Sports

Lanning hits the ground

Confetti were still flying in the air at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Dan Lanning He left the field, after Georgia beat Alabama in Monday’s College Football Championship game.

Lanning was the defensive coordinator for Georgia, who just beat Crimson Tide, 33-18. The Bulldogs’ defense held the Alabama Bulldogs to 4.7 yards per game, well below the previous season’s average of 6.5 yards per game, and their low season total. The final touchdown of the evening was provided by the Georgia defense, deciding the sixth game in the last minute.

But Lanning was also the next head coach in Oregon. And when he left the field Monday night, walking through the tunnel to the Georgia locker room, he was already on FaceTime with a potential recruit in Oregon. A month of back and forth from bulldog to duck ended.

“That moment, I was a duck,” Lanning recalled on Thursday.

Lanning arrived in Eugene on Tuesday, and had his team’s first meeting with the ducks on Wednesday. And on Thursday afternoon, he held a press conference with the local media, to review what he described as the “roller ride” the first month in business; He was named head coach for Oregon State on December 11, and in the weeks that followed, Georgia prepared balanced for the college football game while working with the ducks.

“I wouldn’t change a minute of it,” Lanning said. “It has been a very rewarding experience, going to compete with players I’ve coached for a long time, and completing it by winning a national championship.”

This commitment to the program he was leaving earned Lanning respect in the Oregon locker room. Several UO players announced that they reconsidered turning professional or entering the transfer window after talks with Lanning while he was spending his time in Georgia. He has also completed the recruitment process for a full crew of assistant coaches and will split time between two jobs.

This week the new employees were finally consolidated at Eugene. Lanning and his aides toured the University of Oregon’s campus Thursday, and were in awe after seeing the beauty and functionality of facilities such as the Jacoa Academic Center and the new Hayward Field.

“Excited to wear a uniform here, from now on,” Lanning said.

Lanning said the two top priorities for new hires are relationships and development. Among his aides are NFL veterans including Adrian Klim And Touch Lobby, created Power 5 assistants including Tony Twitti And Joe Lorrig, and elite recruits including Junior Adams And Demetris Martin.

“I know we have great men, great coaches and teachers who will be around our players, and I can’t be thrilled about the group we formed together,” Lanning said.

The staff also includes a new strength and conditioning coach Wilson Love, whom Lanning has admired as a passion for his job since they were both working in Alabama. Lanning said he arrived at his office at the Hatfield-Doolin compound just before six in the morning, and texted Love to hit him when Love was in the office; Love replied that he had been in the weight room since four in the morning

Love’s staff includes two assistants who have been retained from among the former employees, Mark Davis And Chudd Williams. Lanning said a previous school he worked for tried to lure Williams into a position, but to no avail. Now they will have the opportunity to work together in Eugene.

“I told him, if you don’t come to me, I should come to you,” Lanning joked.

At the team meeting on Wednesday, Lanning met with a group of players he told them “they share a vision of what we can be, and what this program can become.” Among the players present was quarterback Bo Knicks, a transfer from Auburn who will be pushed by the young returnees Jay Butterfield And Ty Thompson.

“Competition ultimately breeds excellence,” Lanning said. “And we’ll have competition across the board, including quarterbacks.”

This competition will see its foundation laid with off-season conditioning, and then in spring practice. After summer practice and pre-season camp, the Ducks will open the 2022 season against Georgia – yes, Lanning just left.

But after a month of splitting his time between ducks and bulldogs, Lanning has been a unique focus since the end of the National Championship game on Monday.

“It’s so lively in front of Oregon, it’s all in Oregon,” he said. “And that was the moment I left that field.”

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