Mark Helfrich makes his debut as third-ranked Oregon's head coach on Saturday when the Ducks host the lower-tier Nicholls State Colonels.
The team's former offensive coordinator took over when Chip Kelly left in January for the Philadelphia Eagles. Kelly, credited with developing Oregon's breakneck spread offense, took ascending Oregon to a BCS bowl game in each of his four years as head coach, compiling a 46-7 record. The Ducks played in the 2011 national championship game against Auburn.
So it's no surprise that Helfrich says he won't change much now that he's in charge.
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Oregon finished 12-1 last season and defeated Kansas State 35-17 in the Fiesta Bowl. The Ducks' flashy offense averaged 49.5 points per game last season, second in the nation.
Head coach Mark Helfrich won't be the only one assuming a new role. Scott Frost will be watching from upstairs at Autzen Stadium as the Ducks' offensive coordinator.
Frost, the former Nebraska quarterback who led the Huskers to a share of the 1997 national championship, is the perfect fit for the job in which he oversees the Ducks' quarterbacks.
He joined the Ducks' staff in 2009 as wide receivers coach under then-head coach Chip Kelly, architect of Oregon's speedy spread-option. Earlier this year he was promoted to replace Helfrich, who was named head coach when Kelly left the Ducks for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles.
Get ready for Marcus 2.0.
That's what Oregon coach Mark Helfrich looks to see from his sophomore quarterback, Marcus Mariota, as the No. 3 Ducks embark on the new season. It all starts Saturday when Oregon host Nicholls.
Last season at this point, Mariota was a redshirt freshman who had just been crowned Oregon's starter -- beating out Bryan Bennett after a fall camp competition that was mostly a mystery because the Ducks keep practices closed.
Oregon coaches made the right call: Mariota set the team's single-season record with 38 touchdowns (32 passing, 5 rushing, 1 receiving). The first freshman named to the Pac-12's all-conference first team in 23 years, Mariota passed for 2,677 yards while completing a school-record 68.5 percent of his passes. He had 3,429 yards of total offense.
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