If Zach Abey is unable to be the player that Navy needs him to be this season then it will not be for a lack of guidance.
Abey already two men in his corner that have proven to be absolute masters of the triple-option game in head coach Ken Niumatalolo and offensive coordinator Irvin Jasper. This week though Abey has another set of eyes on him in former Oregon, Philadelphia Eagles, and San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly.
Kelly, who has yet to pick up a job since being fired by the Bay Area NFL franchise at the end of last season, clearly has some time on his hands and as a football guy it only makes sense that he spends some hours around the game.
On Monday Kelly was spotted observing the goal-line offense and the Mids play in the two-minute drill, while he is expected to return on Wednesday and Friday as Navy closes out its spring practice schedule.
While Kelly was not seen as a success in the NFL, he was considered an offensive genius as he went 46-7 in four seasons in the Pacific Northwest with the Ducks. His offensive innovation may not have been a match at the pro level, but you can bet that Niumatalolo and his staff have been picking the brain of their guest, especially when it comes to the play of their starting quarterback.
“Obviously one of the best coaches in the game,” Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said of Kelly to the Washington Post. “For us to have an opportunity to be around him, learn from him, we’re just trying to soak in as much as we can. Some of the things he did at Oregon revolutionized football. Everybody’s doing no-huddle, one-word concepts. His offseason stuff, his up-tempo stuff, a lot of the things that he implemented, literally high school, college and pro guys are doing it. He’s definitely a trendsetter.”
It is great to see Navy making the most of an opportunity like this, especially as the Mids offense, and Abey, in particular, has been wildly inconsistent during the spring.