Jordan Ingram reporting for FishDuck.com from the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex Sunday night about the Coach Mark Helfrich press conference.
After celebrating a lopsided victory over Oregon State in Corvallis, the Ducks turn to face Arizona in the Pac-12 Championship game. Following Oregon’s back-to-back regular season losses to the Wildcats, the rematch between these two teams now holds much heavier implications, most notably, a seed in the inaugural College Football Playoff. Before the Oregon Ducks pack their bags for Levi’s Stadium, head coach Mark Helfrich shared with FishDuck.com yesterday how revenge plays into Oregon’s preparation this week for Friday’s game.
“You can’t go out there and win the game on one play because you’re trying to seek revenge. Our guys know that,” Helfrich said.
Helfrich has consistently emphasized throughout his two seasons as Oregon’s head coach that the key to success will rest in his team’s preparation, from game plan development to on-the-field execution.
When asked about recent comments by Byron Marshall about exacting revenge on Arizona, Helfrich acknowledged the reality that his players are going to feel a certain sense of vengeance throughout practices this week. For Helfrich, it seems revenge is a type of fuel and nothing more.
“Anything that you use to fuel your chamber, to stoke your fire to prepare, great. Whatever you can use to channel for your preparation, we’ll take it,” Helfrich said.
But vengeance isn’t a game plan and will never replace the countless hours, months, and even years of practice these players have dedicated to Oregon football. Revenge is just hype, disposable and temporary; revenge is a stranger to long-term success.
The fruits of Helfrich’s philosophy are ripening in every phase of Oregon’s game. As of late, the Ducks are playing championship caliber football and show no indications of a downturn.
The offense, led by Heisman trophy shoe-in Marcus Mariota, has grown into a touchdown-hungry football gorilla with an insatiable appetite for the end zone. And defensive coordinator Don Pellum has dialed up the pressure, suffocating pocket passers, clogging running lanes, and closing down perimeters. Oregon is peaking in every phase of the game, the result of a strong collective and individual work ethic within a proven system.
“Our guys have bought in to our process fully,” Helfrich said.
Football isn’t about exacting revenge, it’s about identifying and realizing dreams. This Friday, all the media hype about revenge will fly out the window as these outstanding young men take the field to capture their legacy.
Top photo by Kevin Cline