Lanning Deserves Praise for Oregon’s Offensive Renaissance

Joshua Whitted Editorials

Kenny Dillingham has done wonders with the Oregon offense.

Oregon’s offensive coordinator has completely transformed a unit that was entirely one-dimensional and underwhelming during Mario Cristobal’s time as Oregon’s head coach. The Ducks are now equally capable of attacking defenses in the air and on the ground, and they’ve done so in emphatic fashion, scoring more than 40 points in every game since Week Two.

However, some have already started to panic, wondering if Oregon’s offensive renaissance is dependent solely on Dillingham’s influence. If he were to leave — even as soon as next season — would Oregon’s offense regress to the plodding, slow-churning state that it was at under Cristobal?

Fear not, feathered faithful. The future of the Oregon offense is in good hands, and it’s all because Dan Lanning has proven that he understands the importance of an explosive offense in today’s day and age.

Lanning Has Delivered On His Promise

Lanning has been adamant that explosive plays are a key factor in determining wins and losses. He made mention of the fact during his introductory press conference, and he also made the following comment after Oregon’s spring game:

“We want to be an explosive offense. I think I’ve said it several times. Explosive plays and takeaways are the two main determining factors of wins and losses.”

Photo Credit: Craig Strobeck

From the get-go, Lanning has made it clear that being explosive on offense is a priority. Not ball control. Not controlling the line of scrimmage. Not any of the other “coach speak” that failing coaches use to justify their antiquated strategies.

Explosiveness is the mark of a successful offense, by any means necessary. Lanning seemed to understand that upon his hiring, and the success of Oregon’s offense proves that he genuinely believes it.

Oregon is tied for 20th nationally, with 54 plays gaining 20 or more yards, and it’s tied for 17th nationally, with 13 plays gaining 40 or more yards. The Ducks are gaining yards in bunches, and that’s the most efficient way to move the ball. The longer a drive goes on for, the higher the likelihood it gets derailed.

Dillingham should get a boatload of credit for Oregon’s offensive resurgence. He has helped transform Bo Nix from a punchline into a legitimate Heisman candidate, and he has been the primary reason the Ducks have gone from average to astounding on offense.

But he shouldn’t get all of the credit.

Photo Credit: Craig Strobeck

Lanning made it a point to prioritize explosive plays. It’s something that he had in mind when selecting Dillingham as his offensive coordinator, and it’s clearly something that he has had his hand in on a weekly basis.

Offense might not be his specialty, but Lanning knows that getting yards in chunks is paramount in today’s game, and that won’t change if or when Dillingham moves on. Dillingham should be praised for engineering Oregon’s offensive scheme, but Lanning is the one who established its philosophy from day one.

Dan Lanning isn’t just a fly on the wall in Oregon’s offensive meeting rooms. It’s clear he has a say in the direction of the unit, and it is shaping up just as he said it would when he was initially hired.

He deserves just as much of the praise for Oregon’s offensive success as Dillingham, and his focus on explosiveness will lead to a highly effective Ducks’ offense for years to come.

Joshua Whitted
Grove City, Ohio
Top Photo by Eric Evans of Oregon Football Twitter

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