Can Oregon Fix Its Coaching Problem in 2021?

Joshua Whitted Editorials

Something simply doesn’t add up.

There’s a pretty simple formula to winning in college football, and it starts with getting better players than everybody else. There are other factors needed to build a consistently good program, but bringing in top-tier talent is believed to be the most important. Oregon has done that better than just about any other Pac-12 program over the past four seasons, accumulating blue-chip prospects like never before. And yet, here sit the Ducks, barely finishing above .500, licking their wounds after yet another lackluster showing, this time in a New Year’s Six bowl, no less.

There’s obviously another element of building a winning team, coaching, and that’s what has held Oregon back from putting a stranglehold on a floundering Pac-12. The Ducks’ coaching staff has simply struggled to develop much of the elite talent it has recruited. How do Mario Cristobal and company change that in 2021? Maybe the better question is, can they change that in 2021?

Oregon needs to take advantage of its elite recruiting classes.

Many suggest that Cristobal needs to ease his influence on the offense, and while that’s a valid point, it won’t completely solve Oregon’s developmental issues. Cristobal’s preferred style of straight-ahead running isn’t ideal, but that had nothing to do with quarterback Tyler Shough regressing so drastically to end the season. His physical philosophy needs to be re-evaluated, but it isn’t to blame for the consistently uninspiring performance of a receiving core that has loads of former blue-chip talent. And Oregon’s inability to develop a pass rush aside from Kayvon Thibodeaux (not even from former elite recruit Mase Funa) won’t be fixed with an offensive schematic overhaul.

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Opening up the offense is necessary, but it’s only part of the solution. This offseason, Cristobal and his staff need to come together and alter their player development strategy, because so far, they’re in the process of wasting away some of the best talent in the country. Do you as fans have confidence that this staff is capable of making the necessary improvements to better develop players, or do you have reservations about the long-term viability of this staff based on what you’ve seen so far?

Joshua Whitted 
Morgantown, West Virginia
Top Photo by Sean Meagher of the Oregonian

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