The Friday 5: The Ducks at midseason, Kayvon Thibodeaux's dominance and surviving on the scout team against Chip Kelly's UO offense
Plus: Comparing the production of Oregon's star 2021 receivers against their peers and the best thing on the internet this week.
(Photo courtesy of Tyler Briffet, No. 25)
Tyler Briffett is a City of Boston police officer, served in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve and his second round of college took him to Norwich College — also known as the Military School of Vermont. He is a 31-year-old who has been trained to handle intense and chaotic situations.
Still, when the former Oregon walk-on linebacker is asked to describe what it was like practicing every day against one of the most renowned offenses in college football history, he gets lost for words.
“It was definitely,” he said before a long pause, “It was definitely overwhelming and confusing.”
That was thanks to Chip Kelly, who will stand on the opposing sideline Saturday against the Ducks at the Rose Bowl. It’s been nine years since Kelly packed up his 46-7 record at Oregon and headed for the NFL. And this isn’t the first time he’s coached his current team, UCLA, against the one he turned into a national brand. But his time in Eugene still has its aftershocks, from the imprint it left on Oregon’s current roster to the highlights that still dominate social media feeds.
It all began in practice and frankly, Briffett found it exhausting.
See, he had a pretty smooth run for a few years. He moved to Eugene from Massachusetts before his senior year of high school and won a state championship at Sheldon. He walked on at Oregon for Mike Bellotti’s final ride in 2008 and quickly found a rhythm with a regimented practice schedule and routine that had been honed over Bellotti’s decades at the helm.
“Then after the Holiday Bowl, Bellotti leaves, Chip takes over and it was night and day,” Briffett recalled.