Canzano: Oregon Ducks search for next football coach gets off ground

Goodbye Willie. Sun came up. Oregon moves on. 

Some thoughts…

— I know Oregon Ducks athletic director Rob Mullens said on Tuesday that there was no timeline on the search for the next football coach, but I’m told by UO sources that this won’t take long. Mullens has had a head start and has already identified some primary candidates. I’m told he’ll do the interviewing on the road. 

— The Ducks will use a search firm. They already are. It’s in motion.

— Mullens must get this hire right. I wrote a column on it here. The extension of Mark Helfrich. The Taggart hire. Those are strikes. The Ducks AD isn’t on the hot seat but he can’t afford a less than positive outcome on the next hire. 

— Some tricky timing on this hire for Oregon. There’s the Dec. 20 early-signing period ahead. About 65-75 percent of the high school players will sign. Also, the Ducks play in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 16, taking their current staff away from recruiting. I expect Mullens will move quickly. Also this makes hiring a coach who is a sitting coach with a recruiting class already in hand more attractive. 

— Oregon is the most attractive available job. Given the lack of loyalty that is going around in college football, having the late opening isn’t the worst thing in the world. The Ducks aren’t up against UCLA, Florida and Florida State today. They’re up against Tennessee, UCF, etc. and holding some nice cards (Nike, facilities, P5 affiliation…)

— The big business of college football is ugly. It lacks loyalty. It doesn’t make economic sense. I wrote a piece about Oregon’s foray into the ugly business. Particularly, with Willie Taggart, who has now held three college football coaching jobs in one 365-day period.

— Noticed that some of the coaches who are more recently out of the game — Kevin Sumlin and Jim McElwain come to mind — are still busy forging relationships with recruits. There’s such an emphasis on recruiting in today’s game. Nothing more important. Jimmys and Joes vs. X’s and O’s. Oregon’s contingency plan for Taggart is rooted in recruiting.

— I don’t expect Washington’s Chris Petersen to be a target for Oregon. Part of the attraction to Petersen is his loyalty. He was interested when the Ducks hired Mark Helfrich, and I know Oregon takes heat for making the wrong choice there, but the thinking after Chip Kelly left was different. UO was seeking continuity. Not excusing the misfire. Just explaining it. Bottom line: I’m told, “Petersen is…

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