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Oregon Football

Torres' Take: Latest in Oregon Football & Recruiting

February 18, 2020

It’s been a bit of a hectic week in Oregon football and recruiting.

We saw Donté Williams head to USC and Mario Cristobal move quickly to replace him. There were rumors of one of Oregon’s 5-star signees wanting to go elsewhere. Plus, the Ducks are looking to extend head coach Mario Cristobal.

All that and more in this week’s Take.

Rod Chance

The news that cornerbacks coach Donté Williams was returning home to Los Angeles blew a big hole in the Ducks' coaching staff. Cristobal wasted no time in addressing that vacancy, hiring Minnesota's Rod Chance, who was with the Ducks in 2018.

As the cornerbacks coach with the Gophers, he led a secondary that picked off 14 passes last season, good for second in the Big Ten. Overall, their passing defense went from 51st in the country to ninth, allowing only 184.2 yards per game.

Reportedly, Chance had been drawing interest from Group of Five schools as a defensive coordinator. Sources told ScoopDuckthat Chance had a lot of support internally from players and fellow coaches.

And while we're on the topic of cornerbacks…

Dontae Manning

There was a fair amount of smoke around Manning’s commitment following Williams' departure. I’m not sure how legitimate of a concern it was, or whether he was ever actually considering requesting a release from his national letter of intent.

I saw somewhere that Arizona State would have liked to have had him, but the Sun Devils didn’t have the room. Who wouldn’t want a 5-star cornerback?

However, the situation came to a swift resolution, as Manning tweeted out a picture and a video with Chance, solidifying his commitment to the Ducks. He is still expected to enroll in June, when he will join fellow 2020 5-stars Noah Sewell and Justin Flowe.

Cooper Petagna

The Ducks have hired Petagna as a recruiting assistant. As Jhopmentioned in his recent overview of Oregon's recruiting personnel, he will assist recruiting director Kenny Sanders and director of player personnel Thomas Arends.

Petagna will fill various roles, but clearly he will give the coaches more time to operate more efficiently and focus on the on-field product. Petagna had been the director of player personnel at Washington, and it never hurts to grab a staff member from one of your rivals.

Petagna helped the Huskies land the nation's No. 16 ranked class in 2020, and the No. 2 (yes Jimmy Lake, No. 2) class in the Pac-12behind the Oregon Ducks. It looks like Cristobal has made another savvy addition to this staff.

Mario Cristobal extension

As you would expect, Oregon is working on a contract extension for the head man.

Coming off a nine-win season in 2018, the Ducks gave Cristobal a one-year extension. Now, after rattling off 12 wins and capping it off with a Rose Bowl victory, Cristobal's worth has skyrocketed.

According to John Canzano of The Oregonian, “Discussions are ongoing” with regard to a long-term contract. Cristobal’s 2019 base salary is $2.6 million, per NBC Sports Northwest, just the 56th-highest in college football – although he earned more than $1 million in incentive payments.

Some scratched their heads when Oregon promoted Cristobal from offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator to head coach following Willie Taggart’s untimely departure in 2018. Since then, however, Oregon has experienced historic results when judged both on victories on the gridiron and the recruiting trail.

Cristobal's résumé now includes a 9-4 season with a Redbox Bowl win and a 12-2 campaign that included Pac-12 and Rose Bowl championships. Off the field, Cristobal's staff signed the No. 7 class for 2019 and the No. 12 class in 2020 – oh, with a total of four 5-star signees.

We'll soon see how those accomplishments are converted to financial rewards. 

Miller Moss 

The Ducks made a new offer at quarterback last week: a 6-2, 197-pound 4-star (0.9713 per the 247Sports Composite) from always-stacked Bishop Alemany High in Mission Hills (Calif.).

Moss is ranked as the No. 7 player in California and the No. 8 pro-style QB in 2021. The Under ArmourAll-American also holds offers from such schools as Alabama, Georgia, Miami and Tennessee (his current head coach is a Vol).

At this early stage, the 247 Sports Crystal Ball has him slated to choose California, with the Bears receiving 40% of predictions. The Ducks already have a solid running back in the fold in 4-star Seven McGee, but they’ll want to get their quarterback on board sooner than later.

The next step is getting Moss on campus for a visit.

The coaching carousel

This was just one topic that I was particularly fascinated in from last week’s ScoopDuckpodcast. With recruits able to sign their letters of intent in December, how does that affect the recruiting process, as well as how coaches make hires?

We saw Mel Tucker bolt for the head coaching position in East Lansing after just one 5-7 season in Colorado. It's a situation that never would have occurred had it not been for Mark Dantonio’s sudden and unexpected retirement.

It just made me think: What can the NCAA do to prevent these kinds of situations from happening? Tucker inked his 2020 class after telling the team and its boosters that he wasn’t going to be leaving, and yet now he’s got a new job. We saw the same thing happen with Oregon in 2018 when Taggart bolted for his dream job in Tallahassee.

Where is the line drawn for recruits to request to get out of their signed commitments? Is it when a position coach leaves, or does some other, more significant shakeup have to take place?

What I do know is there are many more restrictions on players leaving than coaches, and there needs to be something to hold coaches more accountable. There seem to be more and more coaching moves every year, illustrating how college football is a big business.

Luckily for Oregon fans, it appears Mario Cristobal is in it for the long run, but think about other programs across the country. What are their staffs and players supposed to do when their head coach hangs them out to dry?

There doesn’t appear to be one simple answer, but higher contract buyouts are certainly a start. Interested to see what you the readers have to say on the topic.

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