Dan Lanning hits back at criticism of pregame speech, 'classless' comments from Skip Bayless
Dan Lanning and the Oregon Ducks blasted Colorado over the weekend, but rather than talk about the way Oregon announced itself as a legitimate threat this season, the conversation since has been dominated by what Lanning told his team in the locker room before the game.
On Monday, FOX Sports’ Skip Bayless claimed there is a “deep-rooted, venomous vengeance” that white coaches in college football feel toward Colorado head coach Deion Sanders. Bayless joined in with a number of others who have criticized Lanning for his “they’re fighting for clicks, we’re fighting for wins” speech before the game.
Lanning called Bayless’s comments “classless” when he met with reporters Monday night.
“I don’t know Skip at all. I’ve never had a conversation with him,” Lanning said. “I’ve watched him enough to know how often he gets it wrong, so that sounds about right. But, ultimately, here’s what I’ll say: We’re playing to win the game. You saw a 15-second clip from a window view outside the house of what happens in a locker room. I know our locker room. I’m in the house 100% of the time. I know how our players felt going into that game, and I know what it takes to motivate our players.
“That’s my job, to motivate our players. … Inside that house, they felt a certain way. They felt a certain way about a group stomping on the O. They felt a certain way about guys talking to ’em in the pregame. I’m proud of those guys because what they decided to do was talk with their pads. They didn’t want to do anything extra afterwards. They wanted to talk with their pads, and they did that on Saturday.”
The Ducks dominated the Buffs, 42-6. They had a 35-0 lead at halftime and held Colorado to 21 yards of offense in the game’s first 30 minutes.
That game, broadcast in the mid-day slot on ABC, set an Oregon record for viewership in a regular-season game, according to Duck Territory’s Matt Prehm. The drew a 5.2 rating and 10.03 million viewers, making it the largest Nielsen-measured audience of the season.
“I’m also grateful and can clearly acknowledge that the attention that we got this Saturday, in large part, was due to Deion (Sanders) and what he’s doing to college football,” Lanning continued. “If anybody can’t see what he’s done for college football and how he’s bringing excitement to college football, you’re crazy. I said that last week as well. He’s done a lot for the game. He’s building something over there. I think that’s really, really clear. There’s no secret there.”
But Lanning has also been criticized for a perceived lack of gamesmanship in the win. The Ducks went for two points in the second quarter to go up 21-0. They went for it on fourth down four times, including a fake punt inside their own 20.
For those unfamiliar, this has been standard operating procedure for the Ducks under Lanning’s watch. A year ago, when Oregon demolished Colorado 49-10 on the road, the team threw a touchdown pass to an offensive lineman and ran a linebacker in for a touchdown.
He’s aggressive. And he isn’t changing.
“It wouldn’t matter if I was playing my 10-year-old son on the other sideline. I’m gonna do everything I can to win. If I’m playing Bill Belichick, I’m gonna do everything I can to win,” Lanning said.
“Did I go for it on fourth down? Yeah. I have every game this year. I’ve gone for it nine times. Did I go for a two-point conversion? Yeah, I’ve done it three out of the four games this year. And if we play again tomorrow, I’m gonna do the same thing. I’m gonna do everything I can to win a game and everything I can to motivate my team. That, to me, is classless what he’s (Bayless) saying there, but I’m not really worried about it.”