If It’s Good Enough for Saban, It’s Good Enough for Cristobal

Darren Perkins Editorials

And I’m talking about offense.

Yes, Charles Fischer isn’t the only one at FishDuck.com who has problems with Mario Cristobal’s handling of the Oregon offense. I wrote a few articles during the 2019 season, hammering Cristobal for the lack of explosiveness and his underutilization of Justin Herbert.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love everything Cristobal has done at Oregon except for his play tough but not smart offensive philosophy. As Mr. FishDuck has pointed out, the teams winning championships are averaging scoring in the mid-40’s per game, while Mario has the Ducks stuck in the mid-30’s.

I bring this up today because yesterday, The Athletic ran a story on the evolution of the Nick Saban offense. A decade ago, Saban railed against the spread and hurry-up, but he finally succumbed to an “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” mentality.

Anthony Brown’s dual-threat ability could help the Oregon offense to be more explosive.

And what do you know? Some of the highlights from that article include a name familiar to Oregon fans:

“… we researched the Eagles with Chip Kelly; there were a lot of concepts that they ran at Oregon that we installed…”

“One of the fastball plays Alabama acquired from Kelly was installed right before the 2016 national title game against Clemson. Alabama even called it the same thing Kelly did– Geronimo — and it hit for a Derrick Henry 50-yard touchdown run on the game’s first score.”

“We did take the boards, which Washington had copied from Oregon … that system that used the boards, which were the formations, so you didn’t have to signal them in. Then, we just signaled the plays, so that shortened down the signaling.”

“And because of what Ole Miss had done and beaten us several times running the spreads, running the RPOs, running the screens and things that are difficult to defend, and we weren’t utilizing some of those things, which I thought put us at a disadvantage.”

Yup, Saban was referring to the Kelly offense Ole Miss installed once they picked up former Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli for the 2010 season (Masoli is still playing in the CFL, by the way).

It is no secret that Clemson has borrowed heavily from Kelly, as well. But this isn’t a call for Oregon to run the Kelly offense, it is a call to open things up as the rest of college football’s winners have done. Please, Mario, let Joe Moorehead have full control of the offense so he can light up the damn scoreboard.

After all, if Nick can evolve, so can Mario.

Darren Perkins
Spokane, WA
Top photo credit: Eugene Johnson

Andrew Mueller, the FishDuck.com Volunteer Editor for this article, works in higher education in Chicago, Illinois.


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