The Winning Mindset

Don Gilman FishWrap, FishWrap Archive

Attitude is everything.  And, while it was only two Ducks who expressed disappointment not being able to play in the National Championship, one has to wonder if that attitude has affected the rest of the team.

To many fans it was disheartening to hear Josh Huff and DeAnthony Thomas expressing their lackluster enthusiasm about a return to a Rose Bowl.  Both those players are in a leadership position with the Ducks, and with some healthy hindsight, perhaps it would have been better had they not said anything.  They should have known better.  Of course, the other players had to have heard the statements, and whether they agreed or not with their teammates, little good was going to come of expressing themselves in that manner.

Whether it was Karma, a reflection of an entitled attitude or some combination thereof, the Ducks watched all hopes of a return to either the Rose Bowl or any BCS game go down the drain.  Life is funny like that.  Often it seems that painful lessons come when they are most needed.  Oregon has yet to win a National Championship in football, yet the players and fans can act exceedingly arrogant at times, and yes, entitled.

Arizona has never been to the Rose Bowl before.  To many players on that team, it is as good as winning a National Championship.  It must have been a strong point of contention and motivation to hear the Ducks acting as if it was beneath them.  It’s guaranteed that Rich Rod and company made sure their players heard the quotes from Thomas and Huff plenty this week.  It was painfully obvious who the hungrier team was.

Heck, even the programs that have won the National Championship and the Rose Bowl — i.e. USC — would not turn their noses up at a return to Pasadena.  They would be thrilled, and they would treat it rightfully as the honor that it is.  Oregon’s leadership should have done the same.

Oregon does not look hungry right now.  They look like a team that believes the National Championship should be theirs simply because of past successes.

Jerry Glanville, former professional head coach, once said that the physical difference between the worst teams and the best in the NFL was minor, but that the difference in attitude was huge, and that can easily be applied to college football, as well.  The Ducks have the physical talent to compete with any team in Division I, but right now they don’t have the right mindset.

Until they do get it right, there will be no National Championship, no Pac-12 championship and no Rose Bowl. Nothing is given away in sports, no matter how talented the team.  Oregon is talented, but some of the most important members of the team are not acting like leaders, but like spoiled children who, when things don’t go their way, threaten to take their ball and go home.

The Rose Bowl may suddenly seem like a much nicer option now.

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