Day Three on the job was practice number two and the last in Eugene this season for the Oregon Ducks under new head coach Mario Cristobal.
The 47-year-old Miami native was promoted from offensive line coach to big boss man after being on campus just 11 months.
The Ducks Las Vegas Bowl matchup won’t be Cristobal’s first post-season experience running a team. While leading Florida International University for six seasons he coached the Panthers in two bowl games.
Cristobal owns three national title rings, two as a player with the University of Miami Hurricanes and one as a coach with Nick Saban at Alabama.
While a place like Las Vegas offers plenty of temptation for distraction, Cristobal doesn't feel the need to lecture his men of Oregon.
“We always say, Hey, you control the process. Don’t let the process control you.’ So we have very clearly defined parameters that go with this thing as it relates to curfews and rules and regulations,” he told reporters Sunday. “If you have to have a ginormous book of rules and policies, you probably have the wrong guys in the locker room.”
The coach seems to trust his players and took the muzzle off the freshman. While former head coach Willie Taggart didn't allow first-year guys to speak to the media, Cristobal doesn't mind.
That made Sunday the first chance to hear from Thomas Graham Jr and Jordan Scott after their dynamic freshman campaigns under the one-and-done leadership of Taggart.
“I was upset when Coach Taggart left, but if he’s chasing his dreams I can’t blame him. I’m chasing my dreams by playing college football right now, trying to go to the NFL,” Graham said, adding that he was staying with the Ducks, “no matter what.”
“I’m happy he brought us all here to make it all happen,” Scott said of his former coach. “It’s good that he did that, then made the best decision for him. So now we are going to move forward against Boise State.”
The Ducks now head to the oasis in the Nevada desert, where Saturday's Las Vegas Bowl with Boise State will kick off at 12:30 p.m. and the 25th-ranked Broncos are touchdown favorites.
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