Dan Lanning says future is bright for Oregon after Fiesta Bowl victory
Dan Lanning is 22-5 through his first two years at Oregon. He has a Pac-12 Championship Game appearance, a Holiday Bowl win, and a Fiesta Bowl win. With Monday’s 45-6 victory over Liberty, Lanning secured the program’s sixth-ever 12-win season.
The Ducks have suffered disappointment during Lanning’s first two seasons, but there has been far, far more to be encouraged by. After the previous era ran stale, Lanning has ushered in excitement.
Don’t believe so? Ask recruits. Heading into the Big Ten in 2024, the Ducks will welcome the best recruiting class in program history to campus.
After the Fiesta Bowl win on Monday, Lanning was asked about what the win says about the program going forward.
“I think it just speaks to the direction, the base that these guys have created for where we’re headed and what we’re about to do,” Lanning said. “They believed in what we wanted to accomplish. Really, this is all about our players. Our players had a buy‐in. They knew what the goal was and what to accomplish. We’re going to build off that in the future, and they really set the stage for that.”
And Lanning is anxious to see what next year’s group can do with the baseline set by the 2023 squad.
“The great thing about football is every team has an individual identity in itself. What these guys built, they created a legacy and created a tradition about what we expect and our standard of play,” Lanning said. “But the reality is, it has nothing to do with next season. It’s going to be about the next group, going back to the fundamentals and starting from scratch. Starting from zero and figuring out exactly what we have.
“But they certainly put the building blocks down for what it means to be an Oregon football player and an Oregon football team.”
Tez Johnson said in the postgame that Oregon hopes to “shock the world” next season when the College Football Playoff expands to 12 teams. Depending on who decides to come back, Oregon could walk into its new league as a favorite to win the thing.
Regardless, Oregon will be expected to compete right away.
“We was the best team in the Pac-12,” Johnson said. “And always will be.”
Added Lanning: “I think Oregon has cemented itself as a premier program in college football. I’ll say, more than anything, certainly grateful for some of the great games that exist in the Pac. But probably just as excited about what’s happening in the future for us, where we’re headed, the direction we’re headed, the clarity, what that brings.”