Style vs. Results: Do You Care How Mario Cristobal Wins?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials

It isn’t just the wins that cause the ongoing debate among Oregon fans concerning Head Coach Mario Cristobal. For some, it is how the wins are achieved.

Does how he achieves the wins, the style, matter to you? The flippant answer that everyone gives is “no,” but really contemplate this one, as it has far-reaching consequences in how you decide this ponder-point. We also have to consider the different yardsticks of measurement, as it does vary from person to person. I would love to have thoughtful feedback on this one…

Offensive Components:

Does it matter to you whether Oregon is primarily a running team or passing team? LSU blew things up with a lethal passing game in 2019, while most teams achieve it primarily on the ground. Your preference?

Does the offense matter to you? Do you want to see the Shotgun Spread, the classic Pro-Set or Pistol? This is entertainment, so what do you like to see?

What about point production? Do you like low-scoring defensive victories, or prefer the Chip Kelly days of winning 52-31?

There are many other elements that are required for coaching success, such as the defense, recruiting of coaches and players, an emphasis on being good citizens and graduating. We can cover those in other future articles.

But now, I want to know this: what do you want to see Mario Cristobal/Joe Moorhead do on offense?

CJ Verdell has run for touchdowns out of the Pistol too.

What Mr. FishDuck Wants on Offense at Oregon:

While I wish to know your preferences, I do want to state my bias about the offense for the record.

I do not wish to return to the days of the original Oregon Shotgun Spread Offense under Chip Kelly and Mark Helfrich! Nor do I wish to return to the Gulf Coast Offense under Willie Taggart, as I am open to any offense that can score the points needed to win a National Championship. In three years of Cristobal, the Ducks have averaged 33.84 points per game, while the Playoff-3 have averaged 45 points per game; even Nick Saban has admitted (twice in the last year) that defense no longer wins championships.

Want to bring a sophisticated passing attack to Eugene? Fine, so long as we can score enough to win. Run the Pistol? Sure, if it can score 45 points a game as the Playoff-3 of Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State have done over the last three years.

The point is–over three years, the scoring average has dropped to where the worst that Kelly/Helfrich achieved in any year, (35.40 in 2016) was still higher than Cristobal’s average of 33.84. Even Willie Taggart with an injured Justin Herbert outscored Cristobal (36 points per game) in his one year.

Offensive Coordinator Joe Moorhead has quite a playbook…

Is Joe Moorhead the Answer?

Most people think so, and I am very hopeful. Yet if Coach Joe Moorhead is successful–it will primarily be with the Shotgun Offense that he ran at Penn State and same offense that Oregon set the NCAA record of being the first team to average 45 points a game for five straight years under Kelly/Helfrich. And yes, Moorhead runs RPOs as did Chip Kelly, (who introduced them to the NFL) Marcus Arroyo and every OC these days, since that is how college offenses have evolved.

If Moorhead is successful, it will be an Oregon Back-to-the-Future move, and while it means three years was wasted on offense–I would be grateful to be scoring high numbers again. Or not. Just find a way to get it done and win. Is that clear to all? I do not clamor for one offense or another, just an adaptation to what it takes to win today in college football.

I Want Cristobal for the Long Term:

I have written how I want Cristobal here over the long-term and how I admire so much of what he does and stands for. I have been accused of being “anti-Cristobal” or a “Cristobal-Hater” in many places, and I state again how I want him to be here for many years. However, I would like to see him improve in three categories:

His trendline is up, and with more growth as a coach–he could make the Ducks elite.

  • Score enough points to win with any offense or combination of offenses he and Coach Moorhead selects.
  • Improve in game and time management; play selection at key moments wins championships.
  • Get your players ready to play every game, and beat every team you should.

By now, you are realizing that this article summarizes much of what I’ve written in many separate articles. Now, it is in one handy place for future linking. But where are you in this offensive discussion? Share with me your preferences because…

“Oh, how we love to ponder about Our Beloved Ducks!”

Charles Fischer  (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo by Jeff White

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