In the Bowl Review edition of Quick Quacks I questioned Mark Clayton of the Oklahoma Sooners for two fumbles in the Sooners 55-19 loss to USC in the Orange Bowl. As TimB was correct in pointing out… the Oklahoma player who committed the unorthodox fumble into the end zone after being forced out of bounds at the USC 6-yard line as well as the inexplicable mishandle of a USC punt on his own 4-yard line was Mark BRADLEY.
I wish I had a better explanation for the folly, just a cramp between the ears or a short circuit between there and the keyboard. Thanks for the fact check, TimB… Hopefully, I won't make a habit of doing this sort of thing…
… though it does lend a hand with the intro…
A NEW OC….
By the time word started to get out a couple of days before the official announcement the Ducks had hired ex-BYU head coach Gary Crowton as the new offensive coordinator, I think a number of Duck fans had come to think those duties seemed likely to end up in head coach Mike Bellotti's hands this coming season.
Former Oregon quarterback Bill Musgrave had received some conversation as a possible replacement for Andy Ludwig, but those considerations were quickly squelched when Musgrave signed on as the new offensive coordinator with the Washington Redskins of the NFL.
Whether tongue-in-cheek or not - - and I can't imagine them being anything but tongue-in-cheek - - suggestions that Rick Neuheisal be considered as a possible candidate were put to rest when he signed on to coach quarterbacks for the Baltimore Ravens, also of the NFL.
Then came the whispers that Crowton was headed this way.
A couple of first thoughts… while BYU hasn't enjoyed a lot of success in the past two years, the first season he was coach in Provo, the Cougars finished the season 12-2.
It would appear the old truism that you don't want to be the coach who follows a legend, you want to be the coach who follows the coach who follows the legend became then came into play as the Cougars went 5-7, 4-8, then 5-6 in the following three seasons.
Accepting that old truism however would be a bit misleading. The "legend", in this case long-time BYU head coach Lavell Edwards. didn't have things much better in the four seasons prior to Crowton's 12-2 record for the 2001 season.
In Edward's last four seasons, BYU finished 6-5, 9-5, 8-4, and 6-6. Yes, that is a better record than was posted by Crowton in his four years at the helm, but only by three total games, 29-20 to 26-23.
The years of the real Edwardian legendry was the stretch between 1976 and 1992 when the Cougars won at least 8 games. A 14-1 finish in 1996 was the final high water mark before the program started to backslide those final four seasons before Crowton took over.
Utah, Colorado State and Air Force stepped into that vacuum and reenergized their programs after Edwards's departure, raising the degree of difficulty of finding success in Provo. It also lends some credibility to the "following the legend" part of the truism, but in truth the legend wasn't able to follow the legend.
In his press conference, Crowton spoke of his predisposition to attack with the offense and to his "aggressive" personality. I'm sure that fell on welcome ears for many who felt that was Ludwig's particular shortcoming.
It's only three weeks since the last of the bowl games, but here I am wishing spring practice started tomorrow so we can catch a hint of how that "aggressive" tendency will be translated into X's and O's.
A NEW FEATURE…
There have been a couple of emails sent my way over something in one of the Quick Quacks, but nothing structured has been in place to allow that feedback. Happily that will no longer be the case as we have set up a feedback account. Just click on the link below to let me know what's on your mind.
It has been hard to switch gears from football and get my attention fully turned to the basketball season. That surely won't be the case tonight, as the Ducks take on Arizona at Mac Court. After the two Arizona schools, it is to the Bay Area and to Corvallis before returning to McArthur Court to face the Huskies and Cougars, then heading to Tempe and Tucson. I know the ACC is considered to be the toughest of basketball conferences, but is there really a more treacherous road than that?
Till next time….