The Ducks Need to Get Shrewd if They Want to be Alabama West

Darren Perkins Editorials

As Charles Fischer pointed out in yesterday’s article, the Oregon offense did take steps forward in the first half against ASU. This was encouraging to see and showed that the coaching staff was willing to open up the playbook to things that have WORKED at Oregon, and weren’t absolutely hell-bent on the conservative power-game that wasn’t working.

Having said that, the current state of things reeks far too much of “on-the-job-training.” Maybe that’s enough in a place like Corvallis, but it shouldn’t be in Eugene. This is Oregon, a place that should be contending for Pac-12 and National Championships.

Right now, the thinking should be along the lines of “looks like we’re on the right track to be contending again, and soon.”

Not, “Jeez it looks like these clowns might actually be pulling their heads out of their a–.”

Mario Cristobal wants to be Alabama West. That’s a tricky proposition. But it can’t be about copying the Alabama on the field blueprint. He’s not Nick Saban, and Eugene isn’t Tuscaloosa.  If it’s going to be done, it needs to be done by copying the Alabama “shrewd.”


CJ Verdell on the rumble against the Devils.

Nick Saban wouldn’t be holding onto Marcus Arroyo, he never would have hired him in the first place. Arroyo’s resume and track record are far from impressive. Saban has brought in the likes of Steve Sarkisian and Lane Kiffin, not because they’re terrific well-rounded people who are gonna be loyal to the program. He brings them in because they can help him win … NOW.

That doesn’t mean Cristobal has to adopt the somber unlikability of Saban (or a Bill Belichick for that matter), he can still be himself. Hell, a guy like Pete Carroll has the shrewd gene as well. (As a Seahawks fan, I’ve learned to appreciate it). But, there’s the old cliché that “nice guys finish last.” And while I’m sure Nick Saban is a swell guy at home, I’ve never read or heard anything about him being a “nice guy” in his professional life.

Right here and right now, there are only two acceptable scenarios that can play out:

1) Oregon has an offensive explosion in their final two games in a way that makes us think that the good times are here again.


2) Cristobal has to pull the trigger and bring in a proven OC to get things going this off-season.

The idea of stumbling down the stretch with still more questions than answers while holding onto Arroyo and hoping for things to change for the better is just wishful thinking.

Nick Saban doesn’t think wishfully, he acts decisively.

Who the Hell Are We?

There’s almost a weird air about the current program that we had 20 years ago. The Oregon program was an up and comer with a “maybe we can compete at the highest level” mentality beginning to sink in. It was a fun time in the history of Oregon football. But, that was so 20 years ago. It was great in 1998. But in 2018 it’s just so tortured, confused, and conflicted.

Oregon has competed at the highest level, the Ducks have been there and done that. Let’s not get all giddy that we might be good sometime soon, let’s get upset that we’re mind-numbingly mediocre right now, and that we need to do something about it A-S-A-P.

All the Nike money, all the facilities, all the cool unis, all the glitz and glamour. It’s not all in place to be the little engine that could — it’s there to be the bullet train from hell.

Maybe the Ducks should put “Alabama West” to rest.

Let’s not settle for maybe this is starting to turn around, and maybe the offense will find itself in a year or two (with only the best QB in America). Perhaps on the 3rd Saturday of the 2020 season this Oregon thing will really start to take off.

Wow, that would be just dandy.

No, how about we figure this out now against Oregon State (though what will killing the Beavs really prove?), and then kick some butt in a bowl game?

And if the Ducks don’t get it figured out by Christmas? Then let’s really be Alabama West … and … wait for it … Roll Some Heads!

After all, the option of hoping everything just works itself out isn’t really an option.

The Folly of Trying to be Alabama: Les Miles and LSU

While watching football on Saturday, news was breaking that ex-LSU and 2007 national championship coach Les Miles was going to take over at Kansas.

Yup … Kansas.

Dust in the Wind, anybody?

This got me thinking (which is always a dangerous proposition), here’s a guy who is a very good football coach and who competed at the highest level of college of football in the SEC and won a national title.

But, after Nick Saban came to Tuscaloosa and began dominating college football, Les Miles tried to turn LSU into Alabama, which became his ultimate demise.

Run a conservative, ball-control power running game and play stout defense. His Tiger teams did play great defense, but his offense couldn’t score. Yet, Miles was stubborn and wouldn’t open up his offense. He was determined to out Alabama, Alabama.

Les Miles tried to create Alabama at LSU and was fired.

Pressure mounted for him to open up his offense, he wouldn’t do it. He even got fired, then miraculously got his job back with the understanding that he would open things up, and he still wouldn’t do it.

Nick Saban is the difference at Alabama, so if unless you’re Nick Saban, don’t try to be like Alabama football.

Back in my youth in the 90’s, I was a self-taught hack of a drummer. Guys my age were still heavily influenced by Led Zeppelin, and a lot of other drummers I talked to would say how they wanted to play like John Bonham.

I thought that was cool, so I’d go see these guys play in their bands, and in their attempt to sound like John Bonham, they ended up sounding like the homeless guy on the street corner, beating on a tattered old Home Depot bucket for loose change with a couple of popsicle sticks.

They stank.

You see, John Bonham was a great drummer because he was John Bonham, and Nick Saban is a great football coach because he’s Nick Saban.

With all the talk of making Oregon Alabama West, the case study of Les Miles and LSU should prove fair warning of what can happen when a program tries to be Alabama.

Les Miles won a national championship at LSU, and yet was ultimately fired for not turning LSU into Alabama. And here’s a guy who won a national championship.

Don’t do it, Mario. Perhaps we would all be better off forgetting about this whole Alabama West thing, and put our collective powers towards just being the best Oregon West we can be.

Darren Perkins
Spokane, WA                                                                                                     Top Photo by Eugene Johnson

Andrew Mueller, the Volunteer Editor for this article, works in digital marketing in Chicago, Illinois.


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