Anonymous Pac-12 coaches aren't sold on Oregon's long-term plan under Dan Lanning
Most football coaches will be pretty bland when speaking to the media. So Athlon Sports granted league coaches anonymity to freely dish on each Pac-12 team ahead of the new season.
And the vibe from whoever Athlon talked to about Oregon seems to be one of uncertainty.
“With Mario [Cristobal] and Willie [Taggart], the blueprint was obvious. They wanted to try to be a Northwest SEC program. With both of those guys leaving, you have to wonder if Oregon regrets going all-in on national candidates with no PNW ties.”
“I think they’ve struggled against elite teams because they’ve shuffled so many offensive identities. What’s Kenny [Dillingham] going to do? Bo Nix is a solid game-manager who’s been beat up; where’s his head at?”
“They’ve been extremely active in the portal and NIL. They’re going to have to be to stay in front and fight for that perception they’re a national brand. With Nike behind them, they should be leading NIL.”
“No one knows what [Dan] Lanning’s long-term plan is going to be for personnel. In the [Chip] Kelly era, they did a really good job in California and Texas and the PNW. This staff needs to double-down on working the West Coast if they want to stay consistent in the portal era. It’s going to get harder and harder to keep guys from three time zones away in Eugene if they’re getting national attention. Also, recruiting and developing guys from Georgia is way different than California and Oregon. Is Lanning ready for that? The fan base and the administration can’t deal with another guy who gets hot and leaves town. They need a long-term plan to renew a lot of faith. It’s not that Lanning can’t do that; it’s that no one’s seen it yet.”
Several questioned the long-term plan of attack for the Ducks under first-year head coach Dan Lanning. The former Georgia defensive coordinator is Oregon’s fourth head coach in the last 10 years. Though it seems fair to question how this will all work with Lanning stepping into a brand new role, the Ducks have had no trouble maintaining a high level of play in spite of all the change that’s gone on in Eugene.
“Since 2010 there’s been nine teams that have played for a national championship. Fortunate enough that Oregon has done that twice,” Lanning said at Pac-12 Media Day. “Multiple conference championships have been won at this place. … We’ve continued to recruit at a really high level. Excited to continue to bring great recruits to our place. We have an innovative approach in the way we do that.”
With one of the most talented rosters in the league and a championship-pedigree assistant coaching staff, Lanning seems to have the pieces in place to keep Oregon’s floor relatively high.
The only question worth asking: how big can he win?