Oregon wide receiver Jalen Brown announces he will transfer

Oregon wide receiver Jalen Brown announces he will transfer

Oregon wide receiver Jalen Brown announced today via Twitter (below) that he plans to transfer after three seasons with the Ducks. 

The redshirt junior stated that he has received permission from Oregon to seek another program to join but also stated that he planned to remain at Oregon until June in order to graduate in three years.

Graduating would allow Brown to transfer to another FBS program without sitting out a season. However, if he waits until June to do so he would miss attending spring drills with his new team, which probably wouldn't help him in terms of earning more playing time with a new team than he would with Oregon in 2017. 

Brown caught 19 passes for 318 yards and three touchdowns in 2016, and also threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Darren Carrington. Brown in 2015 caught seven receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown as a redshirt freshman. 

With Devon Allen (injury) and Dwayne Stanford (graduation) moving on, Brown is in effect the team's No. 3 receiver behind redshirt senior Darren Carrington II and senior Charles Nelson.  That pecking order sets up Brown to potentially be the Ducks' No. 1 receiver in 2017.

Former four-star recruits, sophomore Dillon Mitchell and redshirt sophomore Alex Ofodile round out the projected top five for 2017.

Without Brown, Mitchell and Ofodile would see increased roles. Ofodile caught one pass for eight yards last season while Mitchell had two receptions for nine yards, but did display skills as a punt returner last in the season. 

Oregon coach Willie Taggart addresses workouts, strength coach following controversy

Oregon coach Willie Taggart addresses workouts, strength coach following controversy

Oregon coach Willie Taggart characterized the workouts his team conducted last Friday that led to three players being hospitalized as "warm-ups" designed to get the team ready for the more difficult tasks ahead during winter conditioning.

They were not, Taggart said, "military-style," treacherous and dangerous workouts that many painted them out to be after the story, first reported on Monday by The Oregonian/OregonLive.com, became a national topic of conversation and sparked discussion and conversation over player safety in college football.   

Redshirt freshman tight end Cam McCormick, redshirt senior offensive lineman Doug Brenner and redshirt freshman offensive lineman Sam Poutasi were sent to Springfield PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at Riverbend last Friday evening after experiencing symptoms of Rhabdomyolysis hours after completing a 6 a.m. workout during winter conditioning. 

The narrative left Taggart exasperated. The last thing, he said, that he and his staff would ever do is endanger players. What occurred, according to Taggart, was an unfortunate incident that has been blown out of proportion.  

“People are convinced that we’re (dumb) and don’t care about our players,” Taggart said. “We want our fan base to know that we do.”

The controversy that found its way into newspapers and onto websites and television networks across the nation abruptly ended what for Taggart had been about as good of a first month on a job as anyone could ever hope for. 

Taggart, hired on Dec. 7 to replace Mark Helfrich, hit the recruiting trail running by landing commitments within weeks, he assembled what appears to be a dynamic coaching staff, and he successfully rebranded the program, replacing "Win the Day" with "Do Something."

Then, in as much time as it takes to do a push up, Taggart found himself being forced to defend the workout regimen in question put forth by his strength and conditioning coach, Irele Oderinde.

Oregon on Tuesday suspended Oderinde for a month, and Taggart and UO athletic director Rob Mullens released statements in which Taggart took responsibility for the situation while Mullens emphasized that the University holds the well-being of its students in high regard.

All three players are expected to recover. Brenner has already been released. What happened was certainly unfortunate. The question is, was anyone at fault?

--- Introductory workouts

Oregon began winter conditioning last week. Workouts conducted by Oderinde were held last Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. 

The idea, Taggart said, was to ease the players out of winter break with workouts that didn't consist of running or weight lifting. Oregon missed a bowl game last season for the first time since 2004. That meant that returning players had an extra full month off from structured football activities that they weren't used to having. Their season ended with a loss at Oregon State on Nov. 26.

Typically Oregon's seasons end around the first of the year with a bowl game appearance. 

“We knew our guys weren’t in shape so we didn’t put them in the weight room or run them, or anything” Taggart said. “We’re going to build up to that. It all started with pushups and sit-ups.”

Oderinde used the same workouts under Taggart at South Florida and Western Kentucky. Oderinde played at WKU when Taggart was an assistant there from 1999 through 2006. Oderinde later worked as a strength coach at WKU during Taggart's tenure as the Hilltoppers head coach. By the time Oderinde made it to USF under Taggart in 2014, the strength coach had nearly 10 years of experience, according to the Bulls' website, with previous stops at West Virginia, South Carolina and Notre Dame

The workout sessions, which included planks, were designed to last 45 minutes with the team broken up into three groups with start times of 6 a.m., 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.  Workouts were extended if players didn't use proper technique and/or didn't follow directions, according to Taggart. Punishment involved up downs as a group even if one player botched the workout.

“The whole team is held accountable,” Taggart said. “Then they go back to pushups and sit-ups and do it right. It’s more about just teaching guys the details and how we’re going to do things the right way.”

During last year’s 4-8 season, which led to the firing of Helfrich, players slacked in some areas, namely preparation and attention to detail. Taggart has told the team that those days are over.

Reestablishing accountability, however, does not involve cruelty, according to Taggart. 

Players, Taggart said, were given breaks and allowed to get water whenever needed. Then they could resume the workouts when they were ready to do so.

“No one expected everyone to make it and do them all,” Taggart said.

For that reason, according to Taggart, coaches did not order players to continue working past their limitations. Only vocal encouragement was involved. 

“Coach O doesn’t even work that way,” Taggart said. “He’s not even that kind of guy. He doesn’t yell, he doesn’t do any of that stuff.”

Many players, Taggart said, took advantage of the ability to take breaks when they reached their max. In fact, Taggart said, coaches knew that many players wouldn’t finish the workouts. Some assistant coaches and trainers were present for the workouts. 

“We had some guys struggling,” Taggart said. “We had some guys sit out and not finish.”

--- Overdoing it

The scene involving Brenner, Poutasi and McCormick, Taggart said, did not involve the players passing out on the field and having to be rushed to the hospital. 

According to Taggart, the hospitalized players participated in a 6 a.m. session on Friday (the fourth day of the workouts) then went to classes, and carried out the rest of their day before returning to the football complex for dinner.

It was then that Taggart said the three players complained about not feeling right and that their urine was dark, a symptom of Rhabdomyolysis. The condition, described on Webmd.com, is a rare and serious side effect caused by the breakdown of muscle tissue to the point where it could lead to permanent paralysis, and can cause serious kidney damage. Symptoms include muscle aches and dark-colored urine.

Extreme muscle strain can be a cause and it can become more dangerous if there is more muscle mass to breakdown. Brenner is listed at 320 pounds. Poutasi is 315. McCormick is 240.

Those suffering Rhabdomyolysis can experience muscle pain and have trouble moving their limbs. A product of muscle breakdown is creatine kinase, an enzyme found in the muscles. which can increase in the blood stream. Normal CK levels for a male over 18 is between 52 to 336 units per liter of blood. A marathon runner can reach into the low thousands. According to sources, the players hospitalized had CK levels well over 60,000.

Taggart praised head trainer Kevin Steil for recognizing the problem and responding the way that he did by examining the players and then having them taken to the hospital where they could receive intravenous fluids. Taggart visited them at the hospital.  

One potential cause of what happened is that the players were not properly hydrated before the workouts. Also, the players, pushed themselves too hard.

“A lot of that comes with wanting to impress the new coaches,” Taggart said. “But all of the trainers were out there. It wasn’t like coach ‘O’ was out there just beating them down. You’ve got certified trainers out there with them.”

Trainers are required by the NCAA to be beholden to the department and not a specific team. This prevents coaches from hiring their own trainers and then influencing them to overlook workouts or injuries that might put an athlete’s health at risk.

One veteran player, speaking anonymously, said he enjoyed and completed the workouts. He added that they were clearly designed to test the will of the players but stated that there was no pressure to complete the tasks beyond one’s limits. If a player reached their max, they could stop. 

Taggart said it was made clear to the team that players were not going to win starting jobs in January and to take care of themselves as they push through a new regimen of workouts they were not used to.

“We want you to go hard but not to a limit that you’re going to kill yourself,” Taggart said.

While some players backed off, Brenner, Poutasi and McCormick did not.

“These guys were tough guys and wanted to show the coaches,” Taggart said. “That’s probably what was part of the problem. They didn’t want to be the guy that quit. There were other guys that quit and they didn’t want to so they probably pushed themselves to a limit that they shouldn’t have.”

Moving forward, Taggart said his staff must do a better job of making sure players are properly hydrated, something he said was routinely emphasized, and explaining to players that they shouldn’t feel pressured to push themselves too far beyond their physical limits. 

A narrative floating around that the hospitalized players were too “soft” or "out of shape" bothers Taggart. 

“Those guys finished the workout,” Taggart said. "Others did not. The fact that those guys finished like that, it says lot about them. I hate that they had to go to the hospital, but it says a lot about them.”

Some fans on social media have stated that the hospitalization of players following the first week of winter workouts further proves that Ducks were slacking under Helfrich. Taggart doesn’t agree.

“That’s a bunch of baloney,” Taggart said. “People are going to have their opinions. It’s just different philosophies on workouts. I hate it because when they call our guys ‘soft,’ they are calling me soft too.”

Nobody, Taggart said, is being labeled as anything other than trying to get in shape for a long season ahead.

--- #FREECOACHO

Taggart said players seemed to enjoy the workouts and were excited to get back out there for more. That statement is supported by their reaction to the controversy through social media.

“They are ticked off because they were enjoying the workouts,” Taggart said. “Even the guys that were in the hospital.”

Several players took to Twitter to support Oderinde, whom some refer to as “Coach O," and started a #FreeCoachO hashtag. 

Junior cornerback Ugo Amadi Tweeted that the workouts weren't nearly as difficult as the media made them out to be. 

Redshirt junior safety Mattrell McGraw also defended Oderinde.

“The response that they have given, to me, says a lot,” Taggart said. “They wouldn’t say that if it were someone that didn’t have their best interest at heart and was trying to kill them. He’s one of the best guys you’ll ever meet. He’s not military. He’s just a good dude.”

Taggart has gotten good results from Oderinde in the past.

“I trust him,” said Taggart. “I love what he did with our football team at South Florida and I know what he could do with our guys here. But now a good guy, a good strength coach is being portrayed as somebody just whipping our kids’ butts and that’s wrong.”

Former USF players certainly appear to support Oderinde, according to a recent report in the Tampa Bay Times.

Players said that nobody they ever played with under Taggart and Oderinde ever ended up in the hospital after a workout.

Former Bulls offensive lineman Mak Djulbegovic said to the Tampa Bay Times that Oderinde isn't “gonna make you do something that's not reasonable."

"Sure, it'll be very difficult," Djulbegovic continued, "but if you don't take the right steps to be ready for these things, you might wind up in the hospital as these kids found out. Hopefully they learned their lesson."

The goal is to make the team bigger and stronger beyond what they have been used to at Oregon. It’s not that the Ducks didn’t seek size under former football strength coach Jimmy Radcliffe, but the emphasis at many positions had been more about speed and stamina given the pace of the offense under former coaches Chip Kelly and Helfrich. 

Many UO players, sources say, are excited about the prospects of getting bigger, which could help increase their NFL potential. 

“Guys are saying they want to get bigger, they want to get stronger,” Taggart said.

Taggart said his philosophy is no better or worse than what was being done under Radcliffe, it’s just different. Clearly Oregon experienced great success in the recent past.

While a couple of player parents wondered if the workouts might have been over the top since three players went to the hospital, some told CSN, anonymously, that they and their sons didn’t have a problem with them and were excited to continue working with Oderinde.

A department source said there is no doubt in his mind that the coaching staff cares about the players and their well-being. He said that they talk about it as a group.

The ridicule, Taggart said, has come up on the recruiting trail.  Taggart said parents of recruits have asked assistants about what happened and he believes opponents have used the hospitalizations as fodder for negative recruiting.

“All they hear is a ‘military-style workout,’" Taggart said, "and so now everybody is saying ‘they don’t know what they’re doing, they are hurting the kids, they don’t care about the kids’ welfare,’ and it’s not like that. And again, that’s why our players were so upset because they are putting a negative spin on it.”

In the end, Taggart believes that the players will perform better after going through his staff’s plan, just as players did at Western Kentucky and South Florida.

"We believe in what we're doing," Taggart said. "It’s one of those unfortunate situations that we all can learn from."

 

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.