Dan Lanning’s TEN Over-the-Top Surprises for Duck Fans

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials

This coach is special.

So many of the Oregon faithful are coming to that conclusion as Dan Lanning‘s second season is unfolding. There are many obvious developments we are all pleased to observe, but some of the more subtle ones I’ve been detecting have me scratching my head for a comparison to prior Duck coaches.

There aren’t any.

I began to notice them last year, but beginning last spring–so many more of his differences began to surface, and while I noted them–only recently did I total them up to see there were actually ten of them?

Holy Crap. Let’s take a look at my ten over-the-top surprises from Coach Lanning…

No. 1: He has elite social skills, as he is relatable to everyone, and you cannot help but like him–even from afar. It is clear that he cares about people, yet is firmly in charge. We have had coaches who had these skills, but not to this extreme.

No. 2: The coach is much more savvy on PR than I gave him credit for. I pulled up a major national news site on Saturday evening to find two front page articles about Lanning and Oregon? He out-flanked Coach Prime on this one.

No. 3: He takes care of business. Thank goodness he puts away teams he should, and early in the game. No more Stony Brooks hanging around through the third quarter, as Lanning is serious about his team playing to its level.

Evan Williams is an example of a problem solved by Lanning. (Photo by Eric Evans of Oregon Football X Account)

No. 4: He sees a problem and attacks it in recruiting like no other Oregon coach I’ve ever seen. A problem with the pass rush? He has 12 edge rushers competing in Spring football. Need better punting? He has four on hand for fall camp. Thin in the secondary? He goes out and gets four experienced, savvy portal transfers. It is one thing to say, “we have a problem,” and actually have the recruiting chops to do something about it.

No. 5: Oregon has had depth at certain position groups over the years, but I have never seen this much depth at every position group on the team. Think about all the portal transfers over the last two years on both sides of the ball, and picture what this team would be like without them? Yeah…a 6-6 kind of team.

No. 6: Lanning adjusts to his personnel; last year it was evident after two games that Oregon did not have the pass rushing skills needed. So he refined his “Simulated Pressures” to rush four from unknown directions, and drop seven. Or drop eight with a conservative make-the-opponent-grind-for-it. He adapted last year to a superb offensive line being efficient on offense, and burn clock to help the defense.

This year he has a crazy-accurate quarterback with a corps of elite receivers, and superb pass-blockers in the 2023 offensive line. Thus the offensive emphasis has changed, and on defense we have seen more five and six man blitzes in four games, than all 13 games of 2022. Such smart adjustments…

No. 7: Good gosh he plays a ton of guys, like I’ve never seen. He recruits great talent, and rotates them in there and gets them experience. I was blown away in the first two games looking at the defensive back rotation, then was mouth-agape at seeing two true freshmen meet at the Buffalo QB on third down? Another true freshman playing at offensive guard when the game was still in doubt? (Poncho!)

Will Stein is another great hire by Lanning. (Screenshot from ESPN Video)

No. 8: He straddles a blue-collar-work-hard mentality with all the benefits of being at Oregon with the players better than I have ever could have imagined. So hard to do with all the facilities, the sweet toys, the NIL, and still get maximum effort? Whew!

No. 9: He is the best at hiring assistant coaches since Mike Bellotti, but Dan’s difference is that his philosophy with coaches is similar to how he manages the players. Age does not matter to Dan, and thus we are witnessing one terrific hire after another. (And he can recruit coaches as well as he recruits players)

No. 10: He wants to build a better Georgia blueprint at Oregon. He wants to build an elite defense as he had with the Bulldogs, but it is quite obvious to me that he also wants a high-scoring offense that Oregon was once known for. That kind of combination is pretty rare at the college level, but I see a dedication to trying to build it all at Oregon.

Yes, this is hyperbole from a homer-fan. Yet it is rooted in evidence that comes from the eye-test of watching the progress in such a short time. Share with me your surprises from Coach Lanning in the only free Oregon football forum that embraces civility because…

“Oh, how we love to ponder about Our Beloved Ducks!

Charles Fischer  (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo from Eric Evans of Oregon Football X Account

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