Dan Lanning speaks about Oregon Ducks’ expectations for competing in Big Ten

What are realistic expectations for the Oregon Ducks as the Oregon football team migrates to the Big Ten? Well, it seems like Dan Lanning isn't worried too much about the style of play that seems common in the new conference.
Vrbo Fiesta Bowl - Liberty v Oregon
Vrbo Fiesta Bowl - Liberty v Oregon / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

As Dan Lanning and his Oregon Ducks get set for the upcoming 2024 Oregon football season, it shouldn’t come as much of a shocker that one topic folks seemingly can’t stop talking about is the move to the Big Ten.

It’s a big deal! 

Oregon helped shift the entire college football landscape being one of the teams that ditched the Pac-12 for greener pastures and a more functional conference. And while the Ducks were really good a season ago, some have started to wonder how things might translate in a conference like the Big Ten, where things are just different than out on the West Coast. 

Colin Cowherd, in an interview with Lanning, happened to bring that up.

Cowherd did note that he believes Oregon is well situated to be able to be one of the programs running the Big Ten for the foreseeable future.

“I think you and Ohio State are equipped to really control this conference for the next several years going forward. You have quarterback play, you have the coach, you’ve got the infrastructure,” Cowherd stated.

Still, even Cowherd seems to believe that the transition from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten could make things interesting for Lanning and the Oregon football program. Partially given the climate and the way Big Ten football traditionally exists.

“The Big Ten, Dan, it’s different. You play in the rain, it gets cold. It’s physical, it’s two tight ends, are you looking at the film and thinking ‘we’ve got to tweak some stuff here?’” 

But, as Lanning explained, “winning football is winning football and it starts in the trenches.”

Dan Lanning discusses expectations amid Oregon football’s move to Big Ten

It’s not like the bulk of Lanning’s coaching experience is located out on the West Coast. This is a coach who learned from guys like Nick Saban and Kirby Smart deep in the South. Lanning has coached in the Southeastern Conference and he’s seen how styles of football can differ in different regions. 

And the way that he seems to be building the Oregon football program sure resembles a program that is prepared for a more stereotypical “physical” brand of football.

“You have to be big up front, you have to be able to win on the line of scrimmage,” Lanning said. “I don’t think that formula changes, but what we’re doing right now in the office is truly studying some of those opponents that we’re going to be seeing next year.”

It would be interesting to understand more in depth about what Lanning and the rest of the Oregon football coaching staff are exploring in terms of what the various teams on the 2024 Oregon football schedule do well. 

The schedule itself features a variety of teams that are operating in several different ways, especially on offense. The Purdue Boilermakers and Wisconsin Badgers both have Air Raid guys as the architects of their offenses. Not that the Air Raid can’t have physical, tough elements to it, but it’s not the “two tight end” stereotype of a Big Ten offense.

It seems likely that Ohio State is going to run the absolute heck out of the ball this season, but it remains to be seen exactly what the Buckeyes’ offense looks like. 

To some degree, teams like Michigan, Washington, UCLA, and Oregon State (not Big Ten, but still on the schedule) are going through various different levels of ideological shifts because of coaching changes. So, it’ll be interesting to see what those offenses look like.

I guess I say all that to say: hey Dan, if you ever want to explain more of what the Ducks are trying to examine across the Big Ten (and the schedule as a whole), I’d love to chat sometime to learn more. Just have your people call my people.

As Lanning told Cowherd, there are going to be some adjustments that the Ducks have to make throughout the year.

"There might be a package here or two that we have to carry that's a little bit different for some of the teams we'll face, but ultimately what's going to win games is us playing our best ball," Lanning explained.