Former Oregon players describe Chip Kelly's 'military-style' training

Photo of Former Oregon players describe Chip Kelly's 'military-style' training
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Oregon made headlines earlier this week when three players were hospitalized following excessive, military-like training.

That resulted in head coach Willie Taggart issuing a public apology and strength and conditioning coach Irele Oderinde being suspended a month without pay. It also brought back memories of training under former coach Chip Kelly.

Back in 2009, Kelly - then a first-year head coach - invited former Navy SEALS to train the Ducks over a two-day period.

"So it's offseason and Chip told us to show up in workout and athletic gear," a former Oregon player told John Canzano of The Oregonian. "Guys had no idea what to expect. So Chip brings in these former Navy SEALs and a lot of us are immediately freaking out, like, 'Oh man, these guys are going to kill us.'"

A second player described how the SEALS had players do basic "military-style" drills, including push-ups, abdominal flutter kicks and bridge exercises in unison, while reciting military phrases.

The players then went outside to the football field, where they took turns carrying a partner 100 yards across.

"Cliff Harris and a couple of other defensive backs were trying to carry guys a lot bigger than them for 100 yards," another former player said.

"It was a lot easier for them when they were carried back. But what we figured out over time was that the SEALs weren't looking to see how fast one or two guys could do the drill, but if we could figure out - as a team - the fastest way for us all to to arrive at the finish at the same time."

The second day, players were bussed to a pool where they performed different drills in the water, including submerging while putting a sweatshirt on.

"They were watching," the first player said of lifeguards being present. "But still, there were moments where I thought, 'I don't know if we should be doing this.'"

"A lot of us were unhappy with it," the second player added. "Looking back, I'm not. I didn't realize at the time, probably even until the next season, that we implemented a lot of what we learned there and carried it over. We took little things from that experience that lasted for years beyond that."

In 2010, Kelly brought the former SEALS back, where they made the players perform drills once again.

Unlike this year, no one was hospitalized or suspended for the training that occurred in 2009 and 2010, and both players were thankful for being put through the drills.

"It was so important to work together. That stuff never left us. I still have it inside of me," the first player finished.

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