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Analysis: Is Dan Lanning an Upgrade from Mario Cristobal?

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Coach Cristobal always said that when a coach leaves, it gives him an opportunity to “upgrade” at that coaching position. My question to all my FishDuck Friends is, “did Athletic Director Rob Mullens make an upgrade hire of Dan Lanning replacing Mario Cristobal, or not?” It is a fair question, and makes me wonder about what the odds are that ...

 

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Guest Axel

For the most part, I agree with your analysis, Sir Charles. I believe that Dan Lanning will prove to be a massive upgrade over Mario Cristobal. However, I don't agree that Cristobal is a king of public relations. As far as I'm concerned, Cristobal nuked all of his PR and goodwill by the way he left Oregon. He was mentally checked out during November and early December. I don't think he gave a damn whether the Ducks won or lost against Utah. The results of the those games certainly point to indifference and incompetence on Cristobal's part.

 

Sure, Cristobal deserves credit for his recruiting efforts. But in my opinion, he rates low marks for player development. We all marvel at Justin Herbert's success in the NFL. Imagine, if he'd been better coached at Oregon. He could have been our second Heisman Trophy winner. 

 

I saw the clip of Cristobal at the podium in South Florida addressing his new team, saying, "Guys, we are Miami! We are the U!" And frankly, I had to laugh. There's a phoniness about Cristobal that isn't apparent right away. Right now, they're buying his schtick down there in South Beach. They have yet to see his press conferences where he's making excuses for his tedious, ho-hum offenses and the dreadful way that he manages games. 

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I would not be so sure on the public relations front. Though it might not mesh with the Eugene vibe an obvious effort was made to present the family dressed up and respectful. Projecting enthusiasm and passion Lanning came off well. It is hoped and expected there will be no more clock management problems. All the portal transfers will give him an opportunity to shine even though he has very few days to solidify the recruiting class. I am hopeful that he realizes it is also about entertaining the fans along with winning. Sometimes I felt Mario was trying to win by boring the other team to death.

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Charles your analysis sums my feelings up, spot on.

 

Except on PR. I agree with Axel. MC came across as a phony, very early on.  He promised exciting football, preached fast paced and high scoring games. IMHO, he did not deliver.

 

Charles, your own articles, repeatedly questioned and called for changes to the offensive game plan. 45 points per game........

 

Yet, with few exceptions, that threshold was not met. Then we had to listen 🎶 to MC sing the same tune.  If PR is selling offensive excuses then Mario was exceptional.

 

When it came to the offense, game management, defense and PR, well MC ??????  Maybe FIU fired MC for a reason?

 

Coach Lanning and his staff will have their learning curve, growing pains and ups and downs. 

 

I just hope when Coach Lanning and his staff speak they

 

Say what they mean, then mean what they say.......

 

Personally I hope the new coach is also an upgrade in the category of coach speak.

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Guest KingT

I don't think we needed more time to see what Mario could do. He was a great recruiter, check. He struggled with in game management, check. He ran a really boring and sluggish offense, check. He had a hard time holding leads, check. One could argue he didn't adequately develop talent, check. Mario was great in many ways, but I think he expressed his limited coaching capabilities in the few years he was here. I just didn't see any coaching magic there aside from recruiting. There's a good chance we will upgrade here. Mario is a great guy, but limited in coaching skill.

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While I agree Mario was a master at relationships, PR I think his hollowness began to show as this season played on. It wasn't just our transfer who was upset with what the relationship was built on and then left without any structure. The displeasure was beginning to echo through the program and we saw it on the field.

 

My concern started with allowing players to come back on the team after the suspension so quickly. The justice system is fine, but the players needed to answer to Mario. That didn't happen, and even if it was ceremonial, the players, parents and fans needed to see it.

 

While the players loved Mario, I don't think that set up the respect needed for a coach, and that lack of respect started to show through. The structure of discipline began to show on penalties and just being able to finish and start a game. We need a coach, not a best friend. On the spectrum of coach to friend, I think Mario was too close to the friend end.

 

What I loved hearing from Dan was he was going to give the players honesty, even when it hurts. This is the edge I don't think Mario had.  

 

I think players and fans still love Mario, he was that good at making you like him, but the honesty when it hurts isn't in his DNA. I think we have a high character guy, who is going to be willing to be brutally honest, no coach speak.        

 

I won't grade the other areas, because we have no data for Coach Lanning at Oregon. I look forward to his own honest straight answer on these items! I think that is the biggest difference, other than the obvious training on different sides of the ball.

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Time will tell.

 

I think Lanning will be an upgrade, but what I wonder is how long we allow him to grow into the role. He has no HC experience and that means there will be some growing pains. I'm more worried about the fanbase having unrealistic expectations than I am about Lanning's eventual performance as our HC.

 

I see no reason that we can't have at least a 10 win season next year - but I also see no reason to be disappointed if we don't. 

 

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Per Fishduck "I believe everyone was served well, as Mario got to go home to a fat contract, while Oregon has the opportunity to take the next step."

 

NAILED IT.

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Oh man, Charles, are you telling me that the "Prevent Offense" is gone? That alone makes Lanning an upgrade over Cristobal. Not only was Mario's offense, boring and predictable he was determined to keep it that way.  At best, offensive excesses such at Ohio State and UCLA seemed to happen by accident, not via any coaching strategy.

 

Mark Helfrich always looked like he'd rather be undergoing a root canal than answering questions. Mario answered the questions, but the answers were as predictable as his offense. Rote answers about "working harder."

 

Cristobal seemed to be coaching from a manual written 40 years ago. An upgrade in any of your area's by Lanning will be a positive sign of him taking the team up with him

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Im glad Mario is gone -LOL Miami. Im always a bit skeptical of a new coach but Im slowly getting on board. If we get a good OC and one that will play exciting football I will be as happy as a Duck in a well stocked pond.

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Until we see how he fills out his staff, it's too early to speculate.  Then, we'll need at least one season to know for sure.  At this juncture, my guess is Lanning will be an upgrade in almost every department.  Player development will be the biggest key, which is why I'm not worried about most of the assistants leaving, as I think that was the biggest concern with MC. 

 

Coordinators and scheme, and MC's thwarting of Moorhead to do his thing may be more on MC than the assistants, but we got 10 win seasons and a Rose Bowl on pure talent alone.  We did better than that with Belotti and Chip recruiting largely 3 star guys.  MC set the talent bar way higher and had 4 years to "do something" but didn't--oh wait that was Taggart's motto.  I think Lanning will shine in Eugene.  Will he stay more than 3 or 4 years?  We can only hope

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On 12/13/2021 at 7:13 AM, The Constitutionalist said:

Time will tell.

 

I think Lanning will be an upgrade, but what I wonder is how long we allow him to grow into the role. He has no HC experience and that means there will be some growing pains. I'm more worried about the fanbase having unrealistic expectations than I am about Lanning's eventual performance as our HC.

 

I see no reason that we can't have at least a 10 win season next year - but I also see no reason to be disappointed if we don't. 

 

My instincts tell me a 10 win season is possible, next year.

 

A great deal will depend on which current players stay or transfer. How the 2022 class finishes and the use of the portal.

 

Most importantly as Coach and staff build trust with the players, will the players buy in?

 

9 or 10 wins probably was the ceiling next year with MC. MC couldn't get out of his own way on game day.

 

Let's see what Coach Lanning and staff do on game day. 

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On 12/13/2021 at 7:12 AM, Haywarduck said:

...

 

While the players loved Mario, I don't think that set up the respect needed for a coach, and that lack of respect started to show through. The structure of discipline began to show on penalties and just being able to finish and start a game. We need a coach, not a best friend. On the spectrum of coach to friend, I think Mario was too close to the friend end.

 

...

In regard to this, I felt that there were too many personal fouls/unsportsmanlike penalties. I hope Lanning will run a tighter ship in that respect.

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I think Lanning would be well served by hiring a staff with the ability to change the very definition of "prevent offense". 

Oregon needs to 'prevent' opponents from believing they have any hope of staying in the game.

Defense,  especially the brand Lanning is used to. Needs to be supported by an offense that is powerful enough to put games out of reach, and keep it that way... CONSISTENTLY. 

The days of sitting on a slowly diminishing lead need to be gone for good.

 

I can Dream, can't I?

Edited by woundedknees
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I just have to give props to the Photoshop work that got Lanning in a Ducks' shirt for the site background. It's really well done.

Edited by jrw
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On 12/13/2021 at 8:01 AM, Annie said:

In regard to this, I felt that there were too many personal fouls/unsportsmanlike penalties. I hope Lanning will run a tighter ship in that respect.

I'm hoping Mullens has made of list of needed improvements and bonehead penalties/showboating as you've astutely noted should CERTAINLY be on the list...........

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Upgrade......MC was a great recruiter......but a subpar game coach........hopefully Lanning will approach MC's recruiting in a few years while being tons better on the field......especially on defense.  

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Great take. No argument from me Charles regarding any of your evaluations. CFB is a results oriented business. Your record is what you are.

 

Cristobal is 62-60 - A champ as a recruiter and a chump as a coach. (Watching Herbert play yesterday, I almost lost my lunch! 2019 was a playoff caliber team with a playoff quality QB who was kept under wraps.)

 

If he stays at Oregon for 122 games, I expect Lanning will have a record far better than 62-60. Of course, if he doesn't do far better than this playing in the Pac-12, Lanning won't last.

 

All Cristobal excuse-makers please feel free to chime in regarding all the reasons why Mario is barely over .500 as a head football coach. The reason is simple. As Charles so artfully noted he often fails to have superior players ready to play football.

Edited by Jon Joseph
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At this point we have no idea whether Lanning is an upgrade.  I'll know, we all will know, about a year from now.

Some things which annoyed me about Cristobal:   His offense.  His tendency to not put inferior teams away.  Clock management.  I was also tired of his macho bravado. 

Nothing about Lanning annoys me yet.  We'll know in a year.

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On 12/13/2021 at 8:01 AM, Annie said:

In regard to this, I felt that there were too many personal fouls/unsportsmanlike penalties. I hope Lanning will run a tighter ship in that respect.

Great comment and Georgia ranked 10th on the fewest penalty yardage. Oregon ranked 113th, and it was distressing to see so much undisciplined play.

 

One can talk about wanting discipline, but that is a tough one to pull off when you are concerned too much about relationships. Hearing Lanning say he is willing to be honest, even when it hurts is awesome.

 

I don't mean going off on a player on the sideline. The discipline starts in practice and then is followed through with expectations from the players, something which seemed lacking, and the stats back that up. 

 

With sc at #125 on the list it will be interesting to see which coach can move up to closer to where Georgia is. Oklahoma was at 70, still not good. If I was hiring at sc this is a stat which I would want the coach to excel at, evidently still not important at sc.

 

I would like to see us in the top 20 of fewest penalty yardage next season. Can this young coach build discipline into the program, a good test to watch.

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MC might be the worst in game coach that I have spent time watching and I watch a lot of football. The upgrade in this department  alone will be huge.

 

Player development has to be better, I was never impressed with most of the coaching staff. We probably lost our best coach to USC. I do like our D Line coach, his guys did seem to improve.

 

The culture part confused me the most. So many things go into that overall broad definition that it’s hard to put your fingers on them. MC did some good things but they didn’t show up at game time. He also had some failures. Can’t see DL doing much of anything different, but we will see.

 

We won’t know a whole lot till probably midway thru next season with a tougher than normal schedule. Going to Atlanta first thing out of the bag is idiotic at best. I didn’t see any way MC was going to win 9 games next year at best. Could start out 1 and 2 before the pack season even starts. Hope Dan can avoid that.

 

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On 12/13/2021 at 9:34 AM, Haywarduck said:

Great comment and Georgia ranked 10th on the fewest penalty yardage. Oregon ranked 113th, and it was distressing to see so much undisciplined play.

 

One can talk about wanting discipline, but that is a tough one to pull off when you are concerned too much about relationships. Hearing Lanning say he is willing to be honest, even when it hurts is awesome.

The lost production and lost due to untimely penalties was awful to watch, especially over the last two seasoms..

It's one thing to get beat down in every phase of the game, the way Utah handled Oregon this year, and a completely different issue to snatch defeat from the jaws of what should have been a sure win due to poor discipline, and the resultant penalties.

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That was a good read, Charles. It's fun--at this point--to speculate on where we think we'll see improvements or maybe some slippage from the MC regime to the DL era. With Lanning as a first-time head coach, it's all just speculation at this point. One area where I would argue with the point you made is in the area of special teams. Yes, Camden Lewis overcame his first-year "yips" and began to fulfill his potential. And, yes, Tom Snee developed into an adequate punter. However, the return and coverage units really took a downturn in the Bobby Williams era. I think there's nowhere to go but up in this area.

 

I had to laugh at your "rating" of game management and adjustments. At this point, we have no idea how Lanning will do in this area, since he's never been in the head coach position to make those decisions. On the other hand, as you point out, he just can't be any worse...we hope.

 

Finally, I'm hopeful Lanning will actually be an upgrade on culture and PR. Apparently, Mario's sincerity consistently won over recruits. Maybe that's what it takes to bring today's kids into the fold. I certainly don't know from personal experience. However, I think we began to see some cracks in that "culture" over the past two years. And, when it comes to PR, Mario's no-nonsense "sincerity" began to wear on me over time. I mean, has the guy EVER said something even mildly funny? There's only one Pete Carroll, but I'd like to see some positive, happy emotion on the sideline from my coach once in awhile.

 

Thanks, again, Charles, for giving us needy Duck faithful a place to ponder and pontificate.

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On 12/13/2021 at 5:41 AM, HappyToBeADuck said:

Except on PR. I agree with Axel. MC came across as a phony, very early on.  He promised exciting football, preached fast paced and high scoring games. IMHO, he did not deliver.

 

Charles, your own articles, repeatedly questioned and called for changes to the offensive game plan. 45 points per game........

 

There is a big difference between making-the-sale, and then delivering.  I never said he delivered, and in fact I have an article or two coming up about that.  What I meant to say is he sold us fans, the media, and Rob Mullens on one product...and produced another.  The point is that he was very good at selling what we wanted to hear.  And he did it so well, as we were all conned by his skills.

 

THAT is superb sales skills and PR poise in front of the cameras, IMHO.

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Mr. FishDuck

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On 12/13/2021 at 7:12 AM, Haywarduck said:

While the players loved Mario, I don't think that set up the respect needed for a coach, and that lack of respect started to show through. The structure of discipline began to show on penalties and just being able to finish and start a game. We need a coach, not a best friend. On the spectrum of coach to friend, I think Mario was too close to the friend end.

 

What I loved hearing from Dan was he was going to give the players honesty, even when it hurts. This is the edge I don't think Mario had.  

 

Amen, and well written. I so agree...

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Mr. FishDuck

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On 12/13/2021 at 7:33 AM, 30Duck said:

Oh man, Charles, are you telling me that the "Prevent Offense" is gone?

 

You created SUCH a perfect description of Mario's Offense....it MUST remain somewhere in the annals of Oregon football history!

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Mr. FishDuck

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On 12/13/2021 at 12:48 PM, Just Ducky said:

MC might be the worst in game coach that I have spent time watching and I watch a lot of football. The upgrade in this department  alone will be huge.

 

Player development has to be better, I was never impressed with most of the coaching staff. We probably lost our best coach to USC. I do like our D Line coach, his guys did seem to improve.

 

The culture part confused me the most. So many things go into that overall broad definition that it’s hard to put your fingers on them. MC did some good things but they didn’t show up at game time. He also had some failures. Can’t see DL doing much of anything different, but we will see.

 

We won’t know a whole lot till probably midway thru next season with a tougher than normal schedule. Going to Atlanta first thing out of the bag is idiotic at best. I didn’t see any way MC was going to win 9 games next year at best. Could start out 1 and 2 before the pack season even starts. Hope Dan can avoid that.

 

 

Great take. Playing 'at Georgia' and playing BYU OOC next season with a newbie at QB running a new system? And 2022 is Oregon's year to have 5 conference road games.

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On 12/13/2021 at 10:00 AM, WiseKwacker said:

There's only one Pete Carroll, but I'd like to see some positive, happy emotion on the sideline from my coach once in awhile.

That's something I really enjoyed about Chip. I thought he had a pretty funny sense of humor.

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Guest KingT

Jimmy Johnson politely said today that Mario is gonna struggle. He talked about the past Miami era is long gone for multitude of reasons. He talked about Mario being an improvement and perhaps bringing Miami into relevancy, but stopped short there of saying that Mario had the tools or capacity to elevate Miami into a National Champion caliber team. I think he's right. But, at least Mario and his family can be home in their comfortable space. I think Lanning will take the current position of this team and improve it on many levels.

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On 12/13/2021 at 2:05 AM, FishDuck Article said:

did Athletic Director Rob Mullens make an upgrade hire of Dan Lanning replacing Mario Cristobal, or not?”

Who wouldn’t be?  How many times was Cristobal’s team “not ready to play”?  How many times was MC “outcoached”?  

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On 12/13/2021 at 11:20 AM, Duckdude said:

Who wouldn’t be?  How many times was Cristobal’s team “not ready to play”?  How many times was MC “outcoached”?  

Toooo many to count on both hands and toes.

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Well done, Charles.  Lots to chew on there.  So far, Lanning bringing the whole family her yesterday is a good start.

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Guest KingT

Mario's teams were definitely ill-prepared, underperformed in-game and relative to required adjustments, and got by mostly on the backs of a few very talent players. But he is a recruiting monster.

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I reflect on the last game Mario coached and Noah's reaction. He was broken, and I doubt we will see that ever again. I will say the players on the other side will be broken once Noah is under Dan Lanning's defense. I was actually worried he might transfer after that game.

 

When you look at the effort Noah put into the team and the outcome, it will be an upgrade. My bet Noah thought about transferring to the guy who recruited him at Georgia, and is ecstatic about the new hire, enough said about our programs direction.

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On 12/16/2021 at 10:12 AM, 30Duck said:

 

We didn't ask u...

FIFY

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On 12/16/2021 at 10:04 AM, AllAboutTheU said:

Sorry, but this whole topic comes across as sour grapes if you ask me.

Have fun with three power plunges and a cloud of punt.

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  In thinking this through the last couple days, I've tried to decide what attributes and deficiencies both coaches possess.  MC is a PR guy, with the media, fans, players and especially recruits.  But he's failed to follow through with what he's said.  As the season progressed, I thought his game coaching was improving until the Stanford game, then it all went downhill.  His head didn't appear to be in the game any longer.  Players were dissatisfied, in game coaching was poor , he got defensive once a little booing started.  His offensive approach was failing, and the wins he got seemed to be from raw talent alone.

 

   DL has no head coaching experience, but has been successful wherever he's been.  He's highly driven, energetic, articulate, well liked by players and recruits, and has started to surround himself with successful, though inexperienced assistant that are like him.  I get the impression he is so driven, he is going to just will this to work successfully.

 

  Due to MC's performance and apparent mental state at the end of the season, and DL's drive and desire to succeed, if given a little time, I think we'll see a significant improvement.

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On 12/16/2021 at 10:43 AM, 47sgs said:

I get the impression he is so driven, he is going to just will this to work successfully.

 

Great observation, and one worth pondering further.  Thanks.

Mr. FishDuck

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Remember we had Covid mess everything up in 2020.

 

Then massive injuries, poor QB play and defection was ample evidence that we didn't get to see what our team could have done on offense

 

Also there were times they didn't seem ready but that was mostly on the road ( except tOSU). Also penalties.

 

Youth will cause this as much as coaching. We did have the youngest team in the country.

 

My main point is there were many reasons for why this year turned out the way it did. IMHO.

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What was it that Mike Leach of Washington State said? Something to the effect of " I just beat him with my guys, just think what I would be able to do to him with his guys". 

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