Thursday, March 24, 2011

In Recruiting, the Ducks Overcame a Built-In Disadvantage that will always exist

Parenthetically, Leather Helmet Blog makes a telling point. Only a scarce few of Oregon's best athletes are home grown. Very hard to sustain success.  He counts 23 Oregonians on the roster--that seems high, and even so, many of those are non scholarship players.

In Florida, Texas, Los Angeles--in fact, in most of SEC country, a coach can count on a core of talent within driving distance of his school.  There's a terrific group of players that grew up dreaming of wearing the jersey of the in-state power.  Oregon has to manufacture this kind of interest elsewhere with flash and creativity, and coaches that make a unique personal connection to recruits.  It's a much greater challenge.  The Ducks have little in the way of a natural base, and it leads many around the country to believe their recent success is an anomaly, a one-off, a convergence of good fortune, judicious hiring and Nike money. 

Worse yet and odder still, the geographic defying of the odds has fueled the suspicion about Oregon recruiting.  "How'd they get so good so fast?  How come all of the sudden are they stealing kids from our backyard?"  The whispers turned into an accusation, and their associations and partnerships were examined with a jaundiced burnt orange eye.  The eyes of Texas are upon UO, and Major Applewhite is crying foul.  Duck loyalists are saying he's never gotten over being outshined by Joey Harrington in the 2000 Holiday Bowl, that he still sees Joey in his sleep, stumbling into the end zone with a pass from Keenan Howry.

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