matt lubick

Former Oregon OC Matt Lubick joins Petersen’s staff at UW

Former Oregon OC Matt Lubick joins Petersen’s staff at UW

Former Oregon offensive coordinator Matt Lubick has accepted a job as the Washington Huskies co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach, the school announced Wednesday.

Lubick, who coached at Oregon for the past four seasons, is joining his third new team since the end of the college football season. Lubick was not retained by new Oregon head coach Willie Taggart, and in late December was hired as the wide receivers coach at Ole Miss’.  However, his return to the school he coached at from 2005 to 2006 did not last long. In early January he jumped ship to take the co-offensive coordinator job at Baylor.

Just over a month later, he is on the move again and making is return to the Pac-12.

“I am excited to add Matt to our coaching staff,” Petersen said in a prepared statement. “He has earned a national reputation as an innovative coaching mind and a successful recruiter. Equally as important, we believe he will be a terrific fit with our staff, players and the University of Washington.”

Lubick will coordinate the offense with Jonathan Smith, who has coached the Huskies offense since 2013. It is a reunion of sorts for the two. Lubick was the defensive backs coach at Oregon State at the same time Smith was a record setting quarterback for the Beavers.

The Huskies open the season on September 1, at Rutgers, and play host to Lubick’s former team (and UW rival), the Oregon Ducks, on November 4.

Report: Lubick to take co-offensive coordinator job at Baylor

Report: Lubick to take co-offensive coordinator job at Baylor

Former Oregon offensive coordinator Matt Lubick has accepted a co-offensive coordinator position with Baylor after originally being headed to Ole Miss to coach wide receivers, according to multiple reports.

Lubick coached wide receivers at UO from 2013 through 2015 before becoming the Ducks' offensive coordinator in 2016.

He will join Baylor's staff headed by new coach Matt Rhule, reportedly a top target of Oregon's before he left Temple to take over the Bears, leading to the Ducks hiring Willie Taggart.

Former Oregon quarterbacks coach David Yost recently accepted the job of offensive coordinator at Utah State.

Don't expect any former Oregon assistant coaches to return under Taggart

Don't expect any former Oregon assistant coaches to return under Taggart

It's becoming increasingly unlikely with each passing day that new Oregon football coach Willie Taggart will retain any of the assistant coaches from former coach Mark Helfrich's staff.

In fact, let's just say right now that barring some dramatic twist of fate, none will return.

Taggart has named just one assistant coach since his introduction on Dec. 8, and that's defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt, hired away from Colorado in a deft move to help rebuild the defense. Jimmie Dougherty, according to reports, will become the new wide receivers coach. But Oregon has not officially announced his hiring.

Their selection means the end to the Oregon careers of defensive coordinator Brady Hoke and offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Matt Lubick. Leavitt will also coach linebackers, which means that long-time assistant Don Pellum is also likely out.

According to sources, Taggart has not spoken to any of the former assistant coaches about remaining at UO, and has made it clear to some that he is going in a different direction with his staff. This comes despite Taggart stating during his introductory press conference that he would at least talk to former assistants. Just one assistant coach, according to sources, has had any contact at all with Taggart and that came about because of a chance meeting within the team's complex.

The assistants received termination letters within days after Helfrich was fired on Nov. 29, and were given until Dec. 31 to clear out their offices. Their contracts run out in late January. Some have already started looking for new jobs. Former UO offensive coordinator Matt Lubick has landed at Ole Miss as wide receivers coach. Other support staff members have also been terminated, according to sources.

So what's taking Taggart so long to fill in the coaching vacancies?  For starters, Taggart's former team, South Florida, still has a game to play. The Bulls face South Carolina on Dec. 29 in the Birmingham Bowl (Alabama). By Dec. 30, expect Taggart to start naming new Oregon assistant coaches as he raids the Bulls' staff.

It's also likely that Taggart will hire assistant coaches from other teams involved in bowl games, as well as some coaches from losing teams. However Taggart chooses to fill out his staff, the inclusion of holdovers from Helfrich's crew appears unlikely.  

Taggart appeared on ESPNU earlier this month, stating that he is looking to complete his staff as quickly as he can.

"I don't want to rush it and just do it, but I want to make sure we get the right guys, the right fit to come in here and help me take care of our players," Taggart said.

That, of course, is entirely Taggart's prerogative. An argument could be made that holding over a couple of assistants could help with Taggart's transition and adaptation to coaching in a Power Five conference. On the other hand, a counter argument could also be presented that the controversial firing of Helfrich and his staff after they had achieved so much success with some stretching back more than 30 years almost requires a completely fresh start in order to allow Taggart to fully redirect the program in an entirely different direction of his design.

That said, there certainly could be value found in at least having talks with former assistants, even if only to pick their brains about what went wrong during a 4-8 season, and about returning players that Taggart must win with over the next few seasons. But those talks have not happened.

Instead, Taggart is going full-speed ahead with his plans to retool the entire department in the mold of what he built at USF.

One USF staff member already in the fold at Oregon is David Kelly, who was/is South Florida's director of player personnel. According to sources, Kelly will hold the same, or a similar position with Oregon, and he has already been spotted at the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex.

Kelly is regarded as a high-end recruiter but has had one run-in with the NCAA over rules violations.

In 2010, Rivals.com named Kelly one of the top 25 recruiters in the country, according to the USF website bio on the coach. Kelly has coached at LSU, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Stanford, Duke, in addition to a controversial stint at the University of Central Florida. 

Kelly was a successful recruiting coordinator at the UCF before he was fired following a NCAA investigation that determined he had violated recruiting rules. The investigation occurred in 2011 and consisted of great similarities to the Willie Lyles case that got Oregon into hot water with the NCAA, also in 2011. 

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Kelly, who had denied any wrong doing regarding this case, was accused of violating rules during his association with Ken Caldwell, who mentored Chicago high school football and basketball players. According to the article, Kelly, along with then UCF athletics director Keith Tribble and basketball coach Donnie Jones were all accused of allowing Caldwell to steer athletes to UCF, much like Lyles was accused by the NCAA of steering running back Lache Seastrunk to Oregon in 2010. 

Kelly was fired from UCF. According to the Orlando Sentinel article, that led to a decline in the program's recruiting, and that led to a decline in victories. UCF went 12-1 in 2013 and then 9-4 and 0-12 in 2015. UCF then hired former Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost to take over the program before the 2016 season.

Kelly resurfaced this year at USF and now will try to work his recruiting magic at Oregon, which needs help. Taggart has brought in two high-end recruits, but the Ducks have lost several decommits. UO's 2017 class currently consists of just 12 commits and is ranked 51st in the nation by Rivals.com.

That ranking will spike quickly after Taggart has his staff in place and they hit the recruiting trail for a final four-week push before National Signing Day on Feb. 1.

Even signing just eight three-star recruits would get Oregon's class ranking back into the low 20s, which is where it was before Oregon fired Helfrich.

 

Mark Helfrich and Oregon's coaches leave Reser uncertain about futures

Mark Helfrich and Oregon's coaches leave Reser uncertain about futures

CORVALLIS - Oregon offensive coordinator Matt Lubick talked about the unlimited potential of freshman quarterback Justin Herbert following the Ducks' 34-24 loss at Oregon State.

UO defensive coordinator Brady Hoke discussed what his young defenders must do during the offseason to improve, and about hitting the recruiting trail on Sunday. 

But both did so while also being unable to definitively answer one simple, yet brutally uncertain question: Will any of them have jobs come Monday?

"We hope so," Lubick said when asked if he felt he would be around to see the development through on UO's young talent. "But it is what it is. All we can control is what we can control and that's wake up tomorrow and do the best we can. I'm very proud of the guys I've been around and I love our coaches. They've accomplished a lot for this university."

The Ducks (4-8, 2-7 Pac-12) finished off a disastrous season by blowing a 24-14 lead in the second half to end an eight-game winning streak over OSU (4-6, 3-6). Ever since the team hit 2-4 with a 70-21 loss to Washington, Oregon coach Mark Helfrich and his staff have been faced with the possibility that this could be their last season at UO. The fact Oregon went 2-4 the second half of the season certainly didn't help their cause. However, this was Oregon's first losing season since 2004 and the Ducks were in the national championship game just two seasons ago under Helfrich. 

Helfrich said Saturday that the staff would debrief and hit the recruiting trail starting Sunday. He said he had no meetings scheduled with UO athletic director Rob Mullens.

"We'll have some time to debrief on everything," Helfrich said about the staff's immediate plans. "We do that every year, whether it's a great season or a season like this. Recruit. Heal up mind and body with the players and finish off strong here academically over the next couple of weeks and then move on."

If a coaching change were afoot it would likely mean that the staff would be held back from making such trips. It does the program no good to send coaches out recruiting if they are about to be fired. 

What we know as of tonight is that the coaches don't appear to even know what their status is, which can make for a gut-wrenching situation for them and their families.  Hoke said he is operating under the assumption that he will be back next season until he is told otherwise.

Lubick bluntly summed it all up when asked about what kind of a job he believes Helfrich has done this season:

"I think he has done an amazing job," Lubick said. "Football is what it is. It's what have you done for me lately."

It's likely that Oregon won't make a coaching move unless it has a high-end candidate already on the hook. Houston's Tom Herman was arguably the hottest coaching candidate in the country until Texas snapped him up today a day after the Cougars lost their final regular season game to Memphis on Friday. 

Big names that remain available for UO to explore are Western Michigan's P.J. Fleck, Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, former LSU coach Les Miles and former Texas coach Charlie Strong.  

Fleck has been reported to be heading to Purdue, but those reports have been denied

If Oregon does not have a slam dunk candidate in place, chances are that Helfrich and his staff are given a year to turn things around. The biggest mistake UO could make would be to fire Helfrich and his staff and then hire anyone that wants to come to UO. This move must be made with deft precision to make sure that the Ducks land a new coach assured of success. Otherwise, what would be the point?

We know for a fact that this staff can win. It has done so, in some cases, for decades. Should one bad season in 12 years completely derail a 40-year legacy of not firing head football coaches? 

That's up to Mullens to decide. For now, the coaching staff is carrying on as if it's business as usual. 

"I am excited about the future," Lubick said. 

Now everyone waits to find out if this staff still has a future at Oregon. 

ASU will get after Oregon QB Justin Herbert

ASU will get after Oregon QB Justin Herbert

Next test for Oregon freshman quarterback Justin Herbert: Operating in the face of relentless pressure.

That's what Arizona State will throw at Herbert when the Sun Devils (5-3, 2-3 Pac-12) face the Ducks (2-5, 0-4) at 2 p.m. Saturday at Autzen Stadium.

ASU, which ranks second in the conference with 23 sacks, presents a new challenge for Herbert, who through two games has certainly flashed signs of brilliance. But he has yet to face a team that will bring such a wide variety of pressures as ASU.  

"They're a fast, athletic team and they are going to bring a lot of pressure," Herbert said. 

And then some. 

ASU tallied seven sacks against Washington State and quarterback Luke Falk on Saturday.  

"Some of those sacks were just their (linebackers) beating the offensive tackle," Oregon offensive coordinator Matt Lubick said. 

ASU junior linebacker Koron Crump leads the Pac-12 with eight sacks. He had three against WSU. Junior linebacker D.J. Calhoun ranks tied for seventh with 4 1/2, two coming against the Cougars.

On the flip side, when Falk wasn't on his back he was racking up 398 yards passing with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. And, by the way, WSU won the game, 37-32 in Tempe, Ariz. 

Oregon hopes to borrow that recipe. While ASU likes to use its dancing linebackers to bring pressure, that also can open the door for big plays. 

"The key is to keep playing, play the next play and then good things can happen," Lubick said. 

That played out during Oregon's 61-55, triple-overtime win last season at ASU. The Ducks had some hiccups on offense but they didn't prevent quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. from throwing for 315 yards and four touchdowns. 

Oregon's running game struggled a bit against ASU's aggressive defensive scheme, but Royce Freeman popped a run for 64 yards and Kani Benoit had a 62-yard run. That made up 126 of the Ducks' 181 net yards rushing on 28 carries. 

Herbert threw for six touchdowns last week during a 52-49 double-overtime loss at California. The Golden Bears have one of the worst defenses in the nation and ranks 11th in the conference (ahead of Oregon's). ASU's defense is nearly just as bad at 10th.

So, Herbert should have some opportunities to make plays as long as a young offensive line can give him some time and he doesn't get rattled. The fact that he stood up strong against Washington in his first start and rallied against Cal, bodes well for what Oregon should expect from its young signal caller this Saturday. 

"Justin is doing a lot of good things but one of the things that's giving him an opportunity to play for us is his composure and making plays under duress," Lubick said. "He's showed us every indication that he can play against any type of defense....His decision making process is pretty special for a freshman."

Herbert's evolution will continue to play out it what looks to be a lost season. The Ducks must win four of their final five games to become bowl eligible.

If they are to get there, Herbert will have to carry the Ducks given how bad the offense is. It's a lot to ask from a freshman who says he is feeling more and more confident each day.  

"I think comfortability with the offense and knowing where to go with the ball has increased," Herbert said. 

If true, ASU could be in trouble if it sells out too much to get after Herbert. 

UO QB Dakota Prukop two errant throws away from hero status

UO QB Dakota Prukop two errant throws away from hero status

EUGENE - Oregon quarterback Dakota Prukop has played some very good football this season. 

Unfortunately for him and the Ducks, two plays separate him from having already earned legendary status rather than simply being a good quarterback who keeps falling short. 

Prukop, during Saturday's 41-38 loss to Colorado at Autzen Stadium, threw an interception in the fourth-quarter on a horribly underthrown pass to wide receiver Darren Carrington II, who ran a fade pattern to the left corner of the end zone. Colorado cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon intercepted the throw with 48 seconds remaining.  

Two games ago in the final minute at Nebraska, Prukop, with the Ducks down 35-32, rolled right and located wide receiver Charles Nelson open running toward the right corner of the end zone. But Prukop underthrew Nelson and the pass was deflected. The game ended two plays later when Prukop rushed for three yards on a desperate fourth down attempt with 18 yards to go for a first. 

Two would-be winning plays. Two underthrown passes. Prukop leads Carrington to the corner of the end zone and it's a likely touchdown. Prukop leads Nelson and it's also a likely touchdown.

That's how close Oregon (2-0) is to being 4-0. That's how close Prukop, a graduate transfer from Montana State, is to having thrown two game-winning touchdown passes for the Ducks already this season. 

Instead he is left to lament what could have been. 

"It's execution," Prukop said following Saturday's defeat. "People are going to say, "nah, it's not one play. It's the whole game.' But it came down to the last play."

It's a tough situation to be in for a quarterback. They're asked to save the the rest of the team from its collective mistakes while minimizing their own. Bottom line, however, is that they are expected to make big plays. Prukop has made plenty. He has completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 1,041 yards and eight touchdowns with just the one interception. He's also rushed for 142 yards and a touchdown. 

Such statistics, however, ring hollow when a quarterback fails to deliver with the game on the line. 

Some fans and members of the media have criticized the play call on the pass intended for Carrington against Colorado. That's largely unfair.

Red zone fade passes are rarely intercepted because they are pretty safe throws. Either the pass is lofted to the corner where only the receiver can get it, or it goes out of bounds. Another option is to throw the ball with great velocity to the receivers back shoulder so that he must adjust to it while the defensive back can't see the ball because he is trailing the receiver. 

"I thought it was a safe play," Oregon offensive coordinator Matt Lubick said of the call on first and goal from the Colorado seven. 

Oregon coach Mark Helfrich supported the call. 

"With two time outs, just trying to get a play off quickly and use all four downs..." Helfrich said "In that situation we're obviously trying to give a playmaker a chance. Hopefully it's a safe ball and that turned out differently."

Prukop said he felt good about the play call. 

"When they called that play I was like, 'we're going to get a touchdown right here,'" Prukop said.

His intent, Prukop said, was to throw the ball high and to the corner of the end zone. 

"I should have put it a lot higher," Prukop said. "Give him an easy jump ball. That's what he likes. Just have to learn from it."

The passing combo, Prukop said, has worked on that play extensively in practice with Prukop laying it up for the ultra athletic Carrington to go get it. On Saturday, however, Prukop misfired. 

"I've got to go see it on film but obviously I didn't put enough juice on it," he said. 

Prukop said he ended up throwing the ball a bit more like a back shoulder pass.

"I've got to put the ball in position where only the receiver could get to it," Prukop said. 

The pass lacked the trajectory or velocity of such a throw and instead turned into a lob pass directly to the defensive back. 

"Throwing it like I did, that's too risky," Prukop said. "I paid for it."

The play left Oregon's players and coaches stunned. The Ducks went from having a chance to win, or at least tie with a field goal, to losing after one errant throw. 

Players and coaches said they would rally around one another to right the ship. At the center of that, Lubick said, is Prukop, who demonstrated great leadership in the face of adversity. 

That ability, plus Prukop's talent, could put UO in position to win plenty of games this season. But there are going to be times where Prukop must make the big throws that so far have eluded him.

"I haven't been through something like this before," Prukop said. "It sucks. Just have to eat it and learn from it. 

Oregon WR Devon Allen swaps hurdles for helmet

Oregon WR Devon Allen swaps hurdles for helmet

EUGENE - Oregon wide receiver Devon Allen returned to football practice Wednesday, a week after placing fifth in the 110-meter hurdles during the Rio Summer Olympics.

The redshirt junior is scheduled to meet with the media Thursday afternoon. 

Allen's world-class speed makes him an instant vertical threat no matter what type of football shape he is in. However, he will need time to get his timing down with expected starting quarterback, senior Dakota Prukop, and recapture his ability to run precise routes. 

That shouldn't be difficult for Allen to regain given that this will be his fourth season in the program. 

"The thing about Devon, like a lot of our guys, is he's very versatile," Oregon offensive coordinator Matt Lubick said. "We can do a lot of different things with him right now. Right now we just want to kind of get him back into the football mode. Get the rust off, which for him is not going to take too long."

Allen's return, which some believed could be in doubt should he have chosen to accept endorsements for his track & field prowess, solidified an already stacked receiving corps. 

Right now the projected starters are Dwayne Stanford, Darren Carrington II and Charles Nelson, with Jalen Brown, Dillon Mitchell and Alex Ofodile as the primary backups. 

Toss Allen into the mix and Oregon will have some serious decisions to make regarding playing time. 

"We will kind of see how it goes, but we definitely plan for him to be a focal point," Lubick said. 

As a starter in 2014, Allen caught 41 passes for 684 yards and seven touchdowns before suffering a knee injury returning the opening kickoff against Florida State in the Rose Bowl. 

Allen returned last season but never quite got back to 100 percent in terms of fully recapturing his route running ability as he battled regaining his lateral movement. 

He was limited to six games, catching nine passes for 94 yards. 

Allen must practice without pads for three days, which means he will miss Thursday's scrimmage. 

Oregon begins the season Sept. 3 at home against UC Davis. 

Freshman Herbert could very well be named Oregon's No. 2 QB

Freshman Herbert could very well be named Oregon's No. 2 QB

EUGENE - Yesterday I reported that Oregon freshman quarterback Justin Herbert had been turning heads this fall camp but more than likely would redshirt behind senior starter Dakota Prukop and redshirt freshman Travis Jonsen. 

Errr! Not so fast.

Several sources have told CSN that Herbert has been taking second team reps. On Tuesday, when asked if Herbert had done enough during camp to contend for the backup job, Oregon offensive coordinator Matt Lubick didn't hesitate to answer in the affirmative. 

"Yes he has," Lubick said. "That's a guy who wasn't here during spring ball, who came out this fall camp and as far as learning what we ask him to do, and not pare it down, he's been unbelievable. He's done a great job executing things. He's done a great job of keeping poise and calmness. He is picking things up. So yeah, he is definitely in the battle."

Now, one could label Lubick's comments as coach speak. But there's no benefit to hyping up a freshman quarterback at all. In fact, Oregon coaches have recently only done that once and that was with - drum roll - Marcus Mariota. 

In fact, some have compared Herbert to Mariota in terms of his gift for being a quick study, having great poise beyond his years and simply getting it. Plus, the 6-foot-6 former Sheldon High School star can sling it and run with surprising speed, given his height, according to UO quarterbacks coach David Yost. 

Be that as it may, even Mariota redshirted in 2011 behind junior starter Darron Thomas and redshirt freshman backup Bryan Bennett before beating out Bennett for the starting job in 2012. 

As of right now, however, it appears Herbert might be more likely to remain available to play rather than redshirt. 

Oregon redshirt junior running back Kani Benoit, during a one-on-one interview today with CSN, said Prukop and Herbert were battling it out during practice. When asked if that meant Herbert was the No. 2, Benoit said he didn't know the depth chart and that all four quarterbacks, which includes freshman Terry Wilson Jr., had been looking good in practice. 

Entering the season, Jonsen had the clear inside track to at least the No. 2 job and was said by coaches to be in contention for the starting job. Now it appears that it's possible Jonsen could fall to at least No. 3. 

If that happens, how long would Jonsen stick around?

Bennett, after getting beaten out by Mariota in 2012, seriously contemplated transferring at the end of fall camp before Chip Kelly talked him out of it.  

Bennett ultimately transferred following the 2012 season to Southeastern Louisiana where he played well enough to earn a training camp invite with the Indianapolis Colts. Bennett now plays for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL. 

Bottom line is that a program can only start one quarterback and when three are within a year of one another someone usually leaves. 

If Herbert is No. 2, expect Jonsen to possibly move on. The former No. 3-rated dual-threat quarterback in the nation coming out of high school is too talented to potentially spend the next four seasons as a backup. 

Wilson, on the other hand, could redshirt this season and then be a year behind Herbert, who as the No. 2 this season could be in line to be the starter next season, unless of course he is beaten out by Wilson. 

Of course, Jonsen could stay, get better and beat out Herbert and Wilson next spring, or even later this fall. 

Finally, Jonsen could be named the No. 2 quarterback this season, Herbert and Wilson could redshirt and then we would all witness a slugfest of a quarterback competition next year. 

Saddle up.