Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich may be sitting on a burning seat with a golden Nike logo embroidered on it, but it sure looks as though he is safe from being the next on the chopping block for at least a couple more days. Helfrich will be the only Oregon representative at a end-of-the-year news conference today, with the intent of meeting with Oregon representatives later this week to discuss the future.
This does not necessarily mean Helfrich is guaranteed to be safe to return to Oregon as head coach in 2017, because a lack of public showing of support from Athletics Director Rob Mullens comes off a bit ominous, but Helfrich having a plan to meet with Mullens and others this week could simply be routine and business as usual or just a way of putting off a coaching change until Oregon has all of its ducks in a row.
Oregon is coming off a brutal loss against in-state rival Oregon State, putting a fitting end to a dismal season that saw the Ducks go just 4-8. Rumors have been swirling around for weeks that changes could be inevitable at Oregon, with Nike founder Phil Knight reportedly willing to write whatever check necessary to hire the best available coach (a report that has been scrutinized by those close to the Oregon program since making the rounds). Two years ago, Oregon was playing for the national championship with the Heisman Trophy winner (Marcus Mariota). Last year the Ducks suffered a mind-blowing loss in the Alamo Bowl against TCU. And then, this year happened.The program is trending in the wrong direction under Helfrich right now. The only question is whether or not Oregon will wait another year to see if he is capable of turning things around or the time to hire a new coach is now.
The program is trending in the wrong direction under Helfrich right now. The only question is whether or not Oregon will wait another year to see if he is capable of turning things around or the time to hire a new coach is now. Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck and UCF coach (and former Oregon assistant) Scott Frost have been mentioned in the rumor mill as potential possibilities for the Ducks should a change be imminent.