Mario Cristobal is entering his first spring as the head coach at Oregon and surrounding him are some key pieces of a new staff with a renewed focus on culture.
Last year, in Willie Taggart’s first and only season leading the Ducks, Cristobal helped lay the foundation of a culture, but with Taggart gone to Florida State, Cristobal has doubled down on creating the culture in Eugene that he feels they need to have to be an elite program in the Pac-12, and nationally.
In Cristobal’s opinion, the biggest difference in teams that win six or seven games, and the teams that are putting together seasons of eight-plus wins comes down to that popular coaching buzzword – culture.
“There is a culture that makes or breaks a team. I think last year that was a foundation laid between all of us that gave us a chance to start building upon that.”
Cristobal knows a thing or two about building a culture, as he built the FIU program from 1-11 in his first year, to bowl eligible and 7-6 in year four, followed by an 8-5 finish in year five.
Last year, under Taggart, the Ducks finished a disappointing 7-6, with a 4-5 mark in Pac-12 play, losing in the Las Vegas bowl to Boise State 38-28. Now Cristobal will have a chance to build on the foundation that was laid last year, with his own spin on things, and he points out culture is the key to a break through year, and building consistently beyond that.
“There is a big difference between winning 7 games, and 8, 9, 10, 11. They all get exponentially harder. Exponentially more difficult. And to make that happen, it’s a little bit of everything, but a lot of culture. Where everything is about trust, belief and accountability, and not compromising that and doing the right things.”
Hear Cristobal’s full answer in the clip.