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All Ducks In A Line


What is the biggest lie in sports, in business?

“We’re taking another direction at this time.”

You hear it after failure stacked on failure grows too heavy.

It usually means someone just got fired.

In college football, it usually means the coach.

Ohio State took a new direction. Texas will take a new direction if the Longhorns play in another Alamo Bowl.

A closer look at Oregon shows a new coach heading the same direction as the last. And it’s working.

A hot coaching candidate needs a map. No one mistakes Rich Brooks for Lewis and Clark, but he laid down a path others have followed to Eugene.

The old Beaver moved from college coaching to high school, then back to college, the NFL, and finally Oregon. Coach Brooks took many directions, but they don’t feel new. He was on line toward the top of his game, and his assistants tracked him.

When you finish a coaching career in the SEC with a contract paying $1 million a year, like Brooks at Kentucky, ya done good.

Did Oregon take a new direction after the defensive minded Brooks? The Ducks had their new head coach in waiting running the offensive side of the ball.

Mike Bellotti stepped up and eclipsed his old boss, becoming the biggest winner in Oregon Duck football history. Score for the Baby Boomers among us.

The field at Autzen Stadium may be named for Rich Brooks, but Coach Bellotti turned the green turf to gold.

The transition from Bellotti to Kelly seems like the old coach took a new direction. Instead of going to the NFL, or another college, Bellotti moved into the Athletic Director’s office. As the coach of coaches, he cut a deal that set him up better than the NFL or SEC.

Records show Bellotti at the top of the Oregon Public Employee Retirement System. He did his part to quell the notion of dumb jock by leading the list ahead of doctors, lawyers, and college professors.

From one Offensive Coordinator to another, Chip Kelly was lightning in a bottle. His time in Eugene, like his offense, was a blur, a happy climb up the mountain of D1 football. From “Win The Day” to “Next Man Up,” Kelly left an imprint on Eugene, but didn’t change the chain of command.

From one OC to the next, Mark Helfrich strapped on the head coach head-set to guide the Ducks to further greatness. Like all Duck fans, he saw Auburn sneak away the National Championship, he saw the loss to Stanford. Is there a football observer anywhere who doubts the score if Notre Dame had played Oregon last year for the title instead of Alabama?

In the line of succession, Scott Frost is the next man up if he waits. It’s a comfort knowing things are in sure hands in Eugene. It’s almost like one season leading to another, from spring, to summer, to football, each with a special glory.

Duck fans can be happy knowing college football at Oregon makes sense. Instead of Oklahoma where coach Bob Stoops either hires from the Stoops family tree, or makes his assistants change their name like members of the late, great band, The Ramones, Oregon does neither.

Instead, coaches check into Eugene, build on the foundation set in place, and make a run to the top.

That’s a lesson for all of us.

(posted on Oregon Sports News)

About David Gillaspie
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