The title of this article was taken from the subject of a sentence. Yesterday [2-3], at the Oregon Club Recruiting Luncheon, Mark Helfrich, while eloquently praising and thanking many, uttered the simple 5-word sentence, Don Pellum is a stud.”  The audience responded with their loudest, and warmest, applause of the day.  We got it.

Helfrich is 33-8 as the head coach at Oregon.

John Sperry

Helfrich is 33-8 since taking the reins in 2013.

Well it’s time for me to praise and thank coach Helfrich for all that he has done.  As an old man, now retired from high school coaching, I feel so very fortunate to have a head coach and a football program nearby that I can admire so much. Unfortunately, it took anger to make me write this.  Anger at the stupidly malicious people whose voices I too often hear.  People who claim that Helfrich should be fired because he “let THEM down.”  Oh, I realize I shouldn’t pay attention to them.

I often summon the Serenity Prayer, and the saying, “Don’t let assholes take up space in your brain.”  I stopped going to football and men’s basketball games several years ago because of the stupid negativity of the fans.  Why is it always that the stupidest, rudest people are the loudest?

Yeah, I’m too sensitive.  I have absolutely no understanding of how someone can boo a person or team.  How they can loudly insult people who are trying really hard to do the best they can.  These chumps seem to truly enjoy, be empowered, with finding fault with others — and then expressing that displeasure to as many people as possible.

Okay, I’ll stop.  I’m well aware that I’ll never change assholes’ behavior.  But writing that felt kinda good.  Even an old, semi-active volcano has to let off some steam once in awhile.

What caused me to write this was the proverbial straw.  Not the worst thing I’ve read, but bad enough to provoke me into action.  A couple of “fans” on the Internet [Ah, the joy of anonymous obnoxiousness on the Internet.] criticized Helfrich for letting them down with his far-less-than-perfect recruiting class.  One wanted to fire him — an on-going, ridiculous, theme.

That did it. 

These coaches work arduous hours, almost year-round, trying to bring wonderful kids to the University of Oregon, and it’s not good enough for some people?  Even the Register Guard, on last year’s announcement of the 2015 recruiting class, had as a FRONT PAGE HEADLINE:  “Ducks lose out on JuJu Smith.”  How do you think that makes the coaches and other players feel?

Helfrich and Co. are continuing the tradition of excellence at Oregon.

John Sperry

Helfrich and Co. are continuing the tradition of excellence at Oregon.

Mark Helfrich doesn’t need me to defend him.  The quality of the kids he coaches and the program he administrates definitely should show us how fortunate we are to have him.  Helfrich has taken over a very good football program, from Chip Kelly, and significantly improved it on all levels.

Compare the class displayed by the Oregon players, on and off the field, to the obnoxiousness of way-too-many spectators in the stands. Check the Ducks’ grade averages and graduation rates. They’re very successful because Helfrich and his staff thoroughly vet each of his recruits. Yet many “fans” initially treated Vernon Adams as if he was an alien disease-carrier.  Oregon, under Helfrich, simply won’t give scholarships to young men with “character issues,” no matter how talented they are.

Also Helfrich is always honest with his recruiting.  He let much-needed QB Dakota Prukop visit Alabama “to be sure,” when Prukop was ready to commit to the Ducks.  Helfrich’s philosophy:

 “If I have to bullshit a kid to get him to go to Oregon, he shouldn’t go to Oregon.” 

Helfrich has added 4 assistant coaches:  Matt Lubick, Ron Aiken, David Yost, and Brady Hoke.  All are outstanding as people and teachers.

Compare Helfrich’s upgrading of the Duck offense to what Kelly did with the Eagles.  (That is if you know enough about football to be able to make that comparison)

Yeah, I’ll enthusiastically support a coach with the integrity and wisdom of Mark Helfrich.  I’d rather lose a few games with a man like that than win ’em all with an asshole in charge.

Mark Helfrich is a stud.

Mike Morris

Top Photo by Kevin Cline

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Coach Morris

Coach Morris

Coach Mike Morris spent 30 years coaching at seven different high schools throughout Southern California. He coached many players who went on to Pac-12 programs including Oregon, such as Saladin McCullough. He is a writer, Football analyst and a good friend of the Principal of the site.

  • Cheryl Hudson

    Oh, yes! Just what I’ve been thinking! We are extremely fortunate to have Mark Helfrich and the other coaches that we have, and I’m proud of the way the players work hard to be “Men of Oregon”! I get upset with fans who call for blood, every time there’s a blip that causes a loss. So, what? Every game has a “loser”, as well as a winner. Oregon has done well under Mark Helfrich. Yeah, Coach!

  • LTJRuss

    nice little write up on your confidence in coach helfrich. it’s sometimes too easy to get caught up in all the negative comments we read online. but the internet is a forum where anyone can voice their opinions anonymously whether they are a fan of a particular team or not. that’s why so many comments can seem jaded or cruel. so take them with a grain of salt. this recruiting class is a strong one overall but it’s no secret that oregon lost out on some talent by not closing with some kids. it’s also very obvious that helfrich made the wrong hire promoting pellum to dc. the alamo bowl was a coaching fiasco. and the offensive coaching staffs neglect of their responsibility to prepare a capable back up for fbs play is also apparent. this will be year 4 of jeff lockie’s reign as 2nd string qb(although it may change under yost). these are significant coaching mistakes imo, and i believe that led to the losses of some commits. do i think helf is the right man for the job? …yeah, he’s maintained some good things. but otherwise, i understand y some fans are a little skeptical coming into year 4.

    • DiscusDuck

      I would not put this solely on Lockie. Most of the blame should go to the back up center. On almost every third down it was a bad snap. Remember the TD brought back? Lockie made the throw, unfortunately, the bad snap from center nullified it because Lockie touched his knee trying to get that bad snap. VA also had problems with the bad snaps. Rewatch the game and start counting the bad snaps after the starting center went out. Look at when those took place. I think you’ll find that almost any QB would have had issues trying to run the offense.

      • Boggs

        I re-watched it. VA didn’t have problems with the bad snaps. Some of the snaps to him were low, but he dealt with it and still made plays.

  • Ted

    internet message boards provide cover for many (IMO) cowards. Very very few would say some of the vile things they type on message boards if they actually had to put their name to it. The same holds for our Duck message boards…Unbelievable some of the ridiculous things that are said…all in the name of being a “fan”? Yeah right!

  • fairweatherfowl

    There were so-called “fans” that started calling for Helfrich to be fired on November7, 2013. That was the day of his first loss as a head coach. The team was Stanford. The location was Stanford. The UO quarterback was a future Heisman Trophy winner, playing with a brace on his knee because of the MCL tear he suffered just 12 days earlier. They were ALL Men of Oregon that day, including Helfrich.

    Since then, “fans” have called for his firing with every successive loss.

  • cfluegge

    Nice job, coach. I agree whole heartedly.

  • Webfoot

    Ditto! Great story. Thank you coach Helfrich & ENTIRE Duck coaching staff for integrity.

  • Esquire’78

    Thank you coach Morris for your refreshing perspective.

  • Weston

    ‘Helfrich, simply won’t give scholarships to young men with “character issues,” no matter how talented they are.’ THIS above all else. You simply can’t “pollute the waters” with guys of bad or questionable chatacters. It’s a “weak link” sort of thing, a “one drop of poison” sort of thing. It is not easy to determine, some will slip through the screening process, some will make mistakes here and there, but at least the coaching staff makes an effort, which is more than we can say for a lot of other programs.

  • Duckgal

    Great article! Love it! Go ducks!

  • NeetInternet

    Nice guys finish first. Totally agree. And then I went and looked at life, and realized that old people are generally wrong about the current shape of things, and college football is a cut throat business. But we can all just hug our way to losing seasons, that’s cool too.

  • Howard the Duck

    Well said Coach. Couldn’t agree any more. Carry on.


    Good stuff Mike and what your talking about is true. The point you missed is this is a business and Helfrich failed miserably as holding his assistant’s accountable or even taking the reigns once in a while. No capable QB to come in if your starter goes down. Defense has a pretty good abundance of talented defenders that were lost under Pellum who lets be honest he shouldn’t of been hired from within the Organization. I’m glad he got 2 hires right in Yost and Hoke because he had to. If he doesn’t get this team back too 10 game winning season 2016 might be his last year. I myself like the class he brought in and I’m sure they will most likely be bright spots in the coming years. How unfortunate it might seem to you if Helfrich doesn’t deliver in 2016 he might not be given another chance. I’m quite sure Phil Knight wants a little more for all his great donations. I’m quite sure he wants a Championship even if it is in little OL Eugene. There is a HOT commodity in Todd Herrman at Houston whom I’m quite sure if given the chance to Coach at a TOP Power 5 team like Oregon would jump at the chance. We live in a society of what have you done for me lately and these Coach’s are set for life with the ridiculous money they make now and after they retire so I’m sorry if I don’t totally agree with everything you say. Yes I don’t like people booing either as it’s poor taste. Either way Coach good stuff.

  • Nate Haas

    just a couple points…

    first of all, “nice guy” is a wonderful and yet a stupid label for Mark Helfrich. He has made several hard calls with aplomb- from releasing Colt to demoting Don- Mark has moved with total class and yet the total quiet solidity of a guy who is not a pretender.

    I knew a “nice guy” during one of my 3 tours in Iraq- he was a former Navy SEAL and very patriotic contractor named “Jerry” who was one of the humblest guys I’ve ever met. He didn’t need to posture as an “alpha” guy because he was the real thing to the core. He was more about building up people around him rather than trying to posture because he was just that sure of himself. He died in Baghdad in 2008 and the world is poorer because of it. Yet few, if not none, of the readers of this post would want to meet Jerry in a dark alley.

    I live in Alabama and I can tell you that Phil Knight, for all his wealth, cannot compete with the mania for college football that exists in the south eastern states. The stadiums in this state alone are two times larger than Autzen. The number of fans who flock to the games in the SEC are, across the region, double in number to the sold-out crowds in Oregon. I’m not a huge mathematics guy, but that is 100% more fan interest, energy, and dollar figures.

    I mention that demographic reality only to emphasize the challenge and difficulty of the competition. For Oregon, a state with one of the smallest populations, to compete at or near the national level, is a remarkable accomplishment. California has something like 45 electoral votes, right? Oregon is a midget with 6 or 7. Trust me, I am a coach of a high school soccer team and size does wildly matter when it comes to athletic competition.

    Yes, I am crying for some perspective here. Oregon, thanks to a lineage of great coaches and Chip Kelly and Mark Helfrich, has arrived at a place that is within the national conversation. Ignore the stupid haters for a second… ok? This alone is a remarkable achievement.

    Oregon faces an inevitable and unavoidable uphill battle when it comes to recruiting. Despite its many redeeming attributes, the state is close to the middle of nowhere in terms of football geography. Yet, this team manages to compete very well, nevertheless.

    Hopefully, Brady Hoke and Mark will mold a 2016 team that balances shockingly good offense with equally dominant defense and we will be blessed to watch it all unfold, but shame on you naysayers who have such limited vision to not grasp the big picture of what has been done already.