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Oregon coaching staff turns into 'Seven Samurai' vs. Ohio State"
By John Canzano, The Oregonian
on January 24, 2013 at 6:01 PM, updated January 24, 2013 at 10:12 PM
The story of the "Seven Samurai" features a village of Japanese farmers who hire seven lone-wolf samurai to defend their crops against a gang of marauding bandits who intend to invade after the harvest.
Now, pay attention: Oregon's football program is the farm village, the Ducks coaching staff are the samurai warriors and Ohio State is playing the role of the bad-guy marauder. Got all that?
I bring this up because in the hours after ex-Ducks coach Chip Kelly announced his intention to leave the farming villa..., rather, the University of Oregon, newly hired coach Mark Helfrich dispatched his entire seven-member coaching staff out as one unit, himself included, making group appearances in front of the Ducks spring recruit commitments. Helfrich did this as the band of maraud..., I mean, Urban Meyer and his Buckeyes staff, descended upon UO's recruiting harvest, salivating like Pavlov's dog.
Dontre Wilson, a 5-foot-10, 174-pound running back from Texas, committed to Oregon last spring. He now plans to visit Columbus this weekend. Meanwhile, Ohio State celebrated Kelly's NFL announcement by rushing Buckeyes offensive coordinator Tom Herman to San Diego to visit four-star wide receiver Darren Carrington Jr., another UO recruit. Also in San Diego, Ohio State offered two more critical Oregon commitments, twin basketball/football stars Tyree and Tyrell Robinson, scholarships after the Eagles-Kelly business went public.
You think the games are only played during the season? Ha. Because the Ducks recruiting caravan is being called "Helfrich and the Magnificent Seven," by those following this recruiting business. But we all know that western was based on the original "Seven Samurai," so when I think about Helfrich, defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti and Co. on the trail of their recruits today, I think ruthless and skilled protectors who understand that if they don't act with life-and-death urgency, this whole football dynasty could fall apart.
Helfrich, incidentally, has not moved into his new coaching office at Oregon. "I left on the road immediately after the news conference," he told me, "and I haven't been back." And so what we have here is the first big test for Helfrich, who knows that if he can't win some key battles on national signing day Feb. 6, his job on Saturdays next fall will be infinitely more difficult.
Five-star Thomas Tyner feels safe, mostly. Running backs coach Gary Campbell was reportedly in good defensive position (Read: on campus at Aloha High School) when Kelly's NFL news leaked Jan. 16. But it's Wilson, Carrington and the Robinson brothers, among others, that Oregon is trying to protect right now from the poachers, and I imagine Helfrich and his staff are tooling around a recruit's neighborhood in a shuttle bus as you read this.
Everyone is wondering how the Ducks offense might change. (Helfrich says it will only be "tweaked".) They're wondering how good Helfrich can be with a recruit's family. (Kelly was lord of the living room.) And they're wondering how much of Oregon's brand was Kelly himself and how much was Oregon. (We'll soon find out.)
Helfrich said he doesn't plan to use De'Anthony Thomas a featured back next season, instead he'd like to "present De'Anthony as a moving target." Also, Helfrich confirmed what we all suspected -- that there was a collaboration on game preparation last season but when it came to actually calling the plays, "on Saturdays Chip called it."
I suspect those questions are being asked this week as Ohio State and Oregon mix it up. I further think that the sudden move by recruits to schedule visits at other schools (a departure from Kelly's policy of not allowing commits to make other visits) is fascinating. Helfrich said he'd like to keep the core values, rules and policies of the program in place, but he has almost no leverage here with recruits, and is playing this delicately.
It's why winning 10-plus games next season and playing in a fifth straight Bowl Championship Series game becomes so critical for Helfrich in year No. 1. He's got great talent on the roster now. But he knows he needs more to avoid a letdown in two to three years. Until he gets proof of performance as a head coach, though, Helfrich is hamstrung. Meanwhile, Meyer is selling an undefeated 2012 season and a chance to be part of a 2013 coming-out party in Columbus to recruits.
This is where we find the Ducks coach on his first week on the job. I suppose it's why he laughed so hard when I asked if he'd yet hung anything on his office walls. Hung anything? Walls? He's still trying to defend the village crops against Meyer and his marauders. He'll get to the walls after signing day.
Now, anyone who has seen the "Seven Samurai" knows the samurai successfully protect the village, and the film ends with the surviving samurai watching over the farmers as they plant crops for the next season.
Helfrich should just send Meyer a copy of the film.
-- John Canzano
Caption for the pic reads: "Urban Meyer, the Villain in this tale"
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by gessig 18 months ago
Woody and Archie.................................. Alex being Alex, ....................................and Woody at Dennison
Our quarterback does front flips, suck it.
Nope, I follow recruiting and have never heard that. It sounds more like a D-list group of superheros or an 80s boy band
Rather than the Seven Samurai, this is going to end more like Sun Tzu taking whatever he wants from a fragile Oregon:
Sun Tzu on Urban Meyer and Victory:
“Thus we may know that there are five essentials for victory:
(1) He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight. (Tactician, recruits where he wants to)
(2) He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces. (6-7 to 12-0)
(3) He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks. (angry team)
(4) He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared. (take the Oregon recruits)
(5) He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.” (2 NC's and Gene Smith staying out of his way)
― Sun Tzu
This post was edited by Duplic8tor 18 months ago
The Father, The Son... well, it's the
The Holy Trinity... as I see it.
Also very appropriate to Meyer's style:
“Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.”
“If quick, I survive.
If not quick, I am lost.
This is "death.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
And a personal favorite:
“If you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by.”
― Sun Tzu
That's cute...calling out Meyer and OSU only solidifies that the program should be feared.
Oregon should remember who they are in the world of college football traditon, all of Nikes money doesn't change history.
A couple things with this analogy:
1. The Samarai are disgraced and probably should commit sepuku because they are about to be found guilty of dishonoring Bushido code
2. They may protect the majority of the village, but at least one villager is coming with us. And thats all we need
I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with typewriters.
- Frank Lloyd Wright (1868-1959)
I just want to know when the bullshit stops.. the NCAA investigates Auburn, Miami & Oregon yet do nothing about publicized breaches yet hammer USC, Tennessee & OSU.
I know Phil Knight is an Oregon alum & Nike founder but that dude doesn't give his shit away for free. All colleges and fans buy Nike Apparel, it's not like he is gonna stop making the crap in Taiwan & Korea.
If he is giving his special uniforms away for free to Oregon that is a violation is it not?
Eddie George, Simply the best
I agree with the comments about uneven application of NCAA sanctions and interest in violations.....
What tOSU did was in no way designed or lead from the top, and did not give tOSU competitive advantages in recruiting; it was a cover-up of idiocy by some enrolled players.....I am especially interested to see how much Auburn, Miami and Oregon have self-disclosed. All 3-- I'm afraid they are going to get too much credit for self-disclosure, and we will see our relatively minor violations receiving comparable sanctions as the 3 programs that had filthy, institution-led violations that were designed to get recruiting advantages.
"If better is possible, then good is not enough." Sun Tzu
Oregon = Good
Ohio State = Better
Welcome Wilson! Welcome Carrigan!
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
Love the Sun Tzu quotes, but perhaps a thought from Gen. Patton sums it up:
"May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't."
These "samurai" are armed with Benjamins that they secretly distribute to the "villagers".
Carrington - But it doesn't matter what you call him - we need a big WR
That was a dumb article, but good job making this thread fun.
I think of this more of Oregon being like a Cult hide out where OSU is going to go in and liberate a few misguided individuals.
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