The Mark Helfrich era at Oregon begins today

The Mark Helfrich era at Oregon begins today

Mark Helfrich

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Mark Helfrich era at Oregon officially gets underway today with the Ducks’ first spring practice.

Following up on Chip Kelly’s success is a tall task for any first-time head coach, but thankfully for Helfrich most of the key offensive weapons return from the Ducks’ 12-1 Fiesta Bowl championship team a year ago.

Athletic director Rob Mullens was hoping for a smooth transition when moved quickly to promote Helfrich, who spent the last four years as Chip Kelly’s offensive coordinator.

That’s exactly what Helfrich wants, too.

“Our practices structurally are going to be virtually identical,” Helfrich, who also said there won’t be any drastic changes to the Ducks’ explosive no-huddle offense, told The Oregonian. “We’re going to tweak a few things here and there that nobody would notice.”

One of those minor practice changes will be more live situations, working with specific down-and-distance, score and clock situations.

“Kind of a live, mental situation for coaches, as well as the players,” he said.

The biggest question mark is at linebacker, where the Ducks must replace three starters. The Ducks will also be looking for a No. 2 behind starting quarterback Marcus Mariota.

Helfrich is looking forward to finding those answers.

“I love spring football,” he said. “Spring football is the best time of year because you can prepare and you can see guys grow up.

“It’s an opportunity to get better. Coaches can experiment, answer a lot of questions, solve problems, then go back in summer and try to predict the future to a certain extent.”

Oregon’s spring game will be at 11 a.m. April 27 at Autzen Stadium.

Photo: Geoff Turner / GoDucks.com

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