Oregon to interview Atreyu and Falkor to replace Helfrich and Pellum


Hoping to exorcise the un-magic that happened in the second half of the Alamo Bowl, Oregon’s head coach and defensive coordinator search starts with a pair of trusted names. …But it’s not who you think.

By Andrew Pridgen

This offseason, the Oregon Ducks should not waste any time firing head coach Mark Helfrich and defensive coordinator Don Pellum and his pimp suit sans pimp cup (see: below) after a historic come-from-ahead 47-41 triple-overtime loss in San Antonio Saturday.

The No. 2 Oregon Ducks face the University of Virginia Cavaliers at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, Virginia on September 7, 2013. It is the first time the Ducks have faced an ACC opponent in program history. (Michael Arellano/Emerald)
The No. 2 Oregon Ducks face the University of Virginia Cavaliers at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, Virginia on September 7, 2013. It is the first time the Ducks have faced an ACC opponent in program history. (Michael Arellano/Emerald)

Both Helfrich and Pellum seemed late for their one-on-one vaguely racist Mariachi-themed date at the Riverwalk’s La Paloma after starting quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. left the game in the second quarter with a head injury. Adams Jr. had spotted his coaches a 31-0 lead at the time of his exit.

The Ducks’ second postseason loss in as many tries puts them at 9-4 for the season and has started the rumor mill churning that Oregon may act swiftly—especially with Chip Kelly, Helfrich’s former boss, on the market after he was fired by the Philadelphia Eagles last month.

Oregon AD Rob Mullens was unavailable for comment Sunday as to whether Helfrich’s job was in jeopardy after the lackluster season that followed a no-show performance in the college football playoff championship game last January. But insiders hinted the Ducks may be vetting some unorthodox choices after the Oregon coaching staff seemed to be watching YouTube videos on how to run the zone read spread offense in the booth.

Newly minted offensive coordinator Matt Lubick apparently left his playbook on the bus along with his Red Vines and disposable camera. Lubick opted instead to dive into his wealth of knowledge of a four-play set from his Tecmo Bowl days. Even that was done unconvincingly, as Oregon star RB Royce Freeman was given the ball only nine times in the second half. Guess he’s only comfortable calling Pass 3 (the one on the bottom right).

Oregon’s 2015-’16 campaign reached its nadir in the second-to-last drive of regulation in Saturday’s Alamo Bowl. At that point the Ducks had a three-point lead and the ball with 3:32 on the clock. Plenty of time to to run for two first downs and be back at the hotel in time for HBO’s 9 p.m. premiere of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Instead, Oregon back-up QB Jeff Lockie threw a pair of incompletions and the Ducks punted; this barely took a minute off the clock.

Beyond bringing Kelly back (46-7 with three conference titles in his four seasons as Oregon head coach), The Ducks are rumored to be looking at Atreyu, the protagonist of the mysterious book this kid named Bastian finds that is supposed to go on forever but really ends in under two hours. Atreyu is a young warrior from the Grassy Plains whose parents were killed by the Purple Buffalo. He was raised by his village, because—after all—that’s what it takes.

He is summoned by the Childlike Empress (<–actual name) to save the land of Fantasia by finding a cure for her illness. To help him on his quest, he is given AURYN, an amulet that gives whoever wears it magic powers. Powers like being able to stop teams on third and eight which is something Pellum can never do.

Atreyu also comes complete with Falkor the Luckdragon. Falkor has the face of a lab puppy and a furry white body to match. He also looks stoned when he flies. He likes to be scratched behind the ears and can exhale fire which is great for halftime speeches and pep rally bonfires—if those still existed in college football beyond what you see in incredible movies sort of about college football.

Also, even though they don’t have much experience recruiting, there’s this van inspired by Atreyu and Falkor’s story. To date there is no Helfrich/Pellum van, nor seemingly anyone who wants to ride in it.

“Beyond maybe Rylo Ken, who I still can’t fucking believe what’s going on with that backstory, I don’t really see anyone better qualified than Atreyu and Falkor to get this program ignited again,” one Oregon booster was quoted between Scotch-infused burps while waiting for his table at Bohanan’s after the game. “I dunno. Fuck it. Hire Rich Brooks back—at least he ran the ball.”