With Scott Frost moving on to run his own show at Central Florida, many people wondered, including those in Eugene, what was next for the Ducks. Many thought for some reason that this current era of Oregon success would be over.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Frost did an incredible job in his three seasons as offensive coordinator after Chip Kelly moved on to the NFL and Mark Helfrich was slotted into his seat. The former Nebraska quarterback seamlessly transitioned into the OC chair after spending four seasons as the wide receivers coach. Frost was able to continue the fast pace, high-octane offense and oversaw Marcus Mariota’s progress that eventually landed him the Heisman Trophy.
This isn’t the first time the Ducks has seen an offensive coordinator leave and it won’t be the last. Everything is going be okay in Eugene.
Oregon’s success is predicated on consistency in the coaching staff, good recruiting and great facilities. Frost has been gone for two weeks now, but those three things are still at Oregon.
The Ducks have had a nice relationship with the United States Armed Forces and like the military, Oregon likes to promote from within. Next man up, as they say.
Since the offensive and defensive staffs are a group effort, wide receivers coach Matt Lubick will be filling in for Frost for the Alamo Bowl, and he’s the favorite to get the now vacant OC job.
Lubick has been a coach at several different schools such as Duke, Arizona State and Oregon State. He has 18 years of coaching experience, including the last two at Oregon, so he kind of knows what he’s doing. Of course, that’s an understatement.
Lubick also has the blessing of some key players such as Bralon Addison and Darren Carrington. That will definitely help his chances moving forward.
Many around Eugene and the Pac-12 are saying the Alamo Bowl will be Lubick’s “audition” for the job. In some ways, that may be correct, but Helfrich is smart enough to know that Lubick’s career path at Oregon shouldn’t hinge on 60 minutes of football.
The audition began as soon as Frost left.
How does Lubick prepare for practice? How does he get his players ready for practice? How does he break down a defense in the film room? How does he relate to his players? Do the players understand him or respect him?
Helfrich most likely already knows the answers to these questions, but those answers will be magnified in bowl preparation.
Of course Helfrich is going to pay attention to Lubick’s play calling abilities on Jan. 2, but one gets the feeling that Lubick is going to win the job, if he’s going to win it, way before the Ducks kick off in San Antonio against TCU.
For those outside of the program, play calling is all they will look at. Did Oregon score 50 points? Did they win? Was Lubick inventive or daring in his play calling? Those are the kind of things outsiders will look at.
Lubick is not going to get the job because Oregon wins. And if the Ducks lose, that still doesn’t mean Lubick won’t get the job. Sure if they get shutout and Lubick gets the job, some eyebrows will be raised. But that’s not going to happen.
The Ducks, believe it or not, have more important issues to tend to after the bowl game than whether or not Lubick is the offensive coordinator.
Oregon has a defense that desperately needs fixing and it’ll have some quarterback issues to resolve. The Ducks will eventually need to develop a quarterback in their own system instead of relying on senior transfers from FCS schools.
Maybe that will be Lubick’s primary job requirement in getting the job. Not calling a timely reverse or halfback pass against the Horned Frogs.