Urban Meyer says he’s ‘learned so much’ from ‘genius’ Chip Kelly

Chip Kelly
Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports

Did a former Florida coach just endorse a future one? Urban Meyer calls Chip Kelly a “genius” who has influenced his own offensive approach.

Meyer, a two-time national title winner with the Gators, said he has learned many of his offensive tactics from Kelly, widely viewed as the potential successor to Jim McElwain on the Florida sideline, during an appearance on the “Buddy Martin Show” that will air Thursday night at 6 p.m. EST on Facebook.

Kelly clearly has a big fan in Meyer, the coach of the Gators’ national championship teams in 2006 and ’08.

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“He is a great person that is a genius in the football mind,” said Meyer, who took time from his preparations at Ohio State to speak on Martin’s show. “I’ve learned so much from him.”

Meyer said his relationship with Kelly goes back more than a decade.

One difference between Kelly’s spread system at Oregon and Meyer’s teams at Florida was the fast pace, and Meyer said that’s one element of Kelly’s approach that he has begun using at Ohio State.

“Ever since Chip kind of got into this college football world, we were one of the first teams in the spread offense and we’ve adapted a lot of his tempo,” Meyer said. “He’s a go-fast guy. At Florida, we never were. However, we’ve adapted and changed. We’re an up-tempo team now, and we use a lot of things we’ve learned from Chip.”

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It’s not just about X’s and O’s. Meyer praised Kelly’s “win the day” mentality and his ability to focus specifically on each game.

Perhaps the biggest concern for many Florida fans, apart from Kelly’s problems with the NCAA during his Oregon tenure, is his personality. Kelly’s NFL career with the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers was marred by internal tensions, raising questions about whether he is ideally suited for coaching in the SEC.

But Meyer – a coach who sometimes struggled to connect with Gators fans, even when he won – doesn’t feel that would be a problem for Kelly.

“His personality’s a little different, but it’s a dynamic personality — and he wins,” Meyer said. “He’s a winner.”

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