HELFRICH ANNOUNCES STAFF CHANGES
Two days removed from the season finale, Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich announced Monday that outside linebackers coach Erik Chinander has accepted a position to become the defensive coordinator at another FBS institution. (Reportedly at Scott Frost's U. of Central Florida).
"I want to thank Coach Chinander for his hard work these past two seasons," Helfrich said. "This is a natural progression for him as he's an outstanding young coach."
Helfrich also announced that Don Pellum, the Ducks' defensive coordinator the past two seasons, will move to linebackers coach.
"Don is a great man who has helped shape the culture and growth of Oregon Football in several different capacities for nearly 30 years," Helfrich said. "He's committed, as we all are, to being part of the solution to improve the end results on the field."
A national search for a new defensive coordinator will commence immediately.
Ducks redshirt freshman quarterback Morgan Mahalak asked for and has received his release from Oregon, though that doesn't necessarily mean he'll ultimately leave Eugene.
An athletic department spokesman confirmed the release, which appeared imminent when Mahalak began following on social media recruiters from schools such as Virginia Tech, Nebraska, Duke, Colorado and Syracuse after Oregon's 47-41 loss to TCU in Saturday's Alamo Bowl.
Mahalak has not decided whether to leave Oregon, however, according to his father, Geoff, but is considering transferring.
In a phone interview, Geoff Mahalak said his son asked for the release to "check out all options," one of which could be a return to the Ducks for 2016, when he would join a crowded field competing for the starting quarterback job. Graduate transfer Dakota Prukop began classes Monday, and Jeff Lockie, Taylor Alie, Travis Jonsen, Terry Wilson and Justin Herbert all could be on the roster by spring football.
He has not attempted a snap in a counting game for the Ducks and ran the scout team all fall. Coach Mark Helfrich, who recruited Mahalak, said the QB wasn't a factor in Oregon's quarterback race in 2015 in part because he hadn't taken advantage of his redshirt season and was behind the other competitors, a sentiment Mahalak himself acknowledged months earlier.
"There's nothing behind the scenes that's fishy," Helfrich said in October. "He's just not operationally as good as the other guys. It's simple as that at this point."
Mahalak is a former four-star dual-threat recruit from Kentfield, California, who backed up Cal QB Jared Goff in high school until receiving acclaim as a senior who, at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, fit the mold of many spread offenses. In his senior season at Marin Catholic High School he completed 61 percent of passes and averaged 7.0 yards per carry.
-- Andrew Greif
Time for a break
Until there is substantial breaking news (new coordinator; AP final rankings, February 3rd Signing Day, etc) I'll be taking a break for awhile. There's sure to be a lot of recruiting activity, men & women's conference basketball, Ducks baseball ranked #14, etc. to follow, so in the interim stay close to the Oregon websites.