Quirky Uniforms, Great Facilities & Hurry-Up Offense No Longer Unique Attractions
There was a time when 4-7 was the norm, and 6-5 was a good season.
Then along came Rich Brooks, then Mike Bellotti, then Chip Kelly and then, well, Mark Helfrich.
The Ducks finished the 2016 season 4-8, which included losses the way it used to dish out wins (51-33 to Washington State, 45-20 to USC, 70-21 to Washington) and, perhaps worst off all, falling to Oregon State.
Head Coach Helfrish is not likely to survive and may even be gone by the time you read this post. Ducks fans are salivating over the possibility of bringing back Kelly, who has not proven to be a successful NFL coach.
Returns of coaches to college campuses rarely work, especially when that coach originally left to go to the NFL – just ask USC fans about John Robinson II . But even if Kelly is fully charged to turn things around and is not looking at this as a platform for another NFL job, can he or anyone return the mojo back to the Ducks and make Oregon, well Oregon, again?
After all, the things that made Oregon unique and appealing to hot high school recruits is no longer unique to Oregon.
Pretty much every school now runs some type of spread, hurry-up offense (even Alabama!), whacky uniforms and multiple color combinations are seen on most teams (thankfully NOT Alabama!) and athletic departments have gone all-out to have over-the-top locker rooms, training rooms and facilities.
Oregon even upgraded the cheerleaders to the point the school could challenge even the USC Song Girls for best-looking girls on the sidelines. And they are still outstanding.
The innovations Oregon brought to college football have been so successful, they have all been copied.
But without this uniqueness, that quirky approach to the game, what does Oregon bring to the table to entice top-flight recruits? An LED field? That was a nice April Fool’s joke last year put out by the school.
It does need something innovative to get the talent level up to where it was in the Bellotti and Kelly eras.
Because of its location, Oregon is a tough place to sell. It’s in the relatively remote Pacific Northwest (Eugene is an hour from Portland, the only “big” city in Oregon), it rains a lot and the capacity Autzen Stadium is just 54,000, a little more than half the size of the stadiums at Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, LSU, Tennessee, USC and several other major schools.
For the Ducks to again approach having a dynasty, they need more than a new coach. They need some new gadgets.