At the University of Oregon, football is a great tradition. The Ducks are now known to be a powerhouse in the Pac-12, finishing second with a record of 9-3 last year. The Ducks have produced special players since the beginning of the football...
In Oregon’s history, there have been many players and coaches of note — from coach Cal Young and his one-game inaugural season in 1984 to Chip Kelly and Marcus Mariota. Although most people say Mariota is the greatest Oregon player of...
With all due respect to the great Norm Van Brocklin, Dan Fouts is the greatest NFL quarterback the University of Oregon has ever produced. With an impressive professional career spanning 15 seasons,
At Oregon, we have grown accustomed to outsiders disrespecting our players by calling them “soft.” Even Marcus Mariota was not safe from such descriptions, as critics in the national media called him a mere by-product of a successful system. Many...
Throughout the Oregon Ducks’ football history, they have provided some incredible NFL talent. Despite being criticized as a program that “does not prepare players for an NFL offense,” Oregon has produced some incredible NFL players. To prove this, I compiled a starting lineup...
Marcus Mariota will participate in the 2015 NFL scouting combine as the most decorated football player in Oregon history. Thus begins the native Hawaiian’s arduous journey to the NFL. For three years, Mariota thrived in the no huddle, up-tempo Oregon offense, rolling out and extending plays,...
Pleased To Meet You…
– Sam Finley, EDN
Greetings! You may have read a handfull of my pieces I’ve done for EDN or other publications in town. Or you may want to know one question: Who the heck is this guy?
So with the latter in mind, let me formally introduce myself. My name is Sam Finley and I am now your humble sports editor for the Eugene Daily News. I’ve covered U of O athletics on and off since 2000, and I’m looking forward to the challenge of developing the EDN sports page into something no one else has seen in this area.
But rather than blather on with a lengthy introduction, why don’t I give you a few random thoughts about the sporting scene (both local and not-so-local) at the moment?
First off, somebody asked me what I thought about the MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday. Here’s the answer? I didn’t watch it. My feeling was, with all the big name players like Derek Jeter that didn’t care enough to show up for it, that it just isn’t the big deal it was 10-20 years ago. Apparently, many across the country felt the same way, as this one drew the worst TV ratings in the All-Star Game’s history. Thus, why waste my time?
Staying on baseball, if you haven’t been following the Eugene Emeralds this season, you’re missing out. Currently, the Ems have a 21-6 record, and these young Padres’ prospects have been fun to watch so far. It’ll be interesting to see how they do now without Cory Spangenberg (who was promoted up to San Diego’s Fort Wayne affiliate two days ago), but that’s the beauty of the Class A level: You really never know what, aside from funny mascots like Sluggo, you’re going to get.
Switching gears a bit, with all of the great quarterbacks that Oregon has had over the years, it can be hard to pick just who is the greatest in the Ducks’ history. Norm Van Brocklin comes to mind, as does Dan Fouts. An honorable nod must also be made to guys like Bill Musgrave, Akilli Smith, Kellen Clemens, and Dennis Dixon, who could’ve brought the U of O to much greater heights if injuries (to themselves or others) hadn’t got in the way.
But here’s my pick for the best ever: Joey Harrington. The guy only lost three games as a starter during his two-and-a-half years. He also led the Ducks to two Pac-10 championships, as well as their highest overall national ranking (at number two) in 2001. No, he didn’t rewrite the Oregon record books like Musgrave or Smith, and he certainly didn’t have the greatest arm in the world.
Joey simply knew how to do one thing: win. To this day, I still believe that he should’ve finished higher than fourth in the 2001 Heisman Trophy vote. Having said all that, if Darron Thomas has another couple of outstanding seasons as the main signal caller, I may have to reconsider my position.
Speaking of current Oregon football players, I’m sure a lot of you are excited for the upcoming season. Coming off a BCS game appearance last year, and opening this one against a loaded team like LSU will certainly do that. However, I also know a lot of you are troubled by some of the alleged recruiting violations being investigated by the NCAA right now.
It doesn’t help matters when a few people in the local media have quickly rushed to judgement that head coach Chip Kelly is hiding something.
How can they know about his guilt? No one should assume any innocence or guilt until all the facts are in. We don’t know what Chip said to the NCAA, and won’t until this information is released.
In light of this, some have suggested that Oregon should release all the documents now to prove they’ve done nothing wrong . But as Lee Corso likes to say: Not so fast, my friend.
Contrary to the pontifications of some out there, the best thing that the U of O can do at the moment is remain silent until the investigations cover an actual grey area. Why? Well, I’m running out of word space, so a more definitive explanation will be provided in next week’s column. In the meantime, support your local athletics programs and we’ll see you in the bleachers.