Over the past three years, we have all watched as Chip Kelly has turned the Oregon Ducks into one of the most aggressive and innovative offenses in all of college football. Well, apparently there is a coach in Arkansas that makes even Chip Kelly look conservative. And wouldn’t you know it; he even has the same last name.
Kevin Kelley, the coach of the Pulaski Academy football team in Little Rock, Arkansas joined Chad on The Morning Sports Page Monday to talk about his unique approach to football.
Since 2007, Kelley has more or less abolished punting on his team. In 2007, his team punted a grand total of two times…for the season. In 2008, that quantity actually decreased by two – meaning – the team never punted that season. It followed the same pattern in 2009 and 2010. Kelley decided to end the streak last season with a punt in the second game of the year. If you’re counting, that’s three punts in the past seven seasons. What does he have to show for his aggressive play-calling? Just two state Championships and a 104-20-1 record since taking over for the Bruins in 2003.
Kelley insists that if you have a small advantage over a big period of time, you will end up winning in the long run. By that logic, he asserts that there is a decided numbers advantage by not punting the ball on fourth down and instead trying to get the first down every time the offense is on the field. In essence, Kelley plays to win, whereas traditional football coaches play to not lose.
As you can imagine, such an unorthodox way of thinking has been met with some challenges. He has been criticized by parents, opposing coaches and the media. But Kelley insists that his coaching staff, his athletic director and his team have gotten on board and the result has been nothing but wins.
Although, Kelley does believe he has found something with his unique strategy, he questions whether the method can actually work in the college or professional ranks – not because he thinks it’s some sort of gimmick that couldn’t translate to higher levels of competition – but because he doesn’t know if there is a coach or program out there that can actually go all in on the philosophy.
At his level of competition, if he loses he gets booed. At higher levels, if teams lose because they didn’t follow traditional play-calling, they lose their jobs. In order for somebody to succeed with his theory, a coach would either have to have nothing to lose, or they would have to have the backing of everyone involved: coaches, players, fans, etc…And he doesn’t know if such a coach or such a program actually exists at this point in time.
Take a listen as Kelley breaks down the statistics of football strategy and pay attention to Pulaski academy this season. Odds are it will be competing for another state title.