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Mario Cristobal hired by Oregon-Leavitt status remains uncertain

Florida Football Insiders



Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a tumultuous week in Eugene, OR. And, Friday afternoon, the Ducks football program went for stability in promoting former FIU Head Caoch, Mario Cristobal to the permanent position.

The 47 year old Cristobal takes over for Willie Taggart who left on Tuesday for the Florida State job.

At his press conference, he stressed his previous experience building FIU from the rubble of 0-12, probation, and no expectation into a bowl winning program. Plus, his four years (2013-16) with Nick Saban at Alabama, that included being part of two National Championships.

As we wrote earlier Friday, Cristobal was the overwhelming choice of the the Oregon players. Upon him being named the interim coach Tuesday night, they reportedly gave him a rousing standing ovation at their initial Wednesday team meeting.

Then, they were pushing so hard for Cristobal that on Thursday the players signed a petition for him to be named the full time head coach.

The players, recruits for the Ducks and even, Oregon fans, got the hashtag “#Cristoballin” trending on social media over the last 48 hours.

That obviously made an impression on Oregon AD Rob Mullens, who had been interviewing candidates since Wednesday, and, obviously by Thursday night, he was eager to put the week of uncertainty for the Ducks to rest.

Again, to demonstrate how popular this move was within their building, here’s quick video that a Duck defensive back tweeted at their Friday afternoon team meeting to formally tell the team Cristobal was getting the job permanently:

And it’s not as if Cristobal doesn’t have experience and credibility, as a former player and long time assistant at the University of Miami coahing under both Butch Davis and Larry Coker and is well known, as a big time recruiter in South Florida.

That’s when Taggart hand picked him to join his new staff at Oregon this past season as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.

So, we now know that Cristobal will not be joining Taggart in Tallahasse, but we don’t know if defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt will join him. We wrote on Wednesday that the “rubber stamp” reporting of Leavitt coming with Taggart to FSU was at best pre-mature and possibly completely wrong.

Cristobal told the media and fans in attendance that Leavitt, just like all the Oregon assistants, is contractually committed through their December 16th bowl game with Boise State. He further said, “We’re doing everything we can to convince him to stay. He’s here through the bowl game at least….You have to let things play out.”

This, obviously means that Oregon is trying financially or otherwise to keep him in Eugene. Stay tuned on that.

For now, a Cuban born-Miami raised former Cane/FIU Panther now takes over one of the premier programs in the West.

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