This is it; this is the year for Oregon football. We all know it, as how often do you have a first round draft pick like Justin Herbert return for a senior year? Or a Troy Dye on defense returning for his senior year? Or having 17 of 22 starters return with such depth on the defensive line? We all know that the offensive line is the best in the history of Oregon football, and one of the best in the nation for 2019. In short, the pressure is on Oregon to not blow this opportunity.
Although we have a new defensive coordinator in Andy Avalos, I am not worried. He has already implemented his style of defense for three years at Boise State and is simply plugging in Oregon talent. My worries are entirely on the offensive side of the ball, and I am wondering out loud if Coach Mario Cristobal shouldn’t have ripped the offensive coaching band-aid off last January?
This is something I been pondering for six months, and I’ve received feedback from some very astute Oregon fans among the writers on this site. I see both sides of the issue and wonder where the majority of you come down on this subject …
The FishDuck Management Philosophy
Something I’ve learned over the years of watching football players, football coaches, and even writers and editors on this site (more than 400 over eight years on FishDuck.com), is that the way you manage different levels of talent will impact your endeavor for a very long time. You have to do it correctly right up front, and I learned that the hard way over the years with great pain. My philosophy on this has come down to …
“Greatness and Weakness Emerge Early”
We have seen the Chip Kellys, Herberts and Dyes who show us immediately that they are great when thrown into battle. That is also true for writers and editors on this site; I knew from his introductory email to me that Joshua Whitted was going to be special. In the old days — when someone on the site showed weakness up front … we would put tons of hours into that person to “lift them up” and yet in the end, we had to let them go anyway.
You can’t send chickens to Eagle school; it doesn’t work. When you realize you have a chicken, you cut it short immediately and save yourself all the hours of wasted teaching time and go look for more Eagles instead.
I had someone apply for being an editor on this site recently and this person flunked the first two tasks assigned, and they were easy. We call these clues … I obviously cut it short and although I am still in need of an editor — I am not going to waste time on someone I will ultimately have to let go anyway. The question from some becomes … “can’t those who show weakness early eventually become great?”
If you put the time and commitment into this project — that person will either remain weak at what they do, or merely rise to below-average, or average or above average.
Is that what you want for your endeavor? Or do you want someone great?
Coach Cristobal has shown us early on that he is a tremendous leader, a man of integrity and a fantastic recruiter. With his coaching hires this last year, he demonstrated that he can find and attract great coaches as well. But while Cristobal showed us greatness in those areas early on … the coaching on offense has shown immediate weakness.
I am not going into all that has been discussed already about the reasons or not, but instead focus on whether my management philosophy should have been applied to the Oregon offensive coaching staff (As I’ve endured the years of Andy Ludwig in the past…).
I would have fired the entire offensive staff, and ripped off the coaching band-aid after the bowl game and started over. Weakness is not going to be solved by more time invested or work as I’ve learned; it has to start with great talent and then be supplemented by hard work.
I understand the ramifications of those actions, as it would have destroyed a good bit of last year’s recruiting class. Yet, we would be solving the offensive problems sooner, and if anyone can find a great set of offensive coaches and attract them to Oregon, it’s Cristobal.
FishDuck … you have been drinking too much Pond Water!
There are a couple of Greybeards in this community that have given me wise counsel over the years such as Brent Pennington, Mike Merrell and our own Platypus in the comments. All have felt that my approach would have hurt the team badly. They point out that Cristobal had to replace the defensive coordinator, the linebackers coach and the receivers coach already. The remaining amount of turnover would have too much for the fan base as well as the team.
They explained that Cristobal might be giving the offensive staff (minus the new receivers coach) a last chance to improve upon last year’s results while spacing out any coaching changes. “A gradual approach is best, Charles,” Mike Merrell advised. I admit that such a strategy has merit and wisdom.
What do YOU want for THIS YEAR?
Yet I come back to the opportunity in front of the Ducks this year; the Pac-12 is there for the taking and a loaded Oregon team has a shot at a playoff spot. When are we going to be this loaded with talent and be this experienced?
Not for number of years.
Shouldn’t you worry about the future … in the future, and make the most of your opportunity in front of you? What if you had a great offensive coordinator, like this one, (who was at Oregon at one time and has had great results in the Missouri Spread Offense, the Air-Raid and Oregon’s Spread) and the Ducks put it all together and got into the playoffs? Imagine the impact on the recruiting, the fan base support and funding for the entire program? We are not going to have a shot like this for years, and a very valid point is putting the best you can muster into a rare opening before you.
This is not easy management stuff, as the there are huge upsides and downsides in both directions. One of the biggest downsides will be listening to FishDuck drone on after the season if the offense does not achieve it’s potential. Yet if this staff succeeds … the Big Fish will have a Duck Egg on his face. (I can live with that as I want this offensive staff to be great, but I don’t think they will be.)
What is your philosophy on this?
“Oh how we love to ponder about our Beloved Ducks!”
Charles Fischer (FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon Top Photo From Video
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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