By Joseph Santoliquito
Philadelphia, PA (CBS) — Before the rest of the football world found out about the wondrous offensive mind of new Eagles’ coach Chip Kelly, Ryan Day was the first quarterback to experience Kelly’s coaching acumen at New Hampshire.
Day, now the offensive coordinator at Boston College under previous Temple coach Steve Addazio, was a three-year starting quarterback when Kelly first took over as the Wildcats’ offensive coordinator from 1999 to 2006.
Kelly’s spread offense and schemes were in the embryonic stages when Day was at New Hampshire.
“That was Coach’s first year as a coordinator and that was my first year starting, but yes, that was the beginning stages of his offense and that’s one of the things Coach does a great job with, moving and adjusting,” Day said. “He doesn’t have a lot of blocking schemes, but window dresses his offense for defenses. They’re basically the same plays with different looks. When he was at UNH, we were a little more exotic, changing the offense every week. And every week, it created problems for a defense.
“Coach is a great teacher. He’ll do a great job of teaching it with the Eagles. The way he explains things makes a lot of sense. He gives players the things they need to understand, and he can conceptualize things. That’s where he’s done a tremendous job.”
Day admits he didn’t have the mobility of Colin Kaepernick during his playing days at New Hampshire. In fact, Day even hinted that what Kelly brings could be a nice fit for Nick Foles, who’s far from Kaepernick himself.
“Coach Kelly is a master of playing really, really fast, which has become an edge for him,” Day said. “Going into my senior year, he told me in the off season to lose some weight. I wasn’t super mobile. We ran zone option, side to side. From there on, his quarterbacks have run a little bit. But I wasn’t Colin Kaepernick by any means. I was able to run the offense, and I wasn’t running by too many people in the secondary. The best thing I can say about Coach is that he’s always been able to adapt his offense to the personnel that he has. He was like that at UNH and then at Oregon. But coach Kelly’s offensive background is in a lot of things, the run-and-shoot. He has backgrounds in the pro passing game, the spread, and read-option.
“He’ll take the best things the Eagles can do and he’ll use them. One of his greatest strengths as a coach is he’s a great thinker on his feet—that’s accurate. His players love playing for him. I played for him 10, 12 years ago and he’s one of my closest friends in college coaching. I can thank him for everything in football that I’ve had. He leaves an impact on people’s lives.”
Day recalled the spring breaks at New Hampshire. Everyone associated with the football program, players and coaches alike, spread out everywhere, going away, going home. Kelly would go off to other colleges to visit their coaches and continue to learn.
“That’s him, that’s Coach,” said Day, who obviously speaks about Kelly in deep reverence and speaks to Kelly at least once a month on the phone. “He’ll keep working and working and working. Football is his love and his passion. He’s a super competitive person. He loves to coach and teach football, and he lives to win. He’ll be doing this his whole life. He’s going to do everything he can make it happen to win a Super Bowl for Philadelphia.”
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger from CBS Philly.