Mario Cristobal will be Oregon’s head coach in 2022. The only way this doesn’t happen is if he opts to leave for another program, which is highly unlikely. Fans are conflicted in how they feel about Cristobal because he is an amazing off-season coach, routinely “winning” the off-season in terms of recruiting and hiring. With each of these off-season wins comes the promise of an elite-level season.
Come the season, however, we see the same problems year-after-year. Oregon plays down to their opponents’ level, winning close games that should not be close and losing at least one game they have no business losing. Cristobal is slow to make changes and learns every lesson the hard way. While the off-season is exciting, the “in-season” can be quite agonizing for us fans.
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As fans we don’t know what is going on behind the scenes or how individual players are progressing. We just have the star-ratings, and we can see what else is going on around the country. We saw Oklahoma bench their star quarterback Spencer Rattler for Caleb Williams and go on to win their game against Texas after being down at the half. So why isn’t our five-star quarterback, Ty Thompson, ready to lead this offense?
Well, he might not actually be ready, but that is difficult for fans to understand given those dang star-ratings. And Thompson and Jay Butterfield both looked pretty good, if not better than, Anthony Brown did against Stony Brook in week three.
Cristobal still has a young team, though at this point the majority of the team was recruited by him and his staff, and the youth should be giving way to hardened veterans with each passing game. Highly ranked athletes and veterans are supposed to play better and more consistently. It is consistency that is the biggest problem with this Oregon team on both sides of the ball.
We have seen this offense score with ease one series and in subsequent series shoot themselves in the foot with penalties or turnovers. The defense is much the same way. In the past two games we have seen our defense shut down the opposing offense for long periods of time before collapsing and giving up easy yards and easy points. This inconsistency on both sides of the ball allows lesser teams to hang with the Ducks well into the fourth quarter.
Ironically, it is Cristobal’s off-season wins that help fuel fans’ in-season frustration. This is a team that should be so much better than it is. Instead this is an Oregon team that continues to play down to its less talented opponents.
Even with a less than satisfactory product on the field, Cristobal is still winning. Oregon is currently 5-1 on the season, ranked in the top 10, and vying for a third consecutive PAC-12 championship. But to the fans, the glass seems half empty.
Come this off-season Cristobal will sneak back into our good graces by signing big-name recruits and promising new coaches. But such off-season wins leave us wondering….
When will we see the team we were promised?
Top Photo By Craig Strobeck
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David Marsh is a high school social studies teacher in Portland, Oregon. As a teacher he is known for telling puns to his students who sometimes laugh out of sympathy, and being both eccentric about history and the Ducks.
David graduated from the University of Oregon in 2012 with Majors in: Medieval Studies, Religious Studies, and Geography. David began following Ducks Football after being in a car accident in 2012; finding football something new and exciting to learn about during this difficult time in his life. Now, he cannot see life without Oregon football.
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