IN SHORT WEEK, CRISTOBAL IS CAREFULLY IMPLEMENTING A JUGGLING ACT – “You certainly can’t squeeze an extra day in there because you can probably hurt your team more than help it”
We all know the old saying, ‘you can’t squeeze a square peg into a round hole.’
Typically, this is an idiom that describes a person unsuited for a specific job or position.
In the case of Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal, his idiom this week, is his teams practice schedule and how he’s juggling that schedule into a shortened work week prior to the Ducks Pac-12 Championship match-up with Utah on Friday.
The Ducks are in the midst of a six day work week to prepare for the Utes which is forcing Cristobal and his staff to make subtle, but extremely important changes to their preparation with a conference championship and Rose Bowl berth on the line.
“You certainly can’t squeeze an extra day in there because you can probably hurt your team more than you can help it” said Cristobal when asked about the stress of preparing in a shortened practice week.
“Just coming off of a game and having to get back on there a day earlier at this point in the year, right ….it’s difficult enough as it is in the regular season but as you get to this part of the year if you have some guys banged up, twenty four hours is a lot. It’s a long period of time. Sometimes it’s a difference between a player being on the field or not.
“You have to really, really plan it out thoroughly,…think of every possible aspect as it affects the performance of the players, and with the goal peaking on Friday. You can’t compromise work, but you can’t overload it. You have to stay physical in practice but you can’t overdue it. We find that balance and we depend on our sports science team, and at the same time we depend on our old school mentality that there’s no substitute for work,…there’s no substitute for effort and physicality.”
In a typical work week for the Ducks they’ll use Monday as a rest day for the players and begin their workload and preparation on Tuesday’s.
With the loss of an entire day, it affects every aspect of the Ducks preparation in all areas,…offense, defense and special teams.
And it complicates things even more when its a match up with one of the best teams in the country.
No. 13 Oregon is facing their most competitive challenge of the season in No. 6 Utah who arguably boasts the best defense in college football.
The Utes are allowing opponents an average of just 60 offensive snaps per game which leads the country.
In contrast, the Ducks are allowing opponents an average of 73 offensive plays per game.
“Part of them having so few snaps is they get off the field” explained Cristobal.
“They are statistically the best or right at the top of the very best in the country in about every defensive statistical category. At the same time, their offense does a great job controlling the line of scrimmage,…controlling the clock,..they’ve kind of had their way offensively. And at the same time they push the ball down the field,…they take some shots. They’re very accurate with their downfield stuff. That combination is a very difficult combination. So when you enter a game like this your plan has to be ready to take on those particular aspects because if a team like that has their way and plays to their strengths it makes it a difficult situation.”
In his Monday media briefing at the Hatfield Dowlin Complex, Cristobal discusses the difficulties of facing Utah, his teams preparation for Friday’s match up and the college football coaching carousel.
MARIO CRISTOBAL MONDAY BRIEFING