By STEVEN VAUGHAN, 750 THE GAME
The game felt over in the first half. The Ducks were dominating Colorado on Saturday down at Autzen Stadium. Oregon had it rolling on offense and defense. They had gone for a two-point conversion, which wasn’t successful. The Ducks faked a punt in their own territory. It was all Oregon the whole game. It seemed like another game where Oregon was much more talented than their opponents.
Some didn’t see that way. Fox Sports’ Skip Bayless was on his show, Undisputed, and had some criticisms of Oregon coach Dan Lanning. Bayless said that it stems from the fact that Deion Sanders didn’t have to pay his dues in the coaching world when a lot of coaches do.
“There is a deep-rooted, sort of a venomous vengeance that is starting to manifest itself against Deion among white coaches,” said Bayless. “And I’m not going to say all white coaches cause we saw what Jay Norvell did just two weeks ago. It’s deep-rooted and seeded because Deion didn’t pay any dues that they all had to pay. He’s simply the greatest athlete ever to play and shattered the mold.”
While I don’t disagree that some coaches are not happy that some people move up the ladder faster than others, this game wasn’t an example of that. Oregon viewed Colorado as a threat and treated them that way. Deion Sanders also has paid his dues on the field by being a Hall of Fame player. Bayless would go on to say that Lanning was trying to humiliate Sanders and the Colorado program.
“Dan Lanning said ‘I’m going to humiliate you Deion Sanders. I’m going to expose you. I’m going to go for two’. It’s 13-0, it could have been 14 if you just kick the point. Did you miss the point on 7-0? No, you didn’t. You’re going for two to just rub their noses in it.”
It seems off base what Bayless was saying if you watch the Oregon program.
Dan Lanning responded to Bayless on Monday night.
“I don’t know Skip at all. I’ve never had a conversation with him. I’ve watched him enough to know how often he gets it wrong. So that sounds about right.”
Lanning was drawing criticism for his pregame speech he gave his players. ABC showed a clip of Lanning yelling and screaming at his players to motivate them before the game, saying they are about substance. And the Ducks are playing for wins not clicks. Lanning explained that to the media on Monday.
“We’re playing to win the game. And you saw a 15-second clip from a window view outside the house of what happens in the locker room. I know our locker room. I’m in the house 100% of the time. I know how our players felt going into that game. I know what it takes to motivate our players. That’s my job to motivate our players. He has a job. I have a job, too. To get out there on the field.
“Inside that house. They felt a certain way. They felt a certain way about a group stomping on the O. They felt a certain way about guys talking to them in the pregame and I’m proud of those guys because what they decided to do was talk with their pads. They didn’t want to do any extra after. They wanted to talk with their pads.”
There were more the 10 million people who tuned in to watch the Ducks and Colorado on Saturday, making it the most-watched game of the weekend. Even more than the top 10 matchup between blue blood programs Notre Dame and Ohio State. Lanning gave props to Sanders who is the main reason so many people watched the game.
“I’m also grateful and can clearly acknowledge that the attention we got on Saturday in large part was due to Deion and what he’s doing to college football. If anybody can’t see what he’s done for college football and how he’s bringing excitement to college football you’re crazy.”
Lanning has made it pretty clear. He cares about one thing: Winning.
“It wouldn’t matter if I was playing my 10-year-old son on the other sideline. I’m gonna do everything I can to win. If I’m playing Bill Belichick I’m going to do everything I can to win. Did I go for it on 4th down? Yeah. I have every game this year. I’ve gone for it nine times. Did I go for a two-point conversion? Yeah I’ve done it three out of the four games this year. And if we play again tomorrow I’m going to do the same thing. I’m going to do everything I can to win a game and everything I can to motivate my team. That to me is classless what he is saying there. But I’m not really worried about it.”
The Ducks are up to No. 9 in the AP poll and are on the road at Stanford on Saturday while Colorado has fallen out of the AP poll but the schedule doesn’t get any easier — they host USC on Saturday.