How does Adrian Klemm’s departure impact the Ducks in both short term and long term?

On Monday morning, news came out that Oregon Ducks offensive line coach and run game coordinator Adrian Klemm was going to leave Eugene to take a coaching position with the New England Patriots, per a report from ESPN’s Pete Thamel.

This news came as a bit of a surprise for Duck fans, considering the fact that less than a week ago, Oregon head coach Dan Lanning stated that he didn’t “anticipate any coaching changes” this offseason in regards to the news that Klemm had interviewed with the Patriots for a coaching job. While it wasn’t a hard and fast “no” in regards to the potential that Klemm would be leaving, a lot of fans were led to believe that their OL coach would be sticking around in Eugene, at least for another season.

Instead, the Ducks will now be looking for another coaching replacement on the staff, which will be the third hire that Lanning has made this offseason — Oregon already replaced OC Kenny Dillingham with Will Stein, and safeties coach Matt Powledge with Chris Hampton.

So with Klemm off to the NFL, where does that leave the Ducks? How does this move impact the team, but in the short term and the long term? Let’s try to answer a few key questions.

How hard is it to find a replacement now?

There are two ways to look at the timing of this announcement: in a positive light or a negative light. Let’s start with the negative first.

The college and professional coaching carousels turn at different times, and different speeds. With college football coming to a close for most teams in early December, we often see a lot of coaches moving teams and taking new positions throughout the final few weeks of the year, and sometimes early in January. Contrarily, the NFL season doesn’t come to an end for most teams until the middle of January, which leads to their coaches moving and shaking much later in the process than their college counterparts.

So while Klemm left Oregon to go to New England in the middle of their hiring process, it now leaves the Ducks with a vacancy at the OL coaching position with very few candidates available to fill the spot.

There are still a lot of names out there — we will get into more on that later in the week at Ducks Wire after digging and doing some research on potential candidates — but a lot of coaching staff around the nation are largely set and getting ready for spring practice. This may make it tough on Dan Lanning to find the top-tier replacements that the Ducks may be able to attract if the move were to come at an earlier date from Klemm.

Will players want to transfer because of Klemm leaving?

Okay, we touched on the negative aspect of Klemm’s departure; let’s now look at the positive.

Klemm leaving is a big deal and it will likely hit home to a lot of players on the roster. There are guys who came to Oregon to play for Klemm, and who transferred to the Ducks in order to learn and get developed by a former three-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots. Of the top guys, players like Josh Conerly, Ajani Cornelius, and George Silva all come to mind.

Fortunately for the Ducks, this move is taking place in a time period where the transfer portal is not open, and if players did want to leave Eugene to find another team, or another coach to play for, they won’t be able to do so until May 1. That may buy the Ducks some time to be able to make a hire and recruit some of their players to stay.

Importantly, spring football is between now and that May 1 date as well. Once the Ducks do make a hire and get the new coach ingratiated into the system, all of the linemen on the roster will have a chance to get to know the new coach, understand his philosophies, and play an entire spring season under him.

Will there still be players who choose to transfer after getting that sample size under the new coach? It’s entirely possible. But fortunately, because of the timing of this, the Ducks’ new OL coach — whomever that may be — will get an opportunity to sell himself to the players on the roster first.

Will Oregon's OL have the same success in 2023?

I don’t mean this in a demeaning way at all, but Adrian Klemm sold his stock when it was pretty darn high. After coming to Oregon and getting a chance to coach some incredibly talented players on the offensive line, the Ducks had one of the best units in the nation, allowing only 5 sacks in 13 games — the best rate of any team in the nation.

Klemm’s coaching absolutely had a big hand in that success, but I think it’s incredibly fair to say that the level of talent on the roster — much of which was brought to Eugene by Mario Cristobal — also deserves a lot of credit.

In 2023, we were going to get a chance to see what Klemm was going to be able to do with his own recruits and his own players. Four of Oregon’s five starters from last year graduated, which left a very talented but unproven group behind them. I am in no way saying that the Ducks couldn’t find the same success this year under Klemm, but it absolutely was going to be something that I had an eye on for the aforementioned reasons.

Now, with a new OL coach, and a relatively unproven offensive line, albeit talented, the Ducks have a lot to prove in 2023 when it comes to the offensive trenches.

What does this say about Oregon coaching jobs in general?

A lot of Oregon fans on social media Monday morning have reacted to this news of Adrian Klemm leaving as you would expect that would.

“Oregon is a stepping-stone program! How do we make it so these coaches don’t leave after a year or two and take better jobs?”

The honest answer is that you don’t.

This is the world of college football right now, and if you’re a good, nationally relevant team that is succeeding on the field and putting players into the NFL, then you are going to have to deal with coaches eventually leaving. Position coaches will jump to become coordinators; coordinators will jump to become head coaches; sometimes head coaches will jump to the NFL. It’s how the system works in college football. Alabama deals with this, as does Georgia, as does Ohio State.

And if you listen to what he says, this is what Dan Lanning wants as well. He has stated multiple times over the past year that he is always encouraging of his coaches going on to take bigger and better jobs. He works hard to foster an environment where coaches can work under him, learn a lot, succeed, and move on. That’s how Kirby Smart was with him at Georgia, and that’s how he’s going to be with his coaches at Oregon.

In the short term, it is sometimes frustrating, and a year where you lose arguably three of your top 5 coaches — Dillingham, Powledge, and Klemm — it can be tough to replace them all at the same level.

In the end, however, this is a good thing for the Ducks. it shows good coaches can come to Oregon, find success, and move up the coaching ladder. That will lead to more smart football minds wanting to join what is being built in Oregon and more success down the road. Imagine the opposite scenario where nobody wanted to hire any of the coaches that are on your staff. That doesn’t sound like a successful program, does it?

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire