Mario Cristobal is a players' head coach.
Dating back to when Willie Taggart bolted from Eugene to accept the head coaching position at Florida State and the Ducks players signed a petition for Cristobal to take over permanently, the Ducks have always had his back and he's had theirs.
That support will not waver when his players decide to not suit up for the 2020 college football season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"They've got to make a decision that suits their future, their needs, their goals and dreams the best," Cristobal explained to Jordan Kent on the upcoming Talkin' Ducks podcast.
"My job is to provide them with accurate information. There's a lot of clutter out there right now. A lot of noise, and the last thing you want is for a guy to get caught up in that and make a decision based on that and look back with regret later so we support them at the end of the day with whatever decision they make, but certainly, I want to ensure they have real information and come at them 100 miles-per-hour with the real stuff so they can really sit down with their family and go from there."
[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent]
The interview was recorded last week before reigning Outland Trophy Award winner and Heisman candidate offensive tackle Penei Sewell announced he will opt-out of the upcoming college football season to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft, where he's expected to be taken inside the top-five.
Tuesday morning, Cristobal told John Canzano that the left tackle made the correct decision and that he "look[s] forward to him being a large donor."
He also tweeted his support.
Sewell, who will be the second consecutive Oregon prospect taken inside the top-ten of the NFL Draft after Justin Herbert went sixth overall this year, is not the lone Duck expected to be taken in the 2021 NFL Draft. Jevon Holland has also received first round buzz while Thomas Graham Jr., Deommodore Lenoir, Jordon Scott, Brady Breeze and C.J. Verdell are all expecting to be drafted as well. All of those players are listed among the top-400 preseason prospects by The Draft Network.
For Cristobal, his players leaving for the NFL is a good thing that helps elevate the program to the standard he desires.
"When your program is pumping up guys to the NFL, that's a good thing. I think sometimes programs fear that, I'm like 'No, we want to be known as a program that does awesome on the field, in the community, academically and is a launching pad for the NFL,'" explained Cristobal.
"These last couple of cycles, it's getting strong and looking to get stronger, so lot of guys waiting their turn and it's time for some of those guys to make something happen."
In the 2020 NFL Draft, Herbert went sixth overall, Troy Dye was selected in the fourth round, Shane Lemieux went in the fifth, Jake Hanson went in the sixth, and other players were signed as undrafted free agents such as Calvin Throckmorton, Juwan Johnson, Brady Aiello, Bryson Young, Gus Cumlernader, and Jacob Breeland.