Alamo is a business trip for UO's Lubick
EUGENE — Oregon’s wide receivers coach, who will have an opportunity to call the plays in the intriguing postseason matchup against No. 11 TCU on Jan. 2 in San Antonio, is essentially auditioning for the vacant offensive coordinator position.
“I have total confidence in (Lubick) and our offense,” coach Mark Helfrich said after the 15th-ranked Ducks returned to practice on Friday. “You could look at it that way, sure.”
Instead of rejoining staff for the bowl, Scott Frost will concentrate on his new job as Central Florida’s head coach.
Oregon’s former offensive coordinator hasn’t had time to collect the boxed-up contents of his office at the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex. Frost is busy attempting to patch together a recruiting class for the Knights, who finished 0-12 this season.
According to Helfrich, there have been a lot of inquiries about the position from outside the program. The third-year head coach said there is “no rush at all” to make the hire.
“It’s all about getting the best guy. Sometimes that happens really quickly, sometimes that happens later,” Helfrich said. “It’s humbling the response that this place gets, in terms of the quality of the individual, the quality of the background of the individuals that express an interest.”
Offensive line coach Steve Greatwood, in his 29th season on Oregon’s staff, isn’t throwing his hat in the ring to replace Frost.
“I don’t need that for my ego,” Greatwood said. “I feel like I’m responsible for almost half the guys out there on any given play anyhow. I’ve got to get those knuckleheads coordinated. …
“I don’t think I could call the game from the sidelines, so that would mean I’d have to go to the box. If that happened, I don’t think I could do nearly the job getting my guys coordinated.”
Oregon leads the Pac-12 in rushing offense for the 10th consecutive season, averaging 287.8 yards per game with 30 touchdowns.
Greatwood has the added title of running game coordinator.
Vernon Adams Jr. leads the nation in passing efficiency, completing 64.6 percent of his passes for 2,446 yards with 25 touchdowns and six interceptions in only nine starts.
Lubick, in his third season on the staff, has the title of passing game coordinator. He is considered the favorite to be Oregon’s next offensive coordinator.
“Matt’s real sharp,” Greatwood said. “I like Matt because already we’ve been talking about marrying the formations in the run game plan that I come up with, along with his pass game plan. Already, I’ve probably had more communication just in those initial steps in the game plan than I had with Scott.
“I’m looking forward to that. If that’s the way it shakes down, I’m sure it’s going to be a great working relationship there.”
Helfrich and Greatwood said Frost had always aspired to be a head coach. The three previous Oregon offensive coordinators — Mike Bellotti, Chip Kelly and Helfrich — didn’t have to leave the program to get the promotion.
“I was proud, I was happy. Coach Frost is a great guy, a great man, a great coach,” junior wide receiver Bralon Addison said. “When guys like him get the opportunity, you can only be happy for them. He’s a guy this program will miss a lot.”
Lubick will try to make sure Oregon, which ranks sixth nationally in scoring offense (43.2 ppg) and total offense (548.2 ypg), doesn’t miss a beat in San Antonio.
“Coach Lubick is a really smart guy,” Addison said when asked about his position coach possibly becoming the offensive coordinator. “He’s one of the first people here and one of the last people to leave. Every night, every day. I know he’d do a great job.”
QUARTERBACK OPTIONS: Oregon is in the market for another graduate transfer quarterback, and Dakota Prukop is the frontrunner to follow in Adams footsteps.
The Montana State senior-to-be will be visiting Eugene this weekend to check out the campus, the facilities and reunite with Adams, his friend and former Big Sky rival.
Prukop isn’t the only veteran quarterback the Ducks have an interest in. Oklahoma junior Trevor Knight has been granted his release by coach Bob Stoops and, according to a SoonerScoop.com report, already has been in contact with Oregon, as well as Kansas State, Georgia and SMU.
According to 247Sports, Tristen Wallace, a 6-4, 228-pound quarterback prospect from DeSoto, Texas, will also be visiting Oregon this weekend. The four-star recruit is verbally committed to Ohio State.
Three other quarterbacks in the 2016 class — Sheldon High’s Justin Herbert, Terry Wilson of Oklahoma City and Seth Green from Allen, Texas — are verbally committed to Oregon.
Knight made 15 starts as a freshman and sophomore for the Sooners, completing 57.1 percent of his passes for 3,424 yards with 25 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. The 2014 Sugar Bowl most valuable player was beaten out for the starting job this season by All-American Baker Mayfield.
Stoops praised Knight on Friday, according to The Associated Press, and said he understands him wanting to explore options to see if there is another place where he fits. He will remain with Oklahoma at least through the College Football Playoff.