Oregon Ducks coaching search zooms in on Dan Lanning, with positive reviews of Justin Wilcox
The Ducks might have found their man, but it's unclear.
After a week of endless speculation that included a host of names thrown around like Chip Kelly, Justin Wilcox, Lane Kiffin, Dave Aranda and even Urban Meyer, the Oregon Ducks appeared to, for a minute, have landed on Georgia Bulldogs defensive coordinator Dan Lanning as their next steward of the program.
This story was quickly countered though, by both Bruce Feldman and Oregon insiders.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution story has since been updated to note that Lanning is expected to be named the coach as soon as Monday. They have not retracted the story.
After coaching in high school for three years, Lanning has enjoyed a meteoric rise through the college football ranks. He was a graduate assistant with Todd Graham on his Pitt and Arizona State teams in 2011-12, then was upgraded to recruiting coordinator in 2013. He then became a defensive backs coach and co-recruiting coordinator in 2014 at Sam Houston State, then joined Alabama as a grad assistant on their national title team in 2015.
He spent two years at Memphis under Mike Norvell as their inside linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator, then came to Georgia as outside linebackers coach in 2018. Kirby Smart added defensive coordinator to Lanning’s responsibilities in 2019. As defensive coordinator at Georgia, Lanning coached the most monstrous defense in college football in 2021 en route to a playoff bid, with opponents only managing 9.5 points per game.
However, things are not finalized yet. So Lanning is probably the favorite now, but the other candidates can’t be ruled out.
Justin Wilcox had a good interview in general, and the feedback was positive from the Oregon booster contingent who are looking for the return of a local guy. But it’s unclear if this is interview is just to please the fans who are looking for a loyal Duck alum who won’t be caught leaving for any other school. And it’s even more unclear if they have any power in the final decision-making process.
The interview went well in the eyes of UO contingent, I’m told … If the Ducks are dead-set on getting back to their in-state roots, he’s the hire isn’t he? … I wonder if Mullens is interviewing Wilcox early here because he covets him or rather because he wants to please the boosters who passionately support a return to a local candidate.
One Oregon beat writer hinted that structural issues at Cal were holding him back from unlocking his full potential. But the buzz around him remains relatively positive as a program leader.
However, it does not seem like Wilcox is the first candidate.
Chip Kelly seems to be higher up in the pecking order, particularly for Phil Knight, but it appears enough Bruin donors enjoyed the final month to give Kelly a longer shot to set things right in Westwood. More from Canzano:
I’m told the Bruins would very much like to retain Kelly, who won eight games this season and is going to the Holiday Bowl. Kelly’s buyout is $9 million between now and Jan. 15. On Jan. 16 it drops to zero dollars. There are some key boosters in Westwood who would like to play some defense here and retain Kelly. They believe he’s figured something out, but I’m told Kelly is listening to the Ducks.
Kalani Sitake signed an extension with BYU, so he’s no longer in the search.
Finally, could there be a mystery surprise for Oregon that resets the whole board? One Duck alum indicates the possible white whale Phil Knight is chasing.
Until we hear otherwise though, it sounds as if Lanning may be the guy.