We are very lucky to have former Offensive Coordinator Joe Moorhead return to coach the Oregon Offense in the 2021 Alamo Bowl. Considering what I imagine he has been through, it is very gracious on his part. Yet I feel there are other elements behind this decision, and why it feeds into my theory of why the freshmen quarterbacks will never the field on December 29th. This is a short article meant to create some discussion about whether you see it as I do concerning Joe Moorhead and Mario Cristobal.
Rob Mullens and the Fans Were Snookered by Cristobal
I wrote in the past how I thought Cristobal misrepresented what he was going to do on offense to the fans and to Athletic Director Rob Mullens, as I cannot imagine Mullens going along with what actually transpired. Prior to Cristobal … Oregon was the first football team in NCAA history to have averaged 45 points a game for five years in a row! The nine year average between Chip Kelly and Mark Helfrich was 43 points per game, and even the worst year of Helfrich in 2016 was still better than any year of Cristobal.
In his introductory press conference, Coach Cristobal stated right here, that he plans…“A tremendous investment in the offensive and defensive lines….a tremendous investment in being an explosive football team, creating explosion plays, being exciting, making sure that our fans love to come out and support it, because it’s a brand of football they love to see and support.”
Is that what any of us saw? Instead we witnessed a big drop in the Oregon offense to an average of 33 points per game over the four years under Cristobal, and I sincerely doubt that Mario accurately represented to us fans or to Rob Mullens his true offensive philosophy when he was hired.
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Moorhead was Also Snookered by Cristobal
I believe the same snookering sales job was done in the recruiting of Joe Moorhead to Oregon by Coach Cristobal. Lots of promises and impressive prose backed up by Mario’s unshakeable confidence that was so infectious and so easy to be attracted to. The man made us all believe…
“Come to Oregon, Joe; certainly you can certainly improve on the paltry scoring average of 35.10 points per game under Marcus Arroyo!“ The irony dumped on us fans is how we demonized Arroyo as the scapegoat, while suspecting that Cristobal was behind it.
Then Moorhead’s offense dropped to 31.35 points per game over his two year period as offensive coordinator! Things got worse under Joe, and again … what was the common denominator with both coordinators?
I believe that Moorhead feels his national reputation was soiled by his time at Oregon, as you would have to raise serious questions if you’re an Athletic Director or head coach who is considering hiring him to a major program as an OC or head coach. This would also be an element in explaining his exile at the University of Akron.
Now We See the Real Moorhead Offense?
Coach Moorhead now has a chance to implement his offense unshackled in the bowl game, and demonstrate the true scoring capacity without the presence of Cristobal looming over him. It is possible that Oregon will give Oklahoma a battle that requires a team to survive a shoot-out. This one could be quite fun to watch…
And Joe cannot possible execute such a game-plan with a no-experience freshman at quarterback. He is not interested in repeating what happened in the Apple Cup, where a no-experience freshman QB throws the game away with five interceptions. I just don’t see Coach Moorhead buying into that notion.
Play freshmen quarterbacks to build for the future? Not Joe’s problem, and frankly, he might feel that Oregon owes him some slack due to the damage on his national reputation from his time here. However flawed, he will view Anthony Brown as his best chance to cut loose on offense, and I cannot help but wonder if that freedom on offense might not trickle down to the quarterback give him the confidence to go-for-it?
I’ve thrown a ton at you to process, and the good news is how we have 11 days to consider all this because…
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Charles Fischer (Mr. FishDuck)
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Charles Fischer has been an intense fan of the Ducks, a season ticket holder at Autzen Stadium for 35 years and has written reports on football boards for over 23 years. Known as “FishDuck” on those boards, he is acknowledged for providing intense detail in his scrimmage reports and in his Xs and Os play analyses. He and his wife Lois, have a daughter Christine, reside in Eugene Oregon, where he was a Financial Advisor for 36 years and now focuses full-time on Charitable Planned Giving Workshops for churches and non-profit organizations.
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