Fresh out of UGA title, Lanning hits the ground running in Oregon
Dan Lanning was all-in as Oregon’s new head coach when he walked off the field after celebrating Georgia’s national championship.
Lanning was hired by the Ducks last month, but first ended his run as defensive coordinator for the Bulldogs, who beat Alabama 33-18 for the national title on Monday.
“Leaving the field in the tunnel, after winning the national championship, I was on FaceTime with a guy who can improve our program and make us better,” Lanning said. “So yes, absolutely, at that time I was a duck.”
Lanning arrived at the Eugene campus on Tuesday and set about touring the campus, meeting players and preparing to start recruiting.
Lanning, 35, replaces Mario Cristobal, who left the Ducks after four seasons to become Miami’s head coach.
Oregon finished 10-4 last season, losing 47-32 to Oklahoma in the Alamo Bowl. The Ducks had high hopes after an Ohio State upset put the team in the playoff bracket. But that was short-lived, and Oregon lost regular season games to Stanford and Utah to get out of the running.
Oregon finished the season ranked 22nd. There’s already a little intrigue going into the upcoming season: the Ducks will face Georgia in the opener on September 3 in Atlanta.
Lanning has been busy behind the scenes assembling a staff, which includes offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham, who has spent the past two seasons in the same position at Florida State, and defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi, who comes to the Ducks from the Jacksonville Jaguars from the NFL.
Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux left for the draft, where he should be a top pick, but Auburn quarterback Bo Nix announced last month that he would play for Oregon after entering the transfer portal.
Nix, a former five-star recruit and three-year starter for the Tigers, injured his ankle late in the season. Before being injured, Nix completed 197 of 323 passes for 2,294 yards with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions. He also ran for four touchdowns.
“What I know of Bo is an ultimate competitor, I know how hard he works,” Lanning said Thursday. “We’ve been very clear with Bo. ‘Hey you come here, there’s definitely an opportunity to compete.’ But we’re also excited about the guys we have on our roster and excited to see these guys come in, compete and go. to work.
Oregon is still awaiting decisions from running backs Travis Dye and CJ Verdell regarding the upcoming season. First-year running back Sean Dollars announced earlier this week that he was going to enter the transfer portal, then changed his mind a day later after talking to Lanning.
Lanning and his team are already working double shifts, not only targeting rookies, but also watching movies and getting to know players who are already Ducks.
“We are getting back to a very good situation here. But I want to be able to form an opinion on our players. I don’t want to come up with preconceived ideas about who’s who and who’s what,” Lanning said. “That being said, I know what’s on our roster right now. I know we have great talents. If we continue to do a great job of acquiring more talent, I think we will continue to be in the driver’s seat. »
Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart brought Lanning to Georgia in 2018. He was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2019.
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