When you have been managing a couple Oregon football sites for a decade with hundreds of contacts among all the readers, writers, photographers, editors and volunteers that have helped the sites–you pick up some pretty tasty tidbits of information on occasion. A Duck-Buddy of many years called me the other day to tell of his own interview with a current upperclassman Oregon football player, and it was pretty darn illuminating.
Like so many of you, I am working on my taxes and with my gaming action, had to do some research to learn when do you need to declare your gambling income–however this intriguing phone call got me to pondering about this next season. My friend was not thrilled when Dan Lanning was named as Oregon’s new head coach, although he admits to warming up to him as of late, but also challenged this starter on football team to…
“Sell me on Dan Lanning.”
The Team is Energized, “Football is Fun Again!”
This player blew my Greybeard-age friend away with quite a spontaneous presentation. It is not just that Coach Lanning is so much closer to their age than other coaches, but his upbeat infectious energy has energized the team again. The player explained that, “football was not much fun anymore,” under the previous coach, while Lanning’s apparent love of coaching and the game itself has rekindled the passion of the players.
“We love him already, and can’t wait to get on the field….football is FUN again!”
My friend was taken aback at the forcefulness of the player declaring how Coach Lanning has already won over the team and how his energy has revved all of them up.
“He is Genuine”
We heard in a recent interview of how Coach Lanning values building the bonds and connections among the players and between the players and coaches, and it would seem he has one built in a short period as the head coach. Young men already have a refined internal “B.S.” meter, and Coach Lanning has passed that test by coming across as genuine on a consistent basis to the players. The feedback also was how he relates to players, and could be called a “players-coach.”
“The previous coach had two faces, one you saw in press conferences, and another in the player meeting rooms. Coach Lanning is the same no matter the setting–he is real.”
My friends, the trust factor is so important in all dealings of life, but hearing this made me think about the interpersonal skills of the Dan-Man, and also made me wonder what would have happened to the team if the previous coach had not left? No need to go there, as both fans and players can count their blessings!
“He is Brilliant”
The story was told of how a number of players and Lanning met to watch the Super Bowl together. Now keep in mind that no matter what side of the ball you play on–you spend hundreds of hours studying the other side of the ball as a college player over four years. In short, you know a TON more football than 99.90% of the public, thus it takes a lot to impress you concerning football knowledge.
Yet the Oregon players were stunned as Coach Lanning was telling them what the next play was going to be based on the defensive alignment, offensive formation, down, distance, etc. It happened over-and-over as Coach Lanning called out defensive coverages and adjustments taking place…before they happened. This player told my Duck-Buddy friend that, “Lanning is brilliant.”
Whew! Again it takes a lot to impress an upperclassman, and we know that to manage a team you must have more than players liking you, they must respect you, and this Super Bowl exhibition apparently dropped a bunch of jaws…
I could not help but think that if he was doing that watching NFL games…what will he be doing on Oregon’s sideline? Think we might start seeing some in-game adjustments again?
My Duck-Buddy took it a step further….“imagine the film room after a game–the teaching that will take place, and the player development from game-to-game that will occur.” Whew!
The best part about this conversation, is that it was not planned; it was not an interview, but a chance meeting and challenge issued by my friend that was met with some of the most positive things uttered by an Oregon player in quite sometime. The implications of this conversation will take more time to consider because…
“Oh, how we love to ponder about Our Beloved Ducks!”
Charles Fischer (Mr. FishDuck)
Top Photo by Eric Evans of GoDucks.com
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.
He does not profess to be a coach or analyst, but simply a “hack” that enjoys sharing what he has learned and invites others to correct or add to this body of Oregon Football! See More…
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