Oregon’s Dan Lanning looks to build championship foundation with QB battle headlining in spring practice

Few programs matched Oregon on the roller coaster of emotions in 2021. The Ducks picked up perhaps the biggest nonconference victory over the past few years against Ohio State and reached as high as No. 3 in the Associated Press Top 25. However, failure to win the Pac-12 and falling out of New Year’s Six contention marked a sour end to a year compounded by coach Mario Cristobal’s departure for Miami. 

Now, first-year coach Dan Lanning is charged with taking Oregon into the future. The national championship-winning coordinator was the architect of one of the greatest defenses in modern college football at Georgia, and expectations in Eugene are similarly nothing short of national contention. After five straight years of AP top-10 finishes from 2010-14, the Ducks have failed to reach that mark in six of the past seven seasons. 

While Oregon has earned a trip to three consecutive Pac-12 Championship Games, the task is only getting harder out West. Utah — the team that rocked the Ducks twice within three weeks in 2021 — returns the vast majority of its production. Washington State and Oregon State are in the midst of impressive runs within the Ducks’ own division, while Washington and Stanford are never that far off from contention, even during slumps. 

If that wasn’t enough, Lincoln Riley takes over at USC with championship expectations of his own, putting the entire conference on notice. 

Here’s what to watch as Lanning begins his first spring season as head coach at Oregon. 

Offseason changes

Cristobal became the second straight coach to leave Oregon for a dream job in Florida, but the athletic department was unfazed. Instead of overreacting, the Ducks went right back into the Southeast and nabbed one of the hottest young…


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