The smartest coach in the NFL?

For many followers of the league, the first name that comes to mind is Bill Belichick.

The grumpy, hoodie-wearing football savant has hoisted the Lombardi Trophy three times in five Super Bowl appearances with New England.

And the team the Patriots are trying to mimic on offense in a copy-cat profession?


During the offseason when Chip Kelly asked if he could visit Patriots headquarters to talk X's and O's, the innovative Oregon coach was greeted with open arms.

Belichick wanted know how the Ducks fly so fast.

"I was interested to hear how he did it," Belichick told the Boston Globe when asked about meeting with Kelly to discuss his hypersonic spread offense. "I would say he expanded it to a different level and it was very interesting to understand what he was doing.

"Certainly I've learned a lot from talking to Chip about his experiences with it and how he does it and his procedure and all that."

New England, using one-word play calls at the line of scrimmage, ran 89 offensive plays and racked up 35 first downs during a 31-21 victory over the Denver Broncos earlier this season.

"I think a little of that is overblown," Kelly told the Oregonian of his influence on Belichick's 2012 team. "I don't think you're going to see Tom Brady running the zone read."

Jon Embree and several key members of his Colorado coaching staff have NFL experience. But so far they also have a 4-16 record while rebuilding the Buffs.


Now CU has to prepare for another mission impossible: Saturday's game against No. 2 Oregon at Autzen Stadium (1 p.m., Pac-12 Networks).

The Ducks (7-0, 4-0) lead the Pac-12 and are second nationally in scoring offense (51.0 ppg).

During a 43-21 road victory at Arizona State, Kelly's crew scored 43 unanswered points during an 18-minute stretch in the first half.

The Sun Devils, 51-17 winners at Folsom Field earlier this month, entered the game with the nation's No. 8 defense. But Oregon redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota shredded them with a rushing touchdown, a passing touchdown, and a touchdown reception during the offensive onslaught.

Kelly rested many of his starters after the intermission. Just what Oregon needs against CU -- fresh legs.

The Buffs (1-6, 1-3), who are last in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (42.6 ppg) and 112th nationally in total defense (489.0 ypg), played as hard as they could and still lost 50-6 at USC on Saturday.

"You have to compete. At some point you have to get to where it's not about who you're playing, it's about the opportunity to play," Embree said. "The one thing you can't say about this team, you can't say they don't compete. I felt like they fought the whole game; they fought last week and will continue to fight. It's something we have to do."

The Ducks' explosive offense vs. Greg Brown's anemic defense is one of the biggest mismatches of the college football season. Oregon's offensive coordinator, Mark Helfrich, left Dan Hawkins' staff at CU to run the offense of his dreams.

The Eugene Register-Guard summed the game up this way:

"A return to Autzen Stadium is on the schedule for Oregon next week, to face lowly Colorado, and it will be all the college football world can do to patiently endure that game, with the Ducks' long-awaited showdown at USC looming seven days later."

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