- Ted Miller, ESPN Staff Writer
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Good hires. And both coaches inherit loaded decks.
Frost gets eight starters back from the nation's best offense, including a Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback. Aiken gets an experienced crew that goes seven deep.
Frost, of course, will be on the spot, and we mean that in a good way.
While Oregon's staff under Kelly was known for its notable continuity, Frost has long been viewed as an up-and-comer. He's had opportunities to leave Oregon, but he seemed content in Eugene, at least until someone handed him his own offense.
It was just a matter of time before he'd get one. In fact, if Kelly had stuck around, I'd rate the chances of Frost being at Oregon in 2014 at less than 50 percent.
Frost, 38, brings a compelling resume. Not only has he been working under Kelly and Helfrich -- a dynamic mentoring duo -- as receivers coach for four seasons, he knows both sides of the ball as a player and coach.
After starting his college career at Stanford, he won a national championship as Nebraska's quarterback in 1997. He then played safety in the NFL. Before he came to Oregon, he was the defensive coordinator at Northern Iowa.
As the Ducks' new quarterbacks coach, he'll bring plenty of perspective to the position he'll oversee.
He's played for Stanford’s Bill Walsh and Nebraska’s Tom Osborne as well as the New York Jets’ Bill Parcels in the NFL. Toss in his needing no get-to-know-you period at Oregon, and you see there are plenty of reasons to have faith in his taking the keys to the Ducks' offense.
All Frost needs to do is make sure Oregon continues to average 50 points and 540 yards per game. No problemo?
As for Aiken, he's spent the past six season coaching defensive line with the Arizona Cardinals. NFL experience will give him immediate credibility with his players. He also knows college football, as he coached the defensive line at Iowa for eight season (1999-2006). He's also had stints at San Diego State, Texas, Vanderbilt and New Mexico.
He's also filling big shoes, though.
Jerry Azzinaro, the lone full-time assistant who followed Kelly to the Philadelphia Eagles, was a critical part of the Ducks' staff. For one, he brought an emotional intensity to practices and games that will be hard to replace. He also played a key role in the changes -- improvements -- over the past couple of years, including the adoption of a base 3-4 look, which Kelly ridiculously acted like hadn't happened.
Still, you'd have to say Helfrich has deftly handled the first decisions following his elevation to head coach.
Kelly's decision to leave surely inspired some handwringing among Ducks fans. These staff moves should ease those initial concerns.
1dCraig Haubert and Tom Luginbill