As the condensed College Football season winds down for the nation and the Ducks, the new hires and transfer reports are starting to boil. There is now a healthy mix of both well-founded and straw-grasping rumors fluttering around the college football ether for programs seeking new coaching talents and prospects from across the nation, and those more desperate than others often seem to seek more and more outlandish solutions to their respective team’s struggles. Now, this of course shouldn’t include the Ducks after a Pac-12 Championship win and decent 2020 showing considering the circumstances, right?
Unfortunately, the football world loves its drama.
Joe Moorhead has come up more and more in the past week, a prime potential suitor for programs that can’t motivate their offensive attacks to be able to win consistently. These rumor suggest him retaining his position of offensive coordinator in some cases and moving up to the head coach spot in others. After just the first year of Moorhead’s reign with Our Beloved Ducks, is it already time to expect another changing of the guard?
The short answer: NO WAY.
Moorhead just arrived in Eugene and his fostering of a new vision on the offensive side of the ball for our Ducks is just scraping the surface of potential. Tyler Shough hasn’t executed this offense as well as we may have wanted at this point as fans, but that’s to be expected in a year such as this. Dropping two games should not be enough at any level of football to be prepared to move on from a new experiment. Even without COVID, I can’t imagine that Oregon is really prepared already to let a new coordinator go after only half of a season, and Moorhead couldn’t possibly ask for a better opportunity in a program that’s on the rise, unless it was for another head coaching opportunity.
On top of that, the Ducks’ recruiting is only getting better, and he’s got to be excited about the future playmakers on this team. In comparison, a move would result with Moorhead on a program like Kentucky, a middling team sitting at 4-6 just looking for a new coordinator, not even a head coaching spot, and a par-to-subpar recruiting class. The Ducks are on the verge of being a dynastic program, and Kentucky is not the answer for Moorhead’s (assumed) aspirations of a head coaching job in the future, or at least one he would want to keep long term.
Some fans would assert that Moorhead contending for an OC job at Kentucky is not a lateral move, but an escape?
The connection of Moorhead to other programs could also be in light of head coach Mario Cristobal’s new extension. This leaves very little room for Moorhead to be able to move up within the program, but after being fired from his previous stint with Mississippi State, the Ducks have the perfect amount of national presence in recruiting and flashy athleticism at the skill position for Moorhead to be able to regain that coaching confidence and potentially get a head coaching spot down the road.
Considering the extension reinforces the fact that Cristobal is here to stay, do these rumors potentially point to the idea that Moorhead was expecting to take over when Cristobal was theoretically fired? Perhaps the same way that Cristobal took over for Willie Taggart when he moved on to Florida State?
I doubt it. Anyone I feel (as a biased Duck myself) would love to take over our Ducks program moving into the foreseeable future. But after being fired and getting such a great opportunity to let the vision of his offense flourish, I doubt Moorhead would take a job anywhere else at this point in time. That is, unless Cristobal doesn’t let that vision flourish.
Should Cristobal be restrictive of Moorhead’s running of the offense down the line, do you think that would force Moorhead out? If the new rumors about Moorhead are false, could Cristobal’s handling of the team potentially be a deterrent for offensive minded coaches in the future given how Justin Herbert has flourished in the NFL more than he (arguably) ever did at Oregon?
Top Photo by UO Athletics Twitter
Alex Heining is a third-year student at the University of Oregon. He’s working towards a bachelor of arts degree as an English major and media studies minor in journalism. Growing up in the Los Angeles area of southern California, Alex ended up a Duck through family ties, a quality football program, and the beautiful green of Lane County. Currently finishing his first science fiction novel, he wants to end up in the sports world of journalism on the west coast. Particularly, covering high school football, recruiting commits, and all things Ducks.
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