The 2022 season might be over, but college football is undoubtedly a 24/7/365 institution. Here we are in mid-January and all kinds of interesting stuff is happing. Let us jump to it.
Ducks Hire New Defensive Coach
The offense certainly was not in short supply this past season for the Ducks. But, the defense, while talented, did not always play up to that talent.
Chris Hampton, who was the defensive coordinator the last two seasons with Cotton Bowl-winning Tulane, has been hired to replace safeties coach Matt Powledge, who left to be the DC at Baylor. Under Hampton, Tulane went from the No. 114 scoring defense in 2021 to No. 32.
Seems odd that a defensively-challenged Power 5 school did not snatch him up as their defensive coordinator. Becoming a position coach at a Power 5 seems like a lateral move at best, but I think it illustrates the power of the Oregon brand. I doubt he would have taken the safeties position at a place like Arizona or Cal.
Hopefully, this will not come across as a threat to current Oregon DC Tosh Lupoi and create tensions on the defensive staff. That would be the last thing the Ducks need, but you never know when egos might come into play. The hope is that they all play nice and learn from each other in taking strides to make Oregon a solid defensive machine.
The Cam McCormick Transfer to Miami
No! Why, Cam? Why?
He certainly cannot be headed to Miami because of their explosive offense and the belief that he will get a ton of catches. Mario Cristobal ran the Hurricanes’ offense into the ground. Even if McCormick had a great relationship with Cristobal, from a football perspective, it just does not make sense. If I were a quarterback, wide receiver or tight-end recruit or transfer, I would not even consider Miami. The Cristobal offensive philosophy of ineptitude would not jive with what I would want to accomplish.
I have to believe McCormick has ulterior motives, such as nice weather and South Beach.
Building a Georgia Defense
If you happened to miss the news, last week the Ducks landed the No. 1 rated player in the transfer portal (per The Athletic) in South Carolina edge defender Jordan Burch. He was a five-star and No. 8 overall rated recruit by 247Sports in 2020. Burch has two years of eligibility remaining.
You pair this with the recruitment, among others, of five-star defensive end Matayo Uiagalelei and the Ducks are adding players who can help turn Oregon’s defense into a high-end SEC type of defense.
The Pac-12 schedule should be released soon, but we already know the Ducks have arguably the toughest conference schedule in the Pac-12. They play all the teams that once made up the north division, plus former south division standouts in USC (home) and Utah (road).
Yup, the Ducks get to play all the top Pac-12 contenders in USC, Utah, Washington and Oregon State. All these teams will start the season ranked in the Top 20, if not the Top 15. The Ducks do miss potential Top-25 team UCLA, but I have my doubts that UCLA really is a Top-25 team.
The Ducks’ non-conference schdule is comprised of Portland State, Hawaii and Texas Tech. It is a manageable slate, with of course the road game at Texas Tech being a big danger. But, it’s a game the Ducks should win.
Thankfully, there’s no Georgia to start the season this time around.
Top photo credit: Mike Snow
Natalie Liebhaber, the FishDuck.com Volunteer Editor for this article, works in the technology industry in SLC, Utah.
Darren Perkins is a sales professional and 1997 Oregon graduate. After finishing school, he escaped the rain and moved to sunny Southern California where he studied screenwriting for two years at UCLA. Darren grew up in Eugene and in 1980, at the tender age of five, he attended his first Oregon football game. His lasting memory from that experience was an enthusiastic Don Essig announcing to the crowd: “Reggie Ogburn, completes a pass to… Reggie Ogburn.” Captivated by such a thrilling play, Darren’s been hooked on Oregon football ever since. Currently living in Spokane, Darren enjoys flaunting his yellow and green superiority complex over friends and family in Cougar country.
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