Oregon football players back Mark Helfrich hire

By Matt Walks

Oregon Daily Emerald, U. Oregon via UWIRE

Oregon football players back Mark Helfrich hire

Oregon football players got their first opportunity on Sunday to comment on the official hiring of Mark Helfrich.

Despite a busy start to the offseason, players remained upbeat and excited for the future of the program during the team’s official press conference and coach introduction at Autzen Stadium. The majority of the team found out about the promotion Saturday night during a team meeting.

“I feel like our team has a great vibe,” said sophomore De’Anthony Thomas, one of five student-athletes immediately available for comment. “We’re ready to go already.”

 Junior defensive back Brian Jackson said that when Helfrich was introduced to the players as the new head coach, he was greeted with a standing ovation.
“We’re ready to be coached by him,” Jackson said. “I think he’ll be a force.”
Helfrich’s hire comes on the heels of former head coach Chip Kelly’s departure for Philadelphia to become the Eagles head coach. Sources say Kelly is reportedly receiving $32 million over five years. Helfrich’s relatively modest deal from Oregon guarantees him $9 million over the same span.
Perhaps the most talked about strength of Helfrich’s hire is the presumed continuity from the Kelly era. The 39-year-old coach says he expects the team to run “99.2 percent” the same way it was run under Kelly. Jackson said the majority of the players had hoped Helfrich would fill the vacancy.
“(Helfrich’s) been here with us, he understands the way the program rolls,” Jackson said. “He knows the process, he knows the struggle, he knows what we go through. I feel like this team is going to take off soon.”
Starting quarterback Marcus Mariota, who enjoyed a spectacular debut season last year with Helfrich as his offensive coordinator and quarterback coach, also emphasized the predicted continuity.
“I don’t think there’s going to be much change,” Mariota said. “And I’m looking forward to it.”
Center Hroniss Grasu and defensive tackle Ricky Heimuli also attended the press conference, as well as Oregon men’s basketball coach Dana Altman and a handful of boosters, well-wishers and friends of Helfrich.

Read more here: http://dailyemerald.com/2013/01/20/oregon-football-players-back-mark-helfrich-hire/
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