FootballSports

The Mario Cristobal era officially begins at Oregon



Exactly one year ago to the day, Willie Taggart was introduced as the Oregon head football coach. Now he’s the head coach at Florida State and, on Friday, Oregon introduced Mario Cristobal as its new football coach.

“I am honored to be here as the head football coach of the University of Oregon,” Cristobal opened with. “You’ll receive every ounce of effort, sweat, whatever it takes to make sure that our student athletes have the finest experience from an academic standpoint, from a football standpoint.”

Oregon and athletic director Rob Mullens acted quickly, officially hiring Cristobal three days after Taggart left.  After interviewing four candidates, the Ducks ultimately decided to promote within and hire their offensive line coach.

“It is true that many of our team members supported his hiring, but that would be an easy excuse to hire Mario,” Mullens said, referring to the Twitter movement #CristobAllIn that multiple Oregon players tweeted about after Taggart left. “I would not be doing my job, acting in the best interests of this university and this football team if I hired a new coach based on emotion or familiarity, and that is exactly why I am confident of this decision because it is so much more than that.”

Oregon hired Cristobal last season as its new offensive line coach. He came to Eugene from Alabama, regarded as a quality coach and recruiter, and now inherits a promising team with a solid staff and recruiting class.

“I expected incredible things,” Cristobal said, “and after being here a year, I can honestly say it has blown away my expectations.”

Many fans and members of the media were curious as to what coaches will remain on staff. Cristobal stated he wants to retain as many of the coaches as possible. He also stated that quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo will be the full-time play caller and offensive coordinator. Cristobal will continue to coach the offensive line.

“We’ve had tremendous progress this year,” he said. “The staff and the players are the most important part of the equation.”

One member of the staff that everyone has their eye on is defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt. He transformed Oregon’s defense from terrible to good, and there have already been multiple reports he is leaving to become the defensive coordinator at Florida State.

“We’re going to do everything possible to retain him, and obviously in this business, so many opportunities pop up for guys that you’ve got to continue to course, do your best and let it play out,” Cristobal said.

There is no rest for the weary. After a whirlwind, Cristobal and his staff have to prepare for a bowl game just over a week away. The Ducks play Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 16, and four days after that there is a signing period for recruits.

But, Cristobal said it best.

“If you rest, you’re going to be left behind, even if it’s for a day.”

Cristobal also got an endorsement from an old friend.

Follow Jack Butler on Twitter @Butler917


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Jack Butler

Jack Butler

I am the sports editor for the Daily Emerald. I cover football and basketball. Email me at [email protected]