Former Oregon running back explains Chip Kelly's affinity for science


INDIANAPOLIS -- Former Oregon running back Kenjon Barner did not sound surprised that Chip Kelly added a sports science coordinator. Barner said science was a consistent emphasis of Kelly's at Oregon.

“Everything that we did at Oregon was based on science,” Barner said. “How we practiced, what time we practiced, what time we started practice, what time we ended meetings, how we ate, how we rehabbed. Just everything was based on science. He was always looking something up, always bringing some type of fact or number to us in a meeting.”

Barner is a self-admitted "night owl" who was curious about the need for more sleep. Kelly would often ask what time Barner went to sleep the night before. 

But he's learned not to question Kelly, who he would love to play for in Philadelphia. In a game against Oregon State last season, the Ducks were having trouble running an inside zone run. During a timeout, Kelly told Barner to cut back on his next run. Barner told Kelly the cutback lane had not been there all game.

“I did it, ran for 60 yards," Barner said. "For him to see that before a play is run is uncommon.”

The Eagles appear set at running back with LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown, but they could potentially add a running back in a later round of the draft to compete with Chris Polk and Dion Lewis for the No. 3 job. In case McCoy and Brown are curious of what to expect, Brown offered insight on what it's like to play running back under Kelly.

“A lot of speed, a lot of speed, a lot of speed," Barner said. "Everything is fast paced. I don’t know if he’ll take that same mentality to the NFL right off the bat, but be in great shape. That’s my best advice.”

Barner met with the Eagles on Thursday, but he said they laughed in the meeting because there was not much that Kelly did not know about him. 

When discussing Kelly, Barner insisted he's never met anyone who can adapt to a situation like Kelly can. That's why Barner did not think Kelly needs a certain type of quarterback to suceed.

“The man’s a genius," Barner said. "He has a mind that I’ve never been around. For him to have this offense, I don’t see him having a problem using anybody as a quarterback.”


Giants coach Tom Coughlin considers Andy Reid a friend, and he gushed about the former Eagles coach. But Coughlin is also well aware of Kelly, who Coughlin followed when Kelly was at the University of New Hampshire and once even interviewed Kelly for a job on the Giants staff.

"He’s done a superior job and he’s an outstanding football coach," Coughlin said. "He’s going to make it interesting."