Embrace the Mantra
Chip Kelly’s departure from the Oregon Ducks‘ football program may have left a bit of uncertainty surrounding the program, but Mark Helfrich and his crew of Marcus Mariota and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu made sure to reassure the Pac-12 that the Ducks are here to stay.
Picked to win the conference yet again, many see Oregon as national title contenders as well despite Helfrich coming in as the new head coach.
Now that the allegations surrounding Oregon have been resolved and the skies are once again clear in Eugene, the Ducks are gearing up for another great season while cementing themselves as a national powerhouse.
Here’s a brief recap of Oregon’s time at the 2013 Pac-12 Media Day.
Heading into media day everybody knew what head coach Mark Helfrich was going to be asked: how are things going post-Kelly and how different is his philosophy from yours?
And, as expected, there were no surprises. All the media asked Helfrich had to do with his transition to the head coaching position. And, as anybody who follows the Oregon football program already knew, not much was going to be different.
“…we look at it as “the next guy up”,” said Helfrich of the transition. “…We’re going to talk the same, work the same, practice the same…we’re going to be innovative, attack, and get better in every facet of our program every year.”
He did mention, however, that there would be some changes.
“We’re going to tweak the margins; we have guys that grow up, get better. You have more wide-outs this year, tight ends this year.”
Changes that have already been hinted at, the increase in tight ends and wide receivers may lead to the Ducks looking to pass the ball more in the year to come. Helfrich also addressed this potential change.
“We want to score. We don’t care about the method,” said Helfrich. “If Ifo has a picksix, I’m all for that. If we throw it or run it or kick return it, I don’t care. We’re going to take advantage of what the defense gives us and they can dictate to a certain extent how the run game goes and obviously the play action pass and we have had success with that during our tenure, comes out of that.”
It was good to hear that Helfrich is sticking with the same offensive outlook as Kelly but will make a few adjustments as teams continue to try and stop the Oregon monster.
Heading into his second year as the starter of the Oregon offense, Marcus Mariota will be looking to lead the Ducks to a Pac-12 title while contending for a Heisman and numerous individual awards, himself. Boasting top speed and a remarkably powerful and accurate arm, Mariota has the looks of a superstar, and many would argue he already is. Yet his calm demeanor also lets you see that he is not an ego-maniac like some other players could be.
His demeanor was reflected in his time on the podium. Not really talking about his individual developments, Mariota addressed the conference in general, the other quarterbacks in the league, and the absence of USC on the Oregon schedule.
“…we’re looking forward to the opponents that we have this year and unfortunately we won’t be able to play SC,” mentioned Mariota when asked about the rivalry between Oregon and USC in recent years. “but if things work out maybe we will play them in the championship game.”
Not holding back the ultimate goal of of the program in 2013, Mariota’s calm demeanor will be huge in taming the Ducks’ offense and keeping them level-headed throughout the year.
All-in-all Oregon’s time on the podium was all it needed to be. It was a short introduction to Helfrich and a reiteration of their goals for 2013.
Looking ahead, the Ducks will surely contend for the Pac-12 title and perhaps a national title as well.