive BCS bowl might become mundane or expected considering the programs recent success.
“You never know,… but I don’t think anything in life you can take for granted” Kelly explained.
“That’s the one thing you’ve got to really realize, and we try to teach as a teachable moment, is that these opportunities aren’t given to anybody. You’ve got to earn them, and I think our players understand that. They understand the pain after we lost to Stanford but know that we had a great chance to go to something else if we go out and played well against Oregon State, and I was really proud of how they played that week, so I don’t think they take it for granted.”
Oregon will hold its first ( local ) Fiesta Bowl practice on Thursday morning from 11:30 am local time to 1:15 pm.
The team will practice at Pinnacle High School, the same location the Ducks practiced at in 2010 when preparing for Auburn in the national championship game.
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