Anonymous coaching agent questions Mario Cristobal's recruiting, coaching ability
In a recent piece from The Athletic’s Chris Vannini and Nicole Auerbach, coaching agents were given anonymity and carte blanche to talk about the wild 2021 coaching carousel. Throughout the piece, multiple people questioned the decision of former Oregon coach Mario Cristobal to ditch the Ducks for the Miami Hurricanes, calling into question his chops as a recruiter and comparing the support at Miami to that of Oregon.
In January of 2017, Mario Cristobal joined Willie Taggart’s Oregon coaching staff as the team’s offensive line coach, co-offensive coordinator, and run game coordinator. When Taggart bolted for Florida State in December of that year, Cristobal was named the interim head coach three days before landing the permanent job.
That recruiting cycle, the Ducks signed the 13th-ranked recruiting class in the country, according to the 247 Composite. During the 2019 class, Cristobal helped the Ducks sign the seventh-best class in the country. In 2020, the Ducks signed the 12th-best class. In 2021, the Ducks signed the sixth-best class.
Oregon had the best recruiting classes in the Pac-12 during the 2019, 2020, and 2021 cycles. In turn, Cristobal also led the Ducks to Pac-12 title appearances in 2019, 2020, and 2021. The Ducks won the first two, but were beaten soundly by Utah in the 2021 title match.
Three days later, on December 6, 2021, the Oregon head coach was named the new head coach at Miami.
In the months since, Cristobal has built a staff and assembled a roster that many believe can challenge for an ACC title right away.
One agent isn’t so sure, offering up to The Athletic a rebuttal of Cristobal’s pedigree as a premier recruiter:
“I don’t know if (Cristobal) is necessarily the guy you should be afraid of. Like, what has he done that’s been so great? Everybody talks about how good of a recruiter he is. How come he didn’t have a quarterback outside (of inheriting) Justin Herbert? How come he gets out-coached by Kyle Whittingham two out of three games in the fall? You have the athletes. There’s going to be like three first-round picks from that team? How come you’re losing to Stanford and Utah twice? I wouldn’t be afraid in recruiting. I think it’s wide-open in that state.”
A different agent, asked who made the worst hire, said they felt Miami made a smart move in picking Cristobal but Cristobal made the wrong move in picking Miami:
I think that Miami made a great hire in Mario, but I’m not sure if Mario Cristobal made a great move in going from Oregon to Miami. I think that Oregon is substantially better positioned because of Phil Knight and Nike and their infrastructure to be successful over the long horizon of what college sports may look like over the next decade than Miami. He’s basically in a rebuilding situation at Miami, and at an institution that has resources but will never have the same resources or fan support that Oregon has.
We shall see.
The Ducks eventually hired former Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning to steer the program moving forward, and Lanning has subsequently built his own high-profile coaching staff, outfit with some of the top recruiters in the country.
Oregon begins its 2022 season on Sept. 3 against Georgia.
Cristobal and the Hurricanes debut the same day against Bethune-Cookman.