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Coaching Quack: Head Coach Mario Cristobal

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NCAA Football: Oregon Spring Practice
Who is Mario Cristobal?
Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Coach: Mario Cristobal

Title: Head Coach

Contract (courtesy of 247): 5 years, $2.5 million base. $2.3 million in various incentives, $10 million buyout if he pulls the Taggart in 2019

Alma Mater: University of Miami

Age: 47

Coaching Record: 27-48

- Cristobal has both a Bachelor’s and Masters degree from Miami. He’s also a two time national champion for the Hurricanes back when Miami were the original inventors of the “swag” during the 80s and 90s. Served under three head coaches (the legendary Butch Davis, Greg Schiano, and Larry Coker aka the guy who won a title with Butch’s guys) before becoming Florida International’s head coach. Fired from FIU in 2012. Briefly returned to Miami before being hired by Alabama for its OL coach vacancy along with recruiting coordinator duties. Hired as the OL coach with Oregon under current Florida State head coach Willie Taggart in January 2017. Hired as the full time head coach for Oregon in December 2017.

- Known as one of the best recruiters in the country regardless of position.

- He is a natural fit to take over for the Miami job one day due to his connections there. Let’s hope he is wildly successful for the Ducks before doing so.

Recruiting

Best Oregon signee thus far: Steven Jones c/o 2018 OG from Chaparral, HS in California. 4 star recruit that was the tenth best at his position, 246th ranked nationally, 32nd ranked prospect in the state. Cristobal was the primary recruiter.

Best Miami signee: Ian Symonette c/o 2006 OT from St. Pius X HS in Houston, TX. 4 star recruit that was ranked 13th best tackle. 186th national, and 25th best in the state of Texas. Cristobal was his primary recruiter.

Top 5 Alabama signees:

Alex Leatherwood - expected to start at left tackle for the Tide. He was the top ranked prospect at his position and in the state of Florida. Number four overall recruit in the entire class of 2017. Five star recruit.

Cam Robinson - Robinson was one of the best tackles in the country for at least two years before he declared for the draft as junior in 2017. Former five star recruit that was ranked tops at his position, second overall in Louisiana, and fourth nationally. Was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second round.

Calvin Ridley - Arguably one of the best receivers in the entire nation as a sophomore and junior. It’s a shame that he was stuck with the horrible Jalen Hurts at QB. Five star recruit that was number one at receiver, sixth in Florida, and twelfth nationally. He was a first round pick by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Jerry Jeudy - Ridley’s heir apparent didn’t do much as a true freshman but he has loads of potential as a game breaker for the Tide. Five star recruit that was ranked third at receiver, fifth in Florida, and 21st in the country. Much will be expected of him as a sophomore.

Daron Payne - The latest in the long line of standout defensive linemen to go in the first round. He was a draft pick of the Washington Redskins in the 2018 draft. Five star recruit that was ranked seventh at DT, number one in the state of Alabama, and 29th nationally.

Analysis

Cristobal can recruit with the best of them. Yeah, Alabama is ALABAMA but it takes a lot of skill to pull in the talent that he did for Nick Saban. He also went into a former coaching locale and pulled in one of the best college defensive backs of this generation, Minkah Fitzpatrick from New Jersey. I have no doubts that he can expand the Ducks brand even further nationally due to his recruiting prowess. After further research, his lowest ranked recruit was two stars. Of the 42 commits that 247 Sports gives him credit for, an astounding 28 were four and five stars (66%).

Final Summary

Oregon fans can remain hopeful that Cristobal can improve upon the successes of a bygone Chip Kelly era after two previous regimes had flashes but ultimately failed. I think he’s in it for the long haul in Eugene unlike one William Taggart. What will be interesting is how he will handle the offense given that Oregon has more beef on its OL than ever before. He used the spread at FIU (well because it’s FIU and let’s just say that its in a speed and talent rich locale) but his background is more of a pro style offense. I think he will find a way to fuse the two differing styles along with concepts of the Gulf Coast offense that Taggart used since most of the staff were holdovers. I just hope that some time as an highly regarded assistant has taught him not to repeat the lessons of failures during his FIU tenure.

Author’s note: All rankings were courtesy of 247 Sports.