Oregon lost 34-24 to Oregon State to finish 4-8. Per a USA Today Sports report, the Oregon athletic department has “made preparations for a coaching search that will follow the eventual firing of Mark Helfrich.” But, Helfrich has not been fired yet.
Helfrich has given off a “Larry Coker” vibe for a while. The Ducks’ play has tailed off since Marcus Mariota left. Their defense, under new coordinator Brady Hoke, was another comprehensive disaster. Oregon has still yet to develop a homegrown quarterback under Helfrich.
Oregon is not a program fond of outside hires. Helfrich’s $11.6 million buyout is steep. But, a direction change is required. The need may be acute at Oregon, a non-traditional power feeding off branding, avant-garde offense, and very recent success.
USA Today raises Boise State’s Bryan Harsin and Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck as potential replacements. Brian Kelly may be interested. Another intriguing option could be Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen.
Mullen has a ton of experience. He’s only 44. He brings the offensive competence and quarterback development Oregon would want, with a much better track record of defensive coordinator hires. Mullen, a native Northerner, has hit a clear ceiling with the Bulldogs.