Alabama West? Ha! No, but working on it...

By: LA Duck

Really liking what Oregon's HC is doing right now, and how he's positioning Oregon.

Under Taggart it was all show and no go....sort of like our S&C program under him.  The one where we put 3 kids in the hospital after the first (rather strenuous) workout.  Taggart wanted the kids big, not soft (which we were under Helfrich).  But...there's a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it.

Good thing for us quacks is that Mario Cristobal is modeling our program after what Saban has done, rather than after what Taggart just "thinks" is best.

First up is redesigning our S&C program.  Taggart's S&C coach went with him to FSU (thank god!)

And we just hired the assistant at Georgia (who used to also work at Alabama).

Here's what Cristobal is saying....  (Highlight to read)

"We're going to be Oregon football; we have our own brand and we started establishing and moving in the right direction -- not there completely, but certainly headed there," Cristobal told The Oregonian/OregonLive. "But our offseason will look, feel and be like what I've done the last four years at Alabama."

The first step to turning Eugene into Tuscaloosa West begins Monday, when players return to campus for the first day of the winter academic quarter. 

Like former UO coach Willie Taggart, Cristobal says that work will begin in the weight room. He added, however, that the philosophy of UO's new offseason program will be "very different from a strength and conditioning standpoint" than last season, and not only because head strength coach Irele Oderinde has left, a school spokesman said Sunday. He reportedly followed Taggart to Florida State. 

"The ability to bend, to strike, to roll hips, to accelerate, decelerate, change direction, play with balance and body control, those are movements that have to be practiced," Cristobal said. "Everything you do in that weight room has to mimic what a true game situation is like. I'm a big believer in making sure everything we do relates to playing better, to improving performance. Not looking for beach muscles, for any of that. It's a very different program, and it's a program that has stood the test of time.

"Our offense is going to be explosive, high-tempo like it's been ... but our offseason will be as physical and demanding as the SEC program I worked for. Mentally, the discipline that comes with it is ultimately what is going to carry you over from November to December."

Every program, of course, wants to adopt the habits of highly successful football teams such as Alabama. 

Few, however, have as much first-hand experience observing coach Nick Saban's famed program-building "process" as Cristobal, who coached Alabama's offensive line from 2013-16 as it made three straight playoff appearances and won one national title.

A product of Miami's national-title winning teams of the late 1980s and early 1990s, Cristobal was no wide-eyed newcomer to the industry when Saban hired him. 

He'd been part of staffs that revived life back into Miami, Rutgers and Florida International, where he was head coach from 2007-12. Yet he called Saban's obsessive focus on all the details that happen months before kickoff -- from outlining clear job descriptions and demands for every employee, to recruiting, academic support, sports psychology and more -- "the best thing I ever learned while I was there."

"I know what it looks like, what it smells like, what it feels like, the processes that lead up to those tremendous accomplishments and seizing of the moment," Cristobal said. "We have not done that yet, but (players) are about to be introduced to what that entails." 

Many who have worked under Saban have tried to implement their own version of his "process" after leaving his staff, with varied success. Just one, Jimbo Fisher, has won a national title, though Georgia coach Kirby Smart, who worked at Alabama with Cristobal, could be the second.

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