CHICAGO — After confirmed reports named prestigious offensive line coach Harry Hienstand the first addition to new Head Coach Matt Nagy’s offensive staff on Wednesday afternoon, Nagy continued to work quickly by naming Chris Tabor his new special teams coordinator and Charles London as his new running backs coach.
We have now learned that Nagy has tabbed Mark Helfrich as his offensive coordinator in Chicago according to multiple sources this morning. Adam Schefter of NFL Network confirmed early reports by Da Bears Blog, Adam Jahns, Mike Mulligan and other Chicago area media members.
Helfrich, 44, was most recently the head coach of the Oregon Ducks from 2013 to 2016 after his former boss Chip Kelly left Eugene for an NFL job with the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2012 season. Helfrich led the Ducks to a pair of 10-win seasons including a 13-win season in 2014 that included a trip to the National Championship game against Ohio State.
The Ducks would lose to Ohio State, and Helfrich would lose quarterback Marcus Mariota to the NFL Draft that Spring. 2015 and 2016 were forgettable for Helfrich as Oregon won just 13 games combined and Helfrich was fired after the 2016 season.
Helfrich has spent the 2017 season working as a college football analyst for FOX Sports, but has been mentioned for multiple offensive coordinator jobs over the last month including a possible reunion with Chip Kelly at UCLA.
Before his tenure as the head coach at Oregon, Helfrich was the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator under Chip Kelly from 2009 through the 2012 season when Kelly left for the Philadelphia Eagles job. Helfrich has been a coach in one of those two capacities at the FBS level since 1998, making stops at Boise State, Arizona State and Colorado along the way.
As far as quarterbacks are concerned, Helfrich is widely regarded as a quarterback developer, guiding Marcus Mariota to the NFL during his stay at Oregon. As the offensive coordinator and head coach at Oregon, Helfrich has his hands on one of the best offenses in college football for a half-decade, and is as well regarded as a teacher as he is a quarterback specialist.
In his early days, Helfrich coached former Boise State quarterback Bart Hendricks. Under Helfrich, Hendricks won Big West Conference Player of the Year in 2009 and 2010, and Boise State posted the fourth best passing offense in the nation during the 2010 season.
After joining current Buccaneer’s Head Coach Dirk Koetter’s staff at Arizona State, Helfrich coached former Arizona State quarterback Andrew Walter, who under Helfrich became ASU’s all-time passing leader and nearly broke the touchdown record for the Pac-10 (now Pac-12) that was held by John Elway.
At Oregon Helfrich has worked with Jeremiah Masoli, who led the Ducks to the 2010 Rose Bowl, and then quarterback Darron Thomas stepped into the driver’s seat in 2011 and Oregon went undefeated and went the BCS National Championship. In 2012 Oregon won the Rose Bowl, and of course the following season began the Marcus Mariota tenure in Eugene, that I’m sure everyone is much more familiar with.
With the addition of Helfrich to run the offense, and Harry Hiestand bringing his zone-block offensive line scheme back to the Bears, Mitch Trubisky will be in run-pass option heaven in 2018, a scheme that he became familiar with during his time at North Carolina. While Helfrich will have his hands on the development of Mitch Trubisky in Chicago, Matt Nagy has already confirmed that he will be calling the plays on game day.
The additions of Helfrich as the Offensive Coordinator and Hienstand as the offensive line coach almost certainly guarantee that the Bears will have a dynamic passing offensive scheme aimed at getting Trubisky on the move and confusing the defense, and getting the ball down the field, something we haven’t seen in Chicago in quite some time.