Every coach has their own strategy, a calling card, if you will. Mario Cristobal, the head coach of Oregon Football for four seasons, was an offensive lineman in college. He took great pride in the offensive linemen he recruited and coached. It’s something we have to be thankful for as Duck fans even with Cristobal gone, because as we watch Bo Nix stand so comfortably in the pocket and pick apart opposing defenses, we must realize he’s doing it behind a Cristobal offensive line.
Still, this pride and confidence in the offensive line could be a double-edged sword. There were times when Cristobal seemed stubbornly determined to run the football right up the gut. There were times it worked beautifully (see, Oregon vs Washington 2018) but at some points fans were left wondering why the offensive coordinators weren’t allowed to institute anything high-octane or innovative, something that had become Oregon’s calling card on the gridiron during the previous decade.
Fast forward to 2022, and current head coach Dan Lanning is clearly letting current offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham work his magic.
Oregon Football is averaging 42 points per contest. And yes, that includes the meager three points they managed against Georgia in the opener. You take away that debacle, and Oregon is averaging 49.8. That’s an average of just a hair under 50 points per game in the last five games.
And it’s not just the points, it’s the yards. More specifically, the balance of yards on the ground and through the air.
In the aforementioned five games since the Bulldog Beatdown, Oregon has run for 1,310 yards and passed for 1,452. If you’re facing the Ducks, you might as well pick your poison.
The offense is crisp, fun, and deadly. The ground game is punishing. Nix has been a wizard through the air.
The second half of Oregon’s schedule is tougher, but they get UCLA, Washington, and Utah at home, where they have not lost in over four years. The defense is energized by the offense’s ability to put up points and, quite frankly, to entertain.
The talent for these kinds of outputs has been there these past few years, the difference, at least so it would seem, was Cristobal’s conservatism.
Cheers for the offensive line coach, but we’re ready for a new kind of show in Eugene.
And so far, we’re getting it.