According to a report from Dan Wolken and George Schroeder at USA Today, Oregon is expected to fire head football coach Mark Helfrich.
Of course, the news has not been made official yet, but it is sounding like that is the direction this saga is heading.
In the story, it says that Oregon has “made preparations for a coaching search that will follow the eventual firing of Mark Helfrich, but the school has not officially pulled the trigger on the move.”
Helfrich will be owed $11.6 million in order for Oregon to buy out his contract, so this is a decision that won't be taken lightly. The report listed Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck and Boise State’s Bryan Harsin as potential leading candidates.
This season, the Ducks finished with a 4-8 record, their worst since going 3-8 in the 1991 season under Rich Brooks. They also missed a bowl game for the first time since 2004 when they went 5-6 under Mike Bellotti. The tough 2016 season featured a five-game losing streak and losses to Washington and Oregon State.
The high point of the season came when the Ducks upset Utah on the road thanks to a game-winning touchdown pass from Justin Herbert in the final seconds of the 4th quarter. Other than that, there wasn't much to write home about this year.
Helfrich had one of the easiest ways to transition into a head coaching role. He had a Heisman quarterback in Marcus Mariota and plenty of talent around him. Even after losing the national title game to Ohio State, there was no reason the team should’ve fallen off a cliff like it did. A lot of criticism around Helfrich and the 2016 team has been about lacking an identity. The Ducks have also struggled in recruiting since Helfrich took over as well.
With the season over, we’re all now officially on #FireHelfrich watch, so keep it here for any more news as it happens.