mario cristobal

Oregon plays way right out of huge win

The Ducks are getting good at losing big games, too
By Cliff Pfenning

Following the Oregon football team’s season-opener against Auburn via radio in Central Oregon Saturday, the game played out as one fans have come to expect these days - the Ducks worked their way into a gut-wrenching loss.

And, it was gut-wrenching in terms of how they lost - they were right on the cusp of a huge win on a national stage, one that would have signaled the program is back as a elite-level power. But, that’s not where the propram is these days. 

Head coach Mario Cristobal deserves the credit for getting the program close to the elite level, but also the blame for just not being able to get there. But more than his game management, it’s his loyalty to offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo that’s a question mark on his program.

Oregon’s offense dictated the flow of games in its glory years. Not so Saturday night. Cristobal said as much after the loss in that Auburn’s defense kept quarterback Justin Herbert from throwing up the field. In fact, in one sequence, Herbert completed three consecutive passes, but they didn’t turn into 10 yards and the offense got stuffed on a fourth-down run that stopped what might have been a game-ending drive. 

The Ducks pretty-much gave up their running game in the second half, too, which just boggles the mind in that it was able to run in the first half, and just plain needs to be able to run to win big games in the future. Put that one on Cristobal and Arroyo. Oregon used to dictate games, and needs to again to get its fans into thinking these games will always turn into victories.

Beyond the coaches, though, it seemed like Herbert played his way out of the first round of the NFL Draft with such a spotty performance. The final score is all you have to look at to get that feel. Oregon’s senior quarterback lost to a freshman playing his first game. Bo Nix made the big plays that won the game not Herbert. Whatever you can think of that went wrong, Herbert had the shot at making them minor issues by converting a few more plays into successes. Instead, he fumbled while not handing the ball off in the first half, got called for intentional grounding in the second half, and the following possession took a 14-yard sack that stalled the drive that turned the ball over to Auburn for the game-winning drive.

Nix made the plays on the winning drive, including a dive for a first down that was measured in inches. Nix got beat in the scorebook by Herbert, but he won on the scoreboard and that’s what NFL scouts look at more than anything. Game leadership counts, and Herbert just has not had that in his career. He’s got 12 more games, including a bowl game, to change that and play his way back into the first round.

And, lastly, Oregon’s beloved play-by-play man Jerry Allen, might be at the end of his career, he made so many miscues during the game, including calling one long run moving from the 20 to the 10 to the 15 and then the five. It was had to know where the ball was on the field in stretches of the game. Hopefully, that won’t affect any more contests, and he’ll be calling the Ducks plays in a major bowl game in five months because the team will be playing in a major bowl game in five months.

 

 

Cristobal reflects on Alabama

New Oregon coach has plenty of experience with Saban
National Report

Oregon coach Mario Cristobol spent four years under Nick Saban as an assistant coach at Alabama.

To say he learned a lot in his time in Tuscaloosa would be an understatement.

Cristobol, who was named the Ducks head coach on Friday, was asked about Saban’s influence on his coaching career Sunday during an appearance on ESPNU Radio on SiriusXM.

“He’s a consummate professional,” Cristobal said. “He’s detailed, a wealth of knowledge. Whether it be in-season, off-season, regiments, structures, practice scheduling, recruiting, setting up a staff, there’s so many things that you learn in your time there. You get the chance to get your PhD in football. That’s what it is.”

Cristobal was officially promoted to head coach a year to the day after Willie Taggart was introduced as the coach at Florida State.

Cristobal -- the co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach -- was named interim coach for the Las Vegas Bowl. However, on Friday, that interim label was removed.

Before heading to Eugene, Oregon, Cristobal spent four seasons as offensive line coach at Alabama. He has six seasons of head coaching experience at Florida International, where he went 27-47, including 20-26 in conference, with two bowl appearances from 2007-12. He was also an assistant at Miami, his alma mater.

All of which shaped his career, he said on Sunday.

“But along the way, there’s no doubt, take a little bit of (Saban) and take a little bit of Jimmy Johnson,” he said. “Let’s not forget about ol’ boy down in Miami back in the day and the things that we were able to accomplish down there.”

Cristobal played his college ball at Miami, where he was an offensive tackle from 1989-92.

Oregon went 7-5 this season, including 1-4 in games without starting quarterback Justin Herbert, who missed time with a broken collarbone.

The Ducks face Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl Saturday, entering the game as a 6-point favorite.

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