Alabama OL coach Mario Cristobal could be headed to Oregon

Alabama OL coach Mario Cristobal could be headed to Oregon

Alabama offensive line coach Mario Cristobal could become Oregon's new offensive coordinator and/or offensive line coach, according to a source.

It's unclear if Cristobal, if he accepts a position with Oregon, would handle both duties or just one after new Oregon coach Willie Taggart's coaching staff completely shakes out.

As of now, Taggart has hired three offensive assistants, Donte Pimpleton (running backs), Jimmie Daughtery (wide receivers) and David Reeves (tight ends), who has not yet been formally announced by Oregon. 

It would appear unlikely that Cristobal would go from coaching offensive line at Alabama to taking the same position at Oregon. On Alabama's website, he is listed as the "Assistant head coach/tackles and tight end/recruiting coordinator."

It makes more sense that the former Florida International head coach would make the leave for Oregon if he were to become the Ducks' offensive coordinator.

According to a source, Cristobal's name has been floated around the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex as a likely coaching candidate at Oregon. Furthermore, FootballScoop.com reported last week that Cristobal is fielding offers from programs, including a potential job as offensive line coach at Florida under coach Jim McElwain, who was a top target of Oregon's after it fired Mark Helfrich on Nov. 29. The report also stated that Taggart has offered Cristobal a "senior position" with the Ducks that would include coaching offensive line.

It's possible Cristobal could become Oregon's offensive line coach with the added title of "assistant head coach." But someone must coordinate the offense and Taggart is running out of coaching positions.

Cristobal would be a fantastic addition to the coaching staff and certainly could help the Ducks recruit the fertile grounds that Alabama has feasted on under coach Nick Saban, going for his fifth national title with the Crimson Tide tonight.  

Just to be clear, nothing concrete has been reported regarding Cristobal heading to  Oregon. But according to source information and the reports that are out there, the Ducks appear to be in serious play to land Cristobal's services. 

If they aren't, then Taggart must have mystery candidates under wraps to coach offensive line and be the offensive coordinator.  Nola.com reported last month that the Taggart had been in contact with LSU wide receivers coach Dameyune Craig to potentially become the Ducks' offensive coordinator. Last week, 247sports reported the same thing

But if Craig were the top target for offensive coordinator, why hasn't it happened yet? Waiting on Cristobal is more logical given that his team has one more game tonight. 

Cristobal, who reportedly has strong recruiting ties in Florida where he played at the University of Miami, has spent the past four seasons at Alabama, helping it win the national title last season. 

Before coaching at Alabama, Cristobal spent six seasons as the head coach at Florida International where he had a record of 27-27. 

Cristobal, a Miami native, lettered four years at Miami from 1988-92 while playing under Jimmie Johnson and Dennis Erickson. The Hurricanes won two national titles during Cristobal's career, in 1989 and 1991. After college, Cristobal signed as a free agent with the Denver Broncos in 1994 and played for the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe in 1995 and 1996.

Cristobal's Coaching Career

1998-2000: Miami, graduate assistant.

2001-2002: Rutgers, offensive tackles/tight ends.

2003: Rutgers, offensive line.

2004-2005: Miami, tight ends.

2006: Miami, offensive line

2007-2012: Florida International, head coach (27-47 record).

2013-present: Alabama, offensive line.

No. 11 Oregon chasing history; win 86-63 over Cal

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No. 11 Oregon chasing history; win 86-63 over Cal

How Oregon won: No. 11 Oregon made itself very comfortable from the three-point line tonight. The Ducks went 11-of-24 collectively as a team from three-point range behind the hot hand of junior guard Casey Benson's 5-of-5, 100 percent from the arc. No. 11 Oregon (17-2, 6-0 Pac-12) earned its 15th straight win with a 86-63 victory over the Cal Bears (13-6, 4-3 Pac-12).

"I've been saying it all along, if we take good ones, you know I thought we were better than what we were showing from the three," said Oregon coach Altman on his team's three-point percentage tonight. "I don't think we are going to be a 45 percent team, but we can shoot 40 [percent]. So it was a really good night for us. Casey [Benson] going 5-for-5 was really great." 

All eyes were on junior forward Dillon Brooks towards the end of the first half, but this time around was a different feeling. With 45 seconds remaining in the first half, junior forward Dillon Brooks left the court and headed for the locker room. He did not come back out with the team to warm up after halftime for what seemed to be a left foot injury. Brooks injured the same foot and was out for a few games at the beginning of the season. Still no word as to his condition or status for Stanford or beyond.

What it means: With this win, the Ducks are chasing history one step at a time. First of all, Oregon has now seven consecutive winning seasons. The last time this occured was 77 years ago (1934-1940). Second, this win extends Oregon's home win streak to 37, second in the nation behind Kansas (49 games). And third, the Ducks now sit on a 15-game win streak, which ties the longest in all-time Oregon program history. 

Key sequence: At 17:22 in the first half, it was Casey Benson's time to shine. It may seem simple, but Benson hit back-to-back huge three-pointers to extend the Ducks lead 16-12. But these two shots did more than just increase the score. Oregon rode the energy Benson brought off the bench and sparked a 9-3 run including a monster dunk from senior forward Chris Boucher to get him going as well. 

High flying Ducks: Off the bench, Benson demonstrated his leadership right away replacing Pritchard (foul trouble). Benson hit two quick three-pointers (both assists from Ennis), and wan't afraid to get physical under the hoop knocking the ball away from the Bears' big guys. Benson finished with 15 points on a perfect 5-of-5 from three-point range. Sophomore guard Tyler Dorsey was fearless driving to the hoop and either getting himself to the free throw line (he went 7-of-9) or dished out six assists. Tonight's MVP was junior forward Jordan Bell who finished with 26 points, six rebounds, two assists, and four blocks.  

Fowl play: Freshman guard Payton Pritchard got hit with two fouls early on and was forced to ride the bench most of the first half. Benson relieved him just three minutes into the game.

Up next: The Ducks host unranked Stanford (10-8, 2-4 Pac-12) for a mid-afternoon 3 p.m. start this Saturday at Matthew Knight Arena. 

Taggart finalizes staff with addition of Raymond Woodie

Taggart finalizes staff with addition of Raymond Woodie

Oregon football officially has a full staff.  Raymond Woodie will join Willie Taggart's staff as Oregon's special teams coordinator. Oregon assistant althetic director Andy MacNamara first reported the news on Oregon's Duck Insider radio show.

Last season, Woodie severed as defensive coordinator at Univeristy of South Florida. Woodie spent our seasons under Taggart at USF, and has been one of Taggart's long-time assistants, dating back to Western Kentucky in 2010-11.

Woodie is a native of Palmetto, Fla.

Pac-12 football schedule released: Oregon dates to circle, late bye and home stand

Pac-12 football schedule released: Oregon dates to circle, late bye and home stand

The Oregon football program will begin the Willie Taggart era in Autzen Stadium against against Southern Utah on Sept. 2. The Ducks round out preseason play against Nebraska at home on Sept. 9 and at Wyoming on Sept. 16. 

Now on to Oregon's Pac-12 conference schedule...

Due to the conference rotation, Oregon won't play USC and Colorado in 2017 and 2018. Colorado and USC finished first and second, respectively, in the Pac-12 South last season. 

Oregon's Pac-12 opener is at Arizona State on Sept. 23. The Ducks first home conference game is Sept. 30 against California.

The Ducks stay in Eugene to play Washington State on Oct. 7 before hitting the road for two straight road games at Stanford and then at UCLA.

Three out of Oregon's final four regular-season games are home, starting against Utah. 

Circle the next game in red, as the Ducks travel to Washington on Nov. 4 for their last road game. 

Oregon finishes the regular season against Arizona on Nov. 18 and Oregon State on Nov. 24. 

Sat 9/2 vs. Southern Utah
Sat 9/9 vs. Nebraska
Sat 9/16 @ Wyoming
Sat 9/23 @ Arizona State
Sat 9/30 vs. Cal
Sat 10/7 vs. WSU
Sat 10/14 @ Stanford
Sat 10/21 @ UCLA
Sat 10/28 vs. Utah
Sat 11/4 @ UW
Sat 11/18 vs. Arizona
Fri 11/24 vs. OSU
 

Oregon football strength and conditioning coach suspended following hospitalizations of three players

Oregon football strength and conditioning coach suspended following hospitalizations of three players

The following is a press release sent out by the University of Oregon today...

EUGENE – University of Oregon head football coach Willie Taggart today issued an apology on behalf of the coaching staff and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics following incidents reported over the weekend related to off-season conditioning training that began last week.

“I have visited with the three young men involved in the incidents in the past few days and I have been in constant contact with their families, offering my sincere apologies,” Taggart said. “As the head football coach, I hold myself responsible for all of our football-related activities and the safety of our students must come first. I have addressed the issue with our strength and conditioning staff, and I fully support the actions taken today by the university. I want to thank our medical staff and doctors for caring for all of our young men, and I want to apologize to the university, our students, alumni and fans.”  

“The university holds the health, safety and well-being of all of our students in high regard,” said Rob Mullens, UO director of athletics. “We are confident that these athletes will soon return to full health, and we will continue to support them and their families in their recoveries.”

After a review of events surrounding the training last week, the following has been determined:

Last Tuesday, football student-athletes began their off-season conditioning program after being away from football-related activities for six weeks. The workouts were supervised by the training staff and led by football strength and conditioning coach Irele Oderinde.

On Thursday, after three days of workouts, one student-athlete complained of muscle soreness and displayed other symptoms of potential exercise-related injury. The medical staff examined the student-athlete, and took appropriate action pursuant to team’s medical protocols.

The medical staff informed coaches and staff of the diagnosis. Two additional student-athletes were then identified with similar symptoms and staff responded to them, as well.

No other student-athletes have demonstrated negative effects at this time or have been admitted to the hospital.

As a result, Oderinde has been suspended without pay for one month, with Jim Radcliffe assuming the position on an interim basis. In addition, the head football strength and conditioning coach will no longer report to the head football coach but rather to Andrew Murray, the director of performance and sports science. All workouts moving forward have been modified.

 

Taggart announces David Reaves as co-offensive coordinator and passing-game coordinator

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Taggart announces David Reaves as co-offensive coordinator and passing-game coordinator

EUGENE, Ore. – Willie Taggart has named David Reaves the Ducks' co-offensive coordinator and passing-game coordinator. He will also coach tight ends at Oregon.
 
Reaves spent the previous four seasons at USF under Taggart, starting in 2013 as wide receivers coach and working his way up to associate head coach and tight ends coach in 2016, when the Bulls posted a program-best 11-2 record with seven conference victories. Reaves was promoted to the role of offensive coordinator and primary play caller for the Bulls' appearance in the Birmingham Bowl, leading the Bulls to a 46-39 overtime win over South Carolina with 469 yards of total offense.
 
Reaves took over as quarterbacks coach in 2014, and was elevated again in 2015 to co-offensive coordinator and passing game coordinator. In that role, Reaves helped sophomore quarterback Quinton Flowers set a USF record with 22 passing touchdowns to go along with a team-best 3,287 yards of total offense and 34 total touchdowns.
 
Prior to USF, Reaves spent a year as an instructor at the premier training facility at IMG Academy, working with top athletes at the professional, collegiate and prep levels. With 10 years of experience as a collegiate assistant coach, Reaves went to IMG after two years at New Mexico, working first in 2010 as quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator before adding offensive coordinator to his title in 2011.
 
Reaves got his break in college coaching in 2002 after spending a year as assistant head coach at Tampa Catholic High School, joining South Carolina as a graduate assistant in the first of seven seasons under head coaching legends Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier. After two years as a graduate assistant, Reaves was elevated to defensive backs coach in 2004 and then assistant quarterbacks coach in 2005. Reaves added recruiting coordinator to his title in 2006, and then was promoted to quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator in 2007 and 2008. Reaves helped lead the Gamecocks to more than 3,000 yards passing and 258.2 passing yards per game in 2007.
 
Reaves then spent the 2009 season as quarterbacks coach at Tennessee before going to New Mexico in 2010. While in Knoxville, Reaves led a passing game that accounted for 2,942 yards and 28 touchdowns while mentoring Jonathan Crompton, who was drafted in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers.
 
A native of Tampa, Fla., Reaves was a standout quarterback at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, S.C., graduating in 1997. He went on to become team captain and a three-year starter at quarterback for Appalachian State, where he helped lead the Mountaineers to three straight national playoff berths.
 

No.11 Oregon hosts Cal with streaks on line as schedule toughens

No.11 Oregon hosts Cal with streaks on line as schedule toughens

Riding a 14-game winning streak and the second-longest active home winning streak in the NCAA (36 games), No.11 Oregon hosts Cal on Thursday. 

Oregon (16-2 overall, 5-0 Pac-12) has certainly found momentum, as the Ducks have beaten their past four opponents by an average of 26.5 points. However, those four opponents (Oregon State, Washington State, Washington, USC) all place in the bottom half of the Pac-12 Conference. 

The Golden Bears, currently at fourth-place, are coming off a big weekend of their own. Cal (13-5, 4-2) swept Washington and Washington State at home, including a last minute win over the Cougars. 

The question that looms... Can the Ducks continue to dominate during a tougher stretch of their schedule? After Cal, Oregon hosts Stanford, which also swept the Washington schools last weekend, before traveling to fifth-place Utah on Jan. 26. 

A quick look at the game:

Oregon vs. Washington

Where: Matthew Knight Arena, Eugene, Ore. 

When: 6:05 p.m., Thursday January 19, 2017.

TV: ESPN2. 

Records: Ducks (16-2 overall, 5-0 Pac-12), Golden Bears (13-5, 4-2). 

Last outings: Oregon defeated Oregon State in record fashion, 85-43, at home. Cal snuck by Washington State, 58-54. 

Coaches: UO's Dana Altman (170-66 at Oregon, 580-309 Division I). Oregon’s next victory will secure Altman’s 20th straight winning season. Cal's Cuonzo Martin (54–31 at Cal, 178-113 overall).

Key Ducks: G Tyler Dorsey, 6-4, So., (12.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg, .391 3FG pct.), G Dylan Ennis, 6-2, Sr., (11.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.6 apg), G Payton Pritchard, 6-2, Fr., (8.3 ppg, 3.6 apg), F Jordan Bell, 6-9, Jr., (10.2 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.2 bpg), F Dillon Brooks, 6-7, Jr., (13.6 ppg, 2.5 rpg), F Chris Boucher, 6-10, Sr., (13.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.9 bpg).

Key Bears: F Ivan Rabb, 6-11, So. (15.6 ppg, 11.1 rpg), G Charlie Moore, 5-11, Fr., (14.6 ppg, 3.1 apg), G Jabari Bird, 6-6, Sr. (13.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg).

Notes: Important program milestones; the next Oregon victory will guarantee its seventh-straight winning season (which hasn't happened since 1934-40), an Oregon victory will also tie the programs' all-time winning streak of 15 games. 

Official: Taggart adds Mario Cristobal as co-offensive coordinator and run-game coordinator

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Official: Taggart adds Mario Cristobal as co-offensive coordinator and run-game coordinator

Oregon football has officially released the hiring of Alabama's Mario Cristobal. CSNNW reported last week that Cristobal was heading to Oregon.

Here is the official release. 

EUGENE, Ore. – Willie Taggart announced the addition Mario Cristobal as the Ducks' co-offensive coordinator and run-game coordinator on Tuesday. He will also coach the offensive line at Oregon.

Cristobal spent the last four seasons at Alabama as the assistant head coach and offensive line coach, helping the Crimson Tide to the National Championship after the 2015 season, as well as a runner-up finish following this past season. Cristobal's offensive line ranked in the top 25 nationally in sacks allowed in each of his first two seasons, and in 2016 helped pave the way for the nation's 11th-best rushing attack (246.7 ypg) and produced SEC Offensive Player of the Year Jalen Hurts.

Alabama's offensive lines produced a plethora of standout players and NFL draft picks under Cristobal, including first-team All-American and 2015 first-round draft pick Ryan Kelly and 2014 freshman All-American Cam Robinson, who went on to win the Outland Trophy in Crisobal's final year with Alabama.

Cristobal came to Oregon with a reputation as a top recruiter. He was named the National Recruiter of the Year by 247Sports in the 2015 cycle, and was ranked as the nation's No. 2 recruiter in the country by 247Sports at the time of his hiring based on the final haul he brought to Alabama.
 
Prior to joining Nick Saban's staff at Alabama, Cristobal spent six seasons (2007-12) as the head coach at Florida International, solidifying his standing as one of the country's top young college football coaches and recruiters. Cristobal led the Panthers to the most successful year in program history in 2011, capturing a program-record eight wins, including a road win at eventual co-Big East Champion Louisville. Cristobal was named the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year in 2010 after leading FIU to its first Sun Belt Conference championship and a bowl victory over MAC champion Toledo, and he finished his FIU career having produced NFL talents such as T.Y. Hilton and Jonathan Cyprien.

Cristobal coached at Miami (Fla.), his alma mater, under Larry Coker for three years before accepting the head job at FIU, working as tight ends coach for the 2004 and 2005 seasons and coaching multiple tight ends that turned into NFL draft picks, including first-round pick and All-Pro Greg Olsen. In 2006, Cristobal took over a Miami offensive line that featured four new starters and saw a 39 percent decrease in sacks allowed from the previous season (36 to 22).

Cristobal spent three years (2001-03) at Rutgers under head coach Greg Schiano, working with the offensive tackles and tight ends for the first two seasons before shifting his focus solely to the offensive line in 2003. Cristobal was a critical factor in Rutgers' resurgence to competitiveness and helped lay the foundation in recruiting and coaching for a program that went from obscurity to college football's upper echelon in a matter of five years. Cristobal helped Rutgers to a 5-7 mark in 2003, the school's best record since 1998. One of Cristobal's most accomplished pupils was tight end L.J. Smith, the Philadelphia Eagles' second-round pick in the 2003 NFL Draft.

Cristobal began his coaching career in 1998 as a graduate assistant at Miami, working with the Hurricanes for three seasons under Butch Davis. He joined the Hurricanes' staff six years after finishing a four-year playing career at Miami as a standout offensive lineman under Hall of Fame coach Jimmy Johnson. Cristobal was a first-team All-Big East selection in 1992 and helped the Hurricanes to a pair of national championships (1989, 1991).

A native of Miami and a prep standout at Christopher Columbus High School, Cristobal graduated from Miami in 1993 with a bachelor's degree in business administration and later earned a master's degree from Miami in 2001. Following his college career, Cristobal signed a free-agent contract with the Denver Broncos in 1994 and then played for the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe in 1995 and 1996.

Willie Taggart starts his tenure at UO with the wrong kind of publicity

Willie Taggart starts his tenure at UO with the wrong kind of publicity

If you haven't read the story today about three Oregon football players being hospitalized after a series of off-season strength and conditioning workouts, you should.  It's getting play all over the country.

Rhabdomyolysis is nothing to be trivialized. And neither is pushing players to such physical danger zones about eight months before their next football game. I thought that kind of stuff went out in the 1960s -- coaches pushing players beyond limits just to "toughen them up."

Obviously, the strength and conditioning coach here should be questioned about his methods. All players should be evaluated by physicians before starting such programs and allowances have to be made for every single player's level of conditioning or special physical problems. I have no idea what was done in this case but three players landing in a hospital is an indication that something was amiss.

And it all falls on the shoulders of Taggart, who as the head coach is responsible for everything in the program. I saw this story discussed on four different national sports shows of various ilks Tuesday and all of them put the program in a negative light.

Taggart has some work to do.

 

Sources: Former Oregon offensive line coach Steve Greatwood headed to Cal

Sources: Former Oregon offensive line coach Steve Greatwood headed to Cal

Former Oregon offensive line coach Steve Greatwood will join new California coach Justin Wilcox's staff, according to sources. 

Greatwood spent 27 of his 37-year coaching career at Oregon with 24 years devoted to coaching the offensive line.  He and the rest of Oregon's assistant coaches lost their jobs when former Ducks' coach Mark Helfrich was fired last Nov. 29. 

Greatwood began his career at Oregon as a graduate assistant in 1980 before becoming a full-time assistant in 1982. He coached offensive linemen and tight ends from 1982 to 1993 before becoming strictly the offensive line coach in 1994. That season the Ducks won the Pac-10 Conference championship under coach Rich Brooks. 

Brooks became the coach of the Los Angeles Rams the following season and took Greatwood with him to coach tight ends in 1995 and then offensive line in 1996. 

Greatwood then spent one year at Maryland and then two seasons at USC before landing back at Oregon in 2000 to coach defensive line. 

It was during Greatwood's time away from Oregon that Wilcox played defensive back for the Ducks from 1996 through 1999. However, Greatwood did coach Wilcox's brother, Josh Wilcox, who played tight end at Oregon from 1993 through 1996. 

Greatwood coached the Ducks defensive linemen until 2005 when he returned to coaching the offensive line throughout the rest of his career at Oregon. Along the way he helped mold offensive lines that helped the Ducks win four conference championships, win two Rose Bowls and appear in two national title games.

He did one of his best coaching jobs in 2014 when the Ducks reached the national title game. Along the way, Greatwood dealt with several injuries that forced him to juggle lineups in order to keep Oregon's offense humming.

Greatwood produced seven offensive linemen during that stretch, Adam Snyder, Mark Asper, Geoff Schwartz, Darrion Weems, Hroniss Grasu, Kyle Long and Jake Fisher. 

Those linemen helped pave the way for several great Oregon running backs, including Jonathan Stewart, LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner, De'Anthony Thomas and Royce Freeman. James, Freeman and Barner are Oregon's top three all-time leading rushers. 

Greatwood will be replaced at Oregon by Mario Cristobal. The former Alabama assistant will also operate as the Ducks offensive coordinator under new coach Willie Taggart.  

Greatwood leaves Oregon with a strong stable of offensive linemen, including four talented players who started in 2016 as redshirt freshmen. The group, which includes senior Tyrell Crosby, could be considered the most gifted group Oregon has ever had.