FootballSports

Mario Cristobal talks roster news, offseason workouts during opening fall press conference



Training camp for the 2018 Oregon football season begins on Friday, and head coach Mario Cristobal filled Thursday’s opening fall press conference with energy, enthusiasm, some roster news and statements.

As is tradition with college football head coaches, Cristobal opened by crediting the offseason training program for improving team strength strength and conditioning.

“The bodies have changed,” he said. “Not so much the cosmetic beach muscles. … More than anything, the amount of functional strength they’ve developed — increasing our mobility, flexibility, our ability to redirect, right? To make sure that we play with balance and body control.”

Cristobal inherited head coaching duties amid some chaos. Last December, the Ducks were preparing for the Las Vegas Bowl, the first ever early-signing period, and the emotional toll of Willie Taggart leaving the program.

But now, with spring practice over and a summer of workouts, culture building and recruiting, Cristobal feels prepared and ready to go.

“We’re in a rhythm,” he said. “We’re set. We have a very good plan.”

Part of the plan is to develop depth at every position, specifically the defensive line.

“I don’t think you can ever have enough defensive linemen,” Cristobal said.

But the Ducks got thinner than they would have liked in the defensive front-seven. Malik Young, a defensive lineman who transferred to the program during last season, was not granted another year of eligibility. D.J. Johnson, a sophomore outside linebacker who transferred from Miami (FL) this offseason, will not be eligible to play this season.

Oregon also had a depth issue at wide receiver last season. The ranks were bolstered by Brenden Schooler switching from safety to receiver, but the Ducks are still looking to add some talent at the position. Incoming freshman Jalen Hall, a four-star recruit, participated in one spring practice, but has not returned for “personal reasons.” Hall will not be joining the Ducks at the start of fall camp.

Additionally, Wake Forest transfer and wide receiver Tabari Hines will also miss the start of fall camp for a minor knee procedure, according to Cristobal.

He also touched on current events in the college football world. Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer is in hot water for reports that he knew about domestic violence incidents for a member of Meyer’s coaching staff. When asked about his own policy towards domestic violence, Cristobal stated it is “zero-tolerance.”

“Any time you have any type of issues in your program, number one is you gather facts — factual data — so that you can come to a decision, along with the administration, of course, that fits the situation,” Cristobal said. “Always base everything on facts, and always have hard-line guidelines as it relates to certain things, of course one of them being domestic violence.”

Oregon’s practice on Saturday will be open to the public as part of Fan Day. It is 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex practice fields.

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]