It’s been a pretty emotional week after the departure of Willie Taggart, who lasted just 363 days with the Oregon Ducks. Taggart also took defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt with him to Tallahassee, which upset many fans.
But there’s another coordinator who is sticking around in Eugene, at least through the end of the season. Co-offensive coordinator Mario Cristobal was named interim head coach after Taggart’s departure this week. Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens announced that another nationwide search for a head coach would begin immediately. But what if a national search was unnecessary? What if the right guy for the job is right in front of them.
I didn’t get a chance to watch many Ducks games this year, so I can’t speak in depth to the fit between Cristobal and Oregon’s head coaching gig from a football perspective, but I can speak to one thing. The players LOVE this guy. All across Twitter yesterday, you saw the hashtag #cristobALLIN, including from leaders like Troy Dye and Tyrell Crosby.
After a coach leaves like the way Taggart did, you’re gonna have a lot of players feeling hurt and betrayed. What better way for the athletic department to regain some of that trust among their players than by listening to their wishes and promoting Cristobal?
According to a report from the Oregonian citing a source close to the situation, “most” players want Cristobal to get the job.
"Everyone loves his personality and his emotions towards the game of football. Whenever he talks, everyone on the team listens," the source said. "He is fun to be around but knows when it's time to work. He is one of the most dedicated coaches I've seen and been around."
Other names like Jeff Tedford and Justin Wilcox have been tossed around, but the Ducks should be #cristobALLIN in 2018 and beyond.