Time to review the season, and note that I did not ask if you were satisfied with 8-4 as a regular season record, but if having a 8-4 result for this year was acceptable to you.
There is so much that goes into making such an assessment, which makes it a great “ponder-point” for us to chew on. So many of you have shared opinions in our now famous “comments” below the articles, and now you can pull all your thoughts together and give me and thousands others your final assessment of the first year of the Mario Cristobal era.
Do we include the bowl game in this judgment? I will only say “yes” if it is clear Justin Herbert is going to play in it. Otherwise — do we hold the coaches accountable for the play of inexperienced quarterbacks? When could we have played them considering the games Oregon was engaged in?
I do acknowledge that a bowl loss like last year can sour your opinion of the current season, so we must look at just the regular season and weigh all the possibilities, strengths and weaknesses of this year’s team and the performance we witnessed on the field.
Stick your neck out, FishDuck!
My criticisms of the coaching are well-known, and I feel that we should have gone 10-2 during the regular season. The Stanford loss I pin on the players, as the fumbles by Cyrus Habibi-Likio and CJ Verdell, along with the botched center snap by Jake Hanson altered that game dramatically. Take those away and the coaches look brilliant against the Cardinal. I put the other three losses squarely on the coaches, as losing on the road the way Oregon did this season resulted from poor preparation, and was inexcusable.
This was a dream schedule in hindsight, with a bunch of impact seniors who could have vaulted Oregon much higher than we currently reside. Even with the injuries and youth, Coaches Mike Bellotti or Chip Kelly would have won ten or more games with this team and this schedule.
Going to Pullman and not being ready? Remember, this was before the Cougars had their swagger; they were beatable by this Duck team. Losing to a five-win Arizona team so miserably? And how is it that when we lose our starting quarterback, the team is in grave danger, but when Utah loses theirs, a freshman has a career game against the Ducks?
Both Mario Cristobal and Jim Leavitt have been head coaches and have tutored under some notable winners … yet it took the entire season to get a full game of winning performance on the road?
The final two games gave me quite a bit of hope for the future in that the coaches have shown they can be more flexible on offense, and that they will apply their hard lessons learned. I was very concerned going into the Civil War game, yet this time the coaching staff had the team wonderfully prepared and they adjusted well to the body-blow of losing our star quarterback.
I view the “coulda-shouldas” from the standpoint of comparing this team to its potential and taking into account their opponents — how strong they turned out to be by season’s end. I am incredibly grateful for the win over Washington, the culture established and the recruiting achieved thus far. I am grateful for eight wins, but not satisfied.
The regular season is over, and it’s time to look at results; are you satisfied with the 8-4 record?
Charles Fischer (FishDuck)
Top Photo by Kevin Cline
Andrew Mueller, the FishDuck.com Volunteer Editor for this article, works in digital marketing in Chicago, Illinois.
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