Matt Lubick is just one of hundreds of assistant football coaches to change addresses this offseason, but his situation may be unique to any of his colleagues joining new staffs.
On one hand, what could be better for a wide receivers coach to join a team whose offense runs through most opposing defenses like water through a napkin? But, on the other hand, that prior success creates a standard that Lubick will be expected to quickly hold up his end of the bargain to contribute in Oregon’s quest for a national championship.
And again, on one hand, Lubick steps into a wide receivers room that returns its top four pass catchers and, if he needs help, Oregon’s former wide receivers coach is just down the hall, in the form of offensive coordinator Scott Frost, and the former offensive coordinator is still in the building, in the form of head coach Mark Helfrich. Could there be a better avenue in getting up to speed in a new offense? But, on the other hand, Lubick steps into a room where not only do his head coach and offensive coordinator know the scheme and personnel better than he does, his players do as well.
That’s not to imply Lubick walked into a trap when he left Duke for Oregon. In fact, it’s just the opposite. “Mark and Scott have been so helpful,” Lubick explained.
The Ducks got about the best available option to fill the staff position created by Kelly’s sudden departure for the Philadelphia Eagles. After all, not anyone can win the FootballScoop Wide Receivers Coach of the Year award.
Lubick’s coaching acumen has certainly been stretched in his move from the East Coast to the West Coast.
“A lot of the basics — fundamentals, techniques of coaching the position — some of those are universal,” Lubick said in an interview with the Eugene Register-Guard. “But the terminology, the new vocabulary, and some new plays, putting all that together just takes time. It takes time. It’s like studying for a chemistry test.”
So, what’s different? Almost everything. Oregon and Duke run similar offenses in that the quarterback more often than not lines up in the shotgun and each team regularly puts more than two wide receivers on the field. That’s about where the similarities end. In 2012, the Blue Devils favored the pass on a 56/44 ratio; the Ducks finished far on the other side of the ledger, leaning on the run to the tune of a 65/35 ratio.
“The way we block things is not similar,” Lubick added. “Some of our zone schemes were the same, but a lot of the reads are different here. There’s a read with everything here, as opposed to Duke. That was a change-up for us. We were a different offense. We were more of a passing spread; spread to throw the ball. And a drop-back, man protection team. Where as here we throw the ball well, we run the ball really well, and it’s just, the run scheme’s a lot different.”
Lubick has taken a crash course on Oregon’s terminology and sign language, but there’s only so much a coach can learn in the meeting room or from watching winter workouts. Some things – the ins and outs of each Oregon wide receiver, the Ducks’ practice tempo – can only be picked up on the field.
While he immersed himself in all things quack, Lubick has gained an appreciation of his new staff’s attention to detail that has played such a big part in their success. “This team to me has been the best blocking wide receiver team in the country. I don’t want to take away from that,” Lubick said.
He’s donned the colors, learned the language and studied the roster. All that’s left now for Lubick’s transition to his new home is to hit the field, and that begins one week from today.