Mario Cristobal finished his run as the Oregon Ducks head football coach with a record of 35-14, including finishing 23-9 in the Pac-12. Under Cristobal, the Ducks were 2-2 in bowl games, including the 2017 Las Vegas Bowl.
This series titled, “Cristobal Film Review...” will cover a major win and loss from each season Coach Cristobal was in charge of the Ducks from 2018-2021. We’re going to look at data, quality of play, and situational performances in each.
Auburn 27 - Oregon 21
Week One of the 2019 season saw another halftime choke-fest added to Mario Cristobal’s resume. The 11th ranked Ducks led the Auburn Tigers 14-6 at halftime, but proceeded to lose the 2nd half 21-7.
Even with Justin Herbert at quarterback, Oregon finished 4-of-14 on 3rd down, and 1-of-2 on 4th down. The Tigers finished 7-of-17 on third and 1-of-1 on 4th down. Both squads committed seven penalties on the day, while Oregon turned the ball over once with Auburn turning it over twice. The Ducks won the time of possession battle by around four minutes.
Herbert finished the day with one touchdown and no interceptions, but only 6.5 yards per passing attempt. The Ducks mustered only 2.7 yards per carry, with CJ Verdell’s 5.7 yards per carry and a score the team-best.
Only one Duck receiver hit the double-digit yards per catch mark, leaving a lot to be desired in the explosive plays category. Herbert was the lone fumble for Oregon. The Ducks defense came away with only one sack, but had seven tackles for loss and seven hurries with three pass breakups.
Tigers QB Bo Nix threw two TD’s, two INT’s, and averaged only 5.7 yards per attempt passing. The Tigers ran for 208 yards on 4.8 yards per carry and a TD. Four Auburn receivers hit the double-digit yards per catch mark. The Auburn defense logged three sacks, six TFL’s, only one PBU, and one single hurry.
I was very high on Herbert and hoped the Miami Dolphins would draft him instead of Tua Tagovailoa. Mario Cristobal might not “coach QB’s” but when you’re a CEO head coach you’re responsible for every aspect on the football field, including if a future NFL star plays up to potential in your program or not.
Above- OU uses play-action off their strong run game. Essentially the WR runs Y-Cross, an Air Raid staple where his landmark is to split the LB and Safety, and wind up 22 yards deep on the opposite sideline.
Above- Here’s the issue with Mirabal’s opposite knee to crotch. When you’re playing an Auburn defense, the tackle dominates the right guard, because he’s so damn powerful and quick in his first two steps. Look at 75’s feet, they’re too close together.
Above- Another thing I don’t like technique-wise here on zone schemes is an OL turning the shoulders. The center is forced to completely turn his shoulders away from the line of scrimmage. He essentially leaves a gap for the middle linebacker and with his shoulders turned and in no way can pick that LB up.
Above- There’s the whole clip. Wide zone might not have been a good call here. I hate any call that has to go backwards to go forwards on ‘and one’ or ‘goal’ situations.
Above- I have no idea why the RB runs like an etch-a-sketch. The line does a much better job of staying square to the LOS here and picking up the linebackers. The RB finds a small crease, all you need in zone schemes, and if that LG moves his damn feet it’s an easy TD.
Above- One of the biggest knocks on Oregon’s offense the from ‘17-’19 was the lack of playmakers at wide receiver. D’Eriq King is shaking his damn head at seeing this receiver nearly implode on an NFL caliber throw.
Oregon came out of that with no points after a missed FG... Mario in ‘18 and ‘19 was more of a ‘defensive minded’ head coach always settling for FG’s, even from the 2-yard line. Coaching not to lose rather than to win. We’ll see if that mindset changes with time throughout this series.
Above- Tyler Van Dyke might have a liiiiitle bit of Justin Herbert in him (paying homage to the Solid Verbal).
Above- It’s 4th and 1 and a huge play for Oregon. They stack the box as an offense, allowing Auburn to stack it as a defense. Dumb decision to put all of those aggressive Tigers defenders in a small space. That’s where Auburn excels.
Above- Add to that, you’re in the pistol, and the Q turns his back to the play. There’s no chance of an RPO, limited chance here of Herbert even as a threat to read, pull, and run. With no outside threats is the Q even a threat to boot?
Above- The RB trying to delay this thing and push outside is a mistake. Hit the hole and hit it hard and fast. Don’t give a fast defense the time to run to the ball. Teams need to get under center and pound the rock if they want to play this compact, or spread it out and run a pass-run option like stick-draw.
The Oregon defense is an aggressive, blitzing, leave ‘em on an island style of 3-4. The issue is the Ducks cornerbacks aren’t very good. It reminds me of the Diaz defenses. TFL’s and sacks on 1st and 2nd down, 3rd and long or pivotal play and they’re getting owned.
Above- Bo Nix with all the time in the world and he drops a dime over an Oregon cornerback and under a safety. Oregon’s CB play leaves a lot to be desired through three games of analysis.
Above- Like to see the aggressive play on the ball. Shows the visual-cognitive-motor development is there. Defenders know where the Tigers are going and attack the ball in that space.
Above- Gus going back to the wing-t days and hitting a pin-pull jet sweep for a big gain. Oregon has a tendency in 18 and 19 to give up the edge. Nix had a couple of nice pulls on read plays where the edge was open, too.
Above- Mario has been criticized for his Butch Davis like game day coaching blunders. Oregon has 12 on the field and as one defender runs off, Oregon is late to adjust to the WR standing alone. This is when you take a timeout and don’t allow Auburn to walk into the end zone, and back into the ball game. Align, assign, finish.
Above- Time running out, an Oregon CB gets his ass kicked by an Auburn WR on an obvious passing situation. No ball skills here at all. Piss poor timed jump, and got bodied up. Feels familiar.
Above- Oregon with an explosive play on a punt return, very anti-Miami the last 10 years.
Above- Very pro-Miami the last 10 years... someone else also gets a big PR.
2020 Rose Bowl: Oregon 28 - Wisconsin 27
The 6th ranked Ducks were 11-2 and facing off against the Big Ten’s 8th ranked Wisconsin Badgers who were 11-3 at the time. Oregon had shifted from a finesse and speed team to big boy football and beat the Badgers at their own game. This time it was Oregon who came from behind to win, having trailed Wisconsin by three at the half.
The Ducks only were 3-of-10 on 3rd downs, and 0-for-1 on 4th downs. The Badgers finished 5-of-17 on 3rd down and 4-of-5 on 4th down. The Ducks won the turnover and penalty game. Oregon turned the ball over just once, while the Badgers had four turnovers. Oregon was penalized only twice, compared to Wisconsin’s nine penalties. The Badgers dominated the TOP game 38:03 to 21:57.
Justin Herbert was held to 6.9 yards per pass attempt with no TD’s and an interception. However, Herbert scored three times on the ground while rushing for 29 yards. Oregon averaged only 2.2 yards per carry against the Badgers.
Only two Ducks receivers had double-digit yards per catch on the afternoon. Oregon came away with zero sacks and zero hurries, only three TFL’s, but had three PBU’s.
Wisconsin QB Jack Coan (recently a Notre Dame QB) threw a TD and a pick, while averaging 5.3 yards per pass. Wisconsin ran for 136 yards and 3.7 per carry with a score. Two Badgers averaged double-digit yards per catch, but that’s not surprising with their brand of football.
Wisconsin lost three fumbles, which was the difference in the ball game. They logged two sacks, four TFL’s, and no PBU’s or hurries, which wasn’t good, either.
In some aspects, Herbert was putting on a ‘draft me’ highlight tape. Hitting beautiful back shoulder throws, zipping 10 yard digs through defenders, and flashing his touch and timing that’s making him a really good NFL QB already.
Above- Herbert and Van Dyke have similar skill sets. I’m not saying they’re the same QB, but similar enough. The Ducks hit all over on this drive and capped it off with inside zone read against an over-aggressive Wisky front seven.
Above- I love split zone and the Ducks run it from many formations, motions and shifts.
Above- Herbert on inside zone read with the h-back to his side as a lead blocker. I’m not sure why the H chases inside, he should pick up the alley player who Herbert shakes. You can see how RPO’s open the window as the Wisconsin force defender is playing the bubble.
The Oregon defense played bend but don’t break against Wisconsin and forced three fumbles which were the difference maker in the Rose Bowl. Some shaky tackling and DB play continued, but Wisconsin will force teams to prove they want contact.
Above- I like how you can see grabbing at the football for turnovers is taught by Cristobal’s staff. Once the tackle is secured guys are ripping at the ball.
Above- Middle of the field open in the back end in a clutch red zone situation... you don’t say...
Above- Bubba Bolden... is that... you? Dye gets lit up by Cephus here.
Above- By gawd he’s got a family dammit! The defender looks more like he’s taking on a fullback on a fill than trying to make a tackle. He goes same shoulder / same thigh, stops his feet completely, and makes no attempt at a grapple.
Above- “Turnover” Taylor forcing Oregon to play tough and drags three defenders.
Above- Coach Cristobal might see Jonathan Patke’s work in the kicking game and say ‘run it back’ for ‘22. Missed chip shot field goals, big punt returns, kick returns for TD’s... all familiar outcomes in orange and green.
Above- Then again, Patke would never!
In 2018, Oregon lost to unranked teams in Arizona and Utah. But aye, that’s Year One, right? Then the Ducks turn around and lose to an unranked Arizona State in 2019 which sent Oregon to the Rose Bowl instead of potentially going to the College Football Playoff.
It’s good to see Oregon beating Wisconsin in a bowl game, something Mark Richt certainly couldn’t do while at Miami. The Oregon play calling certainly can be frustrating. It’s going to be a modern pro style. Expect shotgun and pistol, expect a run-first offense, and expect slow developing play-action.
Next time: 2020’s USC and Iowa State games. The Pac-12 was a mess during COVID.