Early thoughts on candidates at Oregon

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With tonight's confirmation that Mark Helfrich is out as head coach at Oregon, I figured I'd share a very brief view into some of the things coaches have shared with us over the past few days.

The overarching consensus from all that we have heard from is that Oregon will want to maintain and even add to their identity. Oregon -- with, as always, the help of Nike -- wants to be known as the program that playmakers want to go to. The coaches we've spoken with believe the next head coach at Oregon will likely be a sharp, offensive minded coach, who has "an identity"; but also is a truly genuine person that will make the University and their fans proud.

Two names that fit the bill are Lincoln Riley and P.J. Fleck.

Riley, the 2015 Broyles Award winner in addition to being the 2015 FootballScoop Offensive Coordinator of the Year, currently is offensive coordinator at Oklahoma. Everywhere he's been his players love him, they ring up huge numbers and the coaches who work with him rave about him. Oh, and something to keep in mind: Chip Kelly and Helfrich were both offensive coordinators with no head coaching experience when they got the Oregon job.

Fleck, possibly with the most outward charisma of any current head coach, has his Western Michigan team undefeated and is most definitely one of the hottest names "on the market."

Now here's the kicker. Over the past few days, sources have told FootballScoop that representatives of Oregon have checked with representatives of both Riley and Fleck for in the event that Oregon decided to make a move. Clearly there is interest; but neither is assured the job.

Other names mentioned the most often from coaches include Bryan Harsin, Beau Baldwin, Scott Frost and Dana Holgorsen. We'll take a further dive into each of these tomorrow.

Several media folks over the past few days have written that Jim McElwain is reportedly a candidate. None of the coaches we've spoken with believe this nor do any think this would be a good fit for what Oregon and Nike are looking for.

And no Oregon article would be complete without discussion of Chip. Could this happen? Eh, maybe. Do we expect it to happen? Eh, not really. First of all the timing is not good (49ers have a lot of football left to play). Second, Chip loves the NFL lifestyle. With Phil Knight involved we won't so "no chance" but we really don't imagine this happening.

It will certainly be interesting to see which direction Oregon goes. You know we'll keep you posted on The Scoop.