Ducks

'There are no sacred cows, no entitlement' in the Oregon football program

Ducks

Mario Cristobal has established a winning culture in the Oregon football program.

Any sense of entitlement, any notion of having a “me before team” mentality or pride and Cristobal will gladly show you the door to the exit. It is what makes the Ducks a championship caliber team and what brings so many highly-rated recruits to Eugene, Oregon. The No. 3 recruiting class in 2021 to be exact.

On Wednesday, the Pac-12 released the preseason media poll results. 38 members voted on who they predict will be the conference champions at the end of the season. 

Oregon edged out USC in the vote.

Cristobal was asked about this accomplishment during a Pac-12 coaches webinar later that same day.

His response is why the Ducks are on an upward trajectory and poised to finish year after year as one of the most dominant teams in the conference.

“You know me well enough where that’s something that never factors in what we pay attention to in the program. In fact, it’s the opposite. We live our daily lives and practice like we have everything to prove. Our guys take notice, none of them last year were picked by their peers to be All-Conference players… 

No one in this program feels like they have arrived. There are no sacred cows, no entitlement. If someone feels that way, they’ll have to exit the door immediately. We’re based on being hungry and being humble and driven and that’s the only thing on our minds right now. That’s it.

Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal

That culture starts and ends with a winning mindset and this upcoming season, it will come into play more so than ever, especially off the field. Players and coaches must hold one another accountable during this unprecedented time of college football and navigating through the coronavirus pandemic. Daily testing is put in place and training camp begins on Friday, but there is zero room for error, particularly in the Pac-12 Conference.

 

One slip up could have potential postseason implications, whatever that may look like.

“People talk about what you want to see in camp and what’s your expectation, I want to see an elevation of the culture. I want to challenge these guys in their personal lives, in their football regimen, to not accept anything less than their very best and to not tolerate anything that doesn’t uphold the standards of our culture. Culture doesn’t just maintain itself. You certainly can’t assume that it’s going to grow. You got to hit the restart button on it and you got to do it daily. Heck you might have to do it several times a day and understand that’s the key to us here.

That award is real here. It’s been validated with a significant step this past season and the trajectory has to keep going up and up. We feel that it’s just the beginning but there’s nothing taken for granted…

Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal

That validation last season was a 2019 Pac-12 Championship and 2020 Rose Bowl victory.

The big question heading into this season, can the Ducks do it again?

There are key pieces missing in the secondary, a new quarterback taking the snaps, new coaching personnel and not to forget a ‘bubble-like’ atmosphere with the impending coronavirus pandemic… this will be a true test of culture and one that Cristobal looks forward to tackling, literally.

Listen to the Talkin’ Ducks Podcast here.