By STEVEN VAUGHAN, 750 THE GAME
Even though the Ducks are the No. 2 seed in the Pac-12 there is a lot of optimism that Oregon will beat top-seed Washington on Friday. But if we have learned anything from Dan Lanning this season – he doesn’t take anything for granted.
Coach Lanning has said this Oregon team is one of the closest teams he has ever seen. Lanning was giving his weekly Monday press conference and was asked about the team and the cohesiveness that they have. Lanning explained how close the team is and how it translates to success on the field.
“(There is) genuine love for each other,” said Lanning. “An excitement for when their teammate does extremely well. There is no selfishness on this team. There aren’t a lot of me guys, it’s really about the team. They spend time with each other outside of the building. It’s not just football. They watch movies at each other’s house, they go out and eat together, they have real relationships. It’s not just go to your dorm room and shut the door.”
There are rumors everywhere about the health of Huskies QB Michael Penix Jr. It could be a sickness. It could be an actual injury. Nobody actually knows. But the stats tell a different story. It appeared Penix got hurt in the first game against Oregon. In the first six games of the season, which includes the Oregon game, Penix was averaging 383.5 passing yards a game. In his last six games Penix is averaging 266.33 passing yards a game. Lanning was asked about Penix and if he still thinks the Heisman candidate is healthy.
“He’s (Michael Penix Jr.) still won every single game. Maybe he hasn’t had the stats that he had early in the season but he’s obviously a really talented quarterback. A really good quarterback. It’s late in the season. Everybody’s a little banged up, but to me he’s still playing really elite football.”
The ways Dan Lanning has motivated his team has become legendary. It started against Colorado when he gave a very passionate pregame speech. Last week against Oregon State, all around the facilities the fourth quarter of last season’s Civil War game was playing when the Ducks couldn’t stop a run. Lanning was asked about the motivation he plans on doing for this week.
“We always have a plan for ways to motivate our players. But I’ll say that this one doesn’t require a lot of extra motivation.”
Oregon is 9-9.5 point favorite depending on where you look in the Pac-12 Championship game on Friday in Las Vegas at Allegiant Stadium.