Watching Oregon football during the Chip Kelly era meant big plays, lots of points and plays being run at breakneck speeds. And former Ducks playmaker Keanon Lowe says those infamous play signs on the sideline with pop culture references, Lee Corso photos and the like were mere distractions during the no-huddle attack and had nothing to do with the plays being run on the field.
“The truth is, the cards meant nothing,” Lowe said in an interview this week with Jim Canzano. “It was all hand signals and verbal. The cards were just a diversion. You gotta give it to Chip. He thought of that. Who thinks of that? Everyone was looking at the different photos on the cards that were held up, trying to figure out what it meant. It was just a distraction, like a magician.”
Lowe, now known as a local hero after stopping an armed student who entered Portland (Ore.) Parkrose High School in May 2019, is the featured character in an upcoming Disney movie on the event. Lowe recorded 68 catches for 891 yards and 11 touchdowns during his football career under Kelly’s tutelage at Oregon.
Kelly’s offenses were record-setting at Oregon and routinely kept opposing defenses off balance with a zone read and RPO-based scheme.
Kelly recently signed a four-year contract extension at UCLA following an 8-4 campaign.
After guiding Oregon to four consecutive Pac-12 Championship appearances and a berth in the BCS national title game with the Ducks, Kelly spent 2013-16 as a coach in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles and then one season with the San Francisco 49ers.
He won 10 games in each of his first two years with the Eagles, capturing the NFC East in 2013 before losing in the NFL Wildcard round to the New Orleans Saints. He posted a 2-14 record in 2016, his only season with the 49ers.
Over his last two years at Oregon, Kelly won a Rose Bowl and Fiesta Bowl and finished ranked inside the top 15 in both the AP and Coaches Poll both campaigns.