“Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers …”
Garth Brooks recently played at a packed Autzen Stadium, and while I’m no country music fan (rock n’ roll is my game), I respect what the man has accomplished in the world of entertainment and can recognize most of his hit songs. The song “Unanswered Prayers” — a song about the benefits of our misguided prayers never being answered — can be easily applied to the Oregon football program.
I mean, thank God that our prayers went unanswered with Slick Willie Taggart. Boy, were we miffed when he stabbed us in the back and headed to Seminole country. At the time, in the winter of 2017, most of us wanted Willie to stay — and in a bad way.
But it didn’t take long for us to realize that Slick Willie bolting was a tremendous gift now that we have the leadership, recruiting chops and transparency of Mario Cristobal.
In fact, I’ve even taken it upon myself to re-write the third verse of Garth’s song in honor of Slick Will. Feel free to sing along (lyrics below video):
The Slick Willie Third Verse:
He wasn’t quite the person, that we remembered in the spring (2017)
We could tell he was a manipulator, so Slick now he would seem
We don’t think about the old days, erased his memory, don’t recall
Now he’s losing for the Seminoles, after all …
Three Recent Unanswered Prayers: Outcomes Still Pending
1) Oregon’s Offense: Last season, many Oregon fans prayed weekly that the offense would open things up and gain more yards and score lots of points. It didn’t happen. Perhaps in the long run that was a good thing. Hopefully last year’s impotence has led the coaching staff to realize the errors of their ways this offseason, and that it will result in a rejuvenated offensive revolution in 2019.
2) Jay Butterfield: For the second straight year, we prayed that Oregon would land, the top recruit in the land in DJ Uiaglelei. Once he chose Clemson, the Ducks lowly consolation prize (joking) was Butterfield.
Butterfield is the second-ranked pro-style quarterback in the 2020 class. He’s a four-star (6’6”, 206 pounds) QB from Liberty High School near Brentwood, California.
247-Sports has him ranked as the 13th-best prospect in the state of California, 78th nationally, and second pro-style QB behind Uiaglelei. I have a hunch after researching Butterfield that we may well have gotten the better quarterback.
3) Andy Avalos: The initial thought when the news broke that Jim Leavitt and Oregon had parted ways was, “Please God, say it ain’t so!” (I may well have said this while down on my knees, arms extended towards the heavens, with a tear rolling down my left cheek … but who knows?)
But the young up and comer, Avalos, seems to have allayed concerns with his aggressive approach and energetic ways, and could be a coaching star in the making.
Three Historically Great Unanswered Prayers
1) The Duck Dome: The dome would have doomed Oregon football for sure, but man was it an awesome idea back in the 80s, ranking right up there with teased up bangs, Aqua-net pink and mullets.
2) The Firing of Rich Brooks (circa 1982): Many were calling for Brooks’ head after back-to-back 2-9 seasons (like my dad). Fortunately for Brooks, the Ducks beat the Beavers both years, otherwise he may well have been released.
History proves we unfairly demonized Brooks. As if anyone else would have done any better. Had he been fired, it probably would have kicked off a series short-term coaches who couldn’t cut it. But Brooks stayed and the rest is history. Amazingly, he duplicated this same scenario at Kentucky. Go Rich!
3) The Firing of Mike Bellotti (2009): “But Bellotti wasn’t fired, he retired and was promoted.”
Yeah right, and I’ve got a Duck Dome I’d like to sell ya’. How could the Ducks push aside the winningest coach in program history? The coach who had taken the torch from Brooks and lead the Ducks to unprecedented heights? Well, thank God the “Chips” fell where they did, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Ah yes Duck fans, rejoice, as some of our greatest Oregon football gifts have indeed been unanswered prayers.
Spokane, Washington Top Photo From Twitter
Chris Brouilette, the FishDuck.com Volunteer editor for this article, is a current student at the University of Oregon from Sterling, Illinois.
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