ORLANDO, Fla. – Chip Kelly’s former offensive coordinator at Oregon said Thursday that all Kelly needs is a little time with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to turn things around.
Scott Frost, the University of Central Florida head coach, has watched the 49ers practice this week during the team’s stopover before heading north to face the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
“I’ve always admired Colin Kaepernick for the athlete that he is and the quarterback that he is,” Frost said. “I think last week they came close to winning a tough game, but looking at the numbers he put up and his ability to run and throw the ball, I think it’s a good match for what coach Kelly’s offense asks for.
“I have no doubt, with some time, Chip will get those guys going.”
The 49ers (1-10) are on a franchise-worst 10-game losing streak, but the team’s offense has shown signs of life in recent weeks. After averaging 290 yards of total offense over the first seven games, the 49ers have averaged 385.3 yards the past four games. On Sunday in the 49ers' 31-24 loss to the Miami Dolphins, Kaepernick rushed for 113 yards and threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns.
“The basis of what he’s doing is the same as what we’re doing,” Frost said. “He’s evolved. We’ve evolved. Oregon’s evolved. Football keeps evolving. So you got to try to stay ahead of the curve. There’s still a lot of similarities, but Chip’s a smart guy. I think he’s doing a great job and has done a great job in the NFL continuing to evolve this system we both know to make it work at that level.”
Frost said Kelly deserves special mention as a person who changed the face of college football during his time with Oregon.
“As far as I’m concerned, when you watch college football right now, it looks like everybody went to Chip Kelly’s school of offense,” Frost said. “When we were doing that at Oregon in ’09 and even before that in ’07, ’08, there wasn’t anybody else in the country running what the majority of the country is running now. So I don’t think Chip gets enough credit for revolutionizing offensive football in college football.”
Frost and Kelly have both been speculated as candidates for the Oregon head-coaching job after the firing of Mark Helfrich. Like Kelly a day earlier, Frost on Thursday denied interest in the opening.
“I’m not a candidate for Oregon,” Frost said. “I’m happy right here. This is where I want to be. I started something here. I feel like we’ve taken a lot of steps to get this program to the top of this league and I want to see that through here. I’m really happy here, and I have no intention of leaving any time soon.”
Frost took over a UCF program that went 0-12 in 2015. In Frost’s first season, the Knights went 6-6 and are preparing for a bowl game.
“A lot of coaches are in a hurry to take the next step,” Frost said. “I think you get yourself in trouble when you take a step before you’re ready or before the time’s right. I’m committed to making this place a really good football program and a football program that can win and win consistently in our league. I’m not even planning on looking for a job until we get to that point.”