IRVING, Texas -- It's one of the more anticipated matchups of the season for the Cowboys: Monte Kiffin's 4-3 defensive scheme against Chip Kelly's fast-paced offense.
When these men last met in November 2012, Kelly's Oregon Ducks rolled up 730 offensive yards in a 62-51 victory over USC, where Kiffin was the defensive coordinator. In three meetings, Kelly's offense averaged 601 yards and 50 points per game against Kiffin's defense.
There were all sorts of reasons Kiffin struggled against Kelly.
On Sunday Kelly, now the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, takes on Kiffin, the defensive coordinator for the Cowboys.
"They're just good," Kiffin said of Kelly and his staff. "Chip Kelly is the best. Some coaches talk a lot but they don't put it on tape. Coach Kelly puts it on tape. They know what they're doing. I don't care if it's high school, college, pro, the World League, or whatever, he's a good football coach."
In a news conference with reporters on Wednesday, Kelly said Kiffin isn't running the same defense with the Cowboys that he had at USC.
"I would say it's different when you look at him in terms of what he's trying to do," Kelly said. "A lot of everything everybody does is personnel-driven, so dealing with different players in the Cowboys than he had when he was at USC, so I think it's changed a little bit."
In an interesting conversation, Cowboys linebacker Ernie Sims said he never heard of Kelly and the things he did in college. Sims, a Florida State alum, said he wasn't trying to be disrespectful to Kelly, but said he never followed what the coach had done.
"I just learned his name, Chip Kelly," Sims said. "I've been stuck in my own world and dealing with the Dallas Cowboys. I know [Alabama coach] Nick Saban and [Florida State coach] Jumbo Fisher."
Sims said Kiffin's approach this week isn't any different than any other, despite facing Kelly's offense, currently ranked third in total offense in the league.
"The fast-paced offense won't throw us off," Sims said. "We got to simulate it in practice and we'll be ready for it. We just have to run to the ball and play gap control versus the pass."