To illustrate, the former Georgia defensive coordinator accumulated a wealth of talent after being named the next leader of the Ducks. Recently, Oregon added a couple of offensive talents from the portal — former Texas A&M wide receiver Caleb Chapman and former Minnesota running back Mar’keise Irving.
At Pac-12 Media Days, Lanning explained what the duo can provide the Ducks, as well as how they fit their transfer portal approach.
“Our focus in the portal was to find guys that can make our program better, enhance our program, but marry that with the culture we’re instilling right now in our program, the investment in our culture,” stated Lanning. “Those guys have been phenomenal additions. They have great experience in college football games. It’s good to be able to lean on guys that have firsthand experience in games. They’re working really hard this summer. I think we have 54 newcomers to our program this year.
“Obviously there’s a returning roster of some great talent, but we also have some great additions like those guys.”
As you can see, Dan Lanning and company went into the transfer portal with a plan. Time will tell if it pays off for the head coach during his first season on the job.
Dan Lanning explains excitement seeing ‘familiar faces’ in season-opener vs Georgia
Continuing, Lanning won’t have to wait long to make his return to the state of Georgia. After spending the last four seasons in Athens and the last three as the Georgia Bulldogs DC, Lanning will coach his first game with the Ducks in Atlanta against his former program.
Lanning talked about the opportunity to play the reigning national champions in their opener during Pac-12 Media Day. While he and his team are ready for the competition, he’s also excited to see old friends across the field.
“I certainly couldn’t pass the opportunity to recognize our first game,” said Lanning. “(We) get to play a really familiar opponent in Georgia in a neutral site game in Atlanta. (I’m) certainly excited about going back and seeing some familiar faces with the goal of going there and getting to compete against a mentor and a friend in Kirby Smart.”
While the familiarity is a positive for Dan Lanning’s game plan, it’s a two way street. Both sides will be equally conscious of how the other plays when they meet up in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
“We haven’t spent a ton of focus on game one. I know our players are certainly excited to be on a national stage early and get to play an elite opponent in Georgia,” Lanning said. “We’re really familiar with (them) but, guess what? They’re also familiar with me. That being said, we’re really focused on right now. You can’t play game one until you have practice one. That’s our next approach.”
While there is plenty of respect going both ways, there’ll be no love lost after opening kickoff. A game of that magnitude, even early in the season, can have big implications for potential playoff teams to end the season.