Rece Davis was incredibly complimentary of Oregon head coach Dan Lanning on Friday when he met with local reporters in Salt Lake City.

Davis and the rest of the College GameDay crew are on Utah’s campus for Saturday’s top-15 showdown between the Ducks and the Utes. It’ll be the second appearance on GameDay this season for Oregon; Lanning is hoping for a different result this time around.

Asked if this was a must-win spot for Lanning, whose aggressive tendencies were criticized after the UW loss, Davis pushed back.

“It’s pretty early in his career to start giving him the must-wins,” Davis said. “I think he’s shown every quality that you want in a head coach and a guy who’s able to lead a major program and lead them to huge heights.”

Lanning went for three fourth-downs in the Washington loss in Week 7. Oregon failed to convert all three of them. Twice, Oregon turned down field goals in the red zone. Lanning took flak for the decisions but hasn’t backed down from them.

Davis likened the reaction to Oregon’s fourth-down failures to that of a basketball team that misses a game-winning shot at the end. Ball goes in the hoop, good team. Ball clanks off the rim, bad team.

“Field goal goes in, we go to overtime, maybe they win, (the conversation becomes) Dan Lanning, holy cow, he’s the best coach in America,” Davis said.

The GameDay host is a big believer in Lanning nonetheless.

“I think he’s got every characteristic that you want for an elite coach,” Davis said. “So, does he need to win (against Utah)? Well, yeah because they want to win championships. But in terms of it being some referendum on whether he’s going to win the big one, I don’t think there’s any doubt they’re gonna win a lot of big ones as long as he’s the coach.”