"If the guy that followed John Wooden quoted John Wooden a few times, that would probably be OK," coach Mark Helfrich said. "To go away from what we've done from the past several years dramatically, I don't understand why we'd do that."
This is now Helfrich's program, although he admitted that he's almost "100 percent lockstep" with Kelly's philosophies.
Oregon has evolved from Rich Brooks to Mike Bellotti to Kelly to Helfrich. They were good before Kelly took over in 2009; they were better after. Longtime defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti said Kelly turned Oregon from a good team to a good program.
Kelly recruited almost every player on this season's team. The current Ducks squad is loaded with NFL-quality talent. Five NFL scouts were at the game. Two were from the Eagles.
Offensive coordinator Scott Frost said in a radio interview this summer that the program could "run itself" after Kelly's departure because of the culture of the program.
"He left it, and it's firmly stamped in Oregon," athletic director Rob Mullens said, adding, "It's running very much the same, because it is a system."
Mullens didn't just mean an offensive system, but rather the culture that Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie hired Kelly to replicate in Philadelphia. "Win the day" is the mantra, but it's become a process-oriented attitude central to the Ducks' success.
Helfrich said Kelly's influence that most resonates is developing the entire program into "no-huddle mode" in all phases. That permeates beyond the offensive, defensive, and special-teams systems to the strength-and-conditioning and day-to-day ideology. Mullens said the culture Kelly honed, along with the innovation and speed, has ignited success in other programs in the athletic department.
"He was the guy that kind of really just changed the perspective a little bit of this team, even before I got here," said Mariota, a redshirt sophomore Heisman Trophy candidate. "I'm sure his imprint will be here for a long time. It's been successful. We're not going to try to [change] that."
Kelly's schedule kept him from watching much of Oregon's first two games. He still keeps in contact with the coaches and players. Frost spoke to Kelly before the Ducks' opener to pick Kelly's brain about play-calling. Helfrich said there's ongoing dialogue, although Kelly needs to keep most of the communication to text messages.
"The three-hour time difference will really screw you up," Kelly said. "I think about calling them on my way into work, but it's 2 o'clock in the morning for them."
There are enough people to discuss the Ducks with at the NovaCare Complex. Kelly brought some members of his coaching and support staff with him from Eugene, Ore. The Eagles also have five Oregon players on their roster and practice squad.
"I'm a big Oregon fan, in case you guys didn't know," Kelly said last week.
There are still warm feelings about Kelly in Oregon, too. Minor NCAA infractions did not sully his reputation. Mullens said many Oregon fans who came to Charlottesville are staying in the region for Monday's Eagles game at the Redskins, 21/2 hours north.
The Oregon coaches smile when discussing Kelly and the Eagles, sharing their affinity for Kelly's new team and their affection for the coach. But the Ducks are doing just fine without him, too.
"Chip will always be a part of the Oregon family and the Oregon brand," Mullens said. "I can tell you this: There's a hell of a lot of Eagle fans out West, specifically in Eugene, Portland, and throughout Oregon."
Contact Zach Berman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @ZBerm.