Shortly before the Oregon Ducks’ bowl game, passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach Matt Lubick was promoted to offensive coordinator, filling the spot left by Scott Frost. Lubick began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for his father, Sonny, at Colorado State.
ESPN.com caught up with Lubick earlier this week to chat about his transition, what happened in the TCU game and transfer quarterback Dakota Prukop.
The offensive system is pretty set. How much of an opportunity will you have to put your individual stamp on it?
Lubick: It’s a whole bunch of things -- finding what your team does well and figuring out different ways to keep doing that a little better and then looking at things you don’t do well and figuring out if it’s worth doing or if you can make it work. Everyone is involved in that. I did this even when I wasn’t the coordinator, but you study other people and find out how can we get better, what’s something a little nuanced that we can do to get better without taking away from the stuff we do well. It’s the balancing of time. If you’re going to do a bunch of new things, you don’t want to take away from the stuff that you already do well.
What kind of advice did your dad give you when you told him about the promotion?
Lubick: He was giving me advice along the whole process -- the whole key is just getting people to work together and don’t forget what got you to where you’re at. Keep doing what you’re doing and be very mindful of other people around you. That’s the biggest difference. When you’re a position coach you get very locked into your position and worried about the development and success and helping your guys get as good as they can be. Now when you’re a coordinator you get more involved in all the other positions and you have to look at more as a whole.
Looking back at the TCU game, have you been able to diagnose the problems of the second half?
Lubick: There were a whole bunch of things. It wasn’t just one thing. There were things where at times we could’ve just played better. We didn’t execute our stuff as well as we need to execute it to be successful. There were things when I look back that I could’ve called something different. Anytime something doesn’t work you think you should’ve called something different. ... We had a couple guys get knocked out, but that’s football. That’s going to happen. As coaches, your backups have to be prepared. It wasn’t one person. It was an accumulation of different things. When you lose a game like that you lose as a team and part of losing is that everyone is accountable -- coaches, players. The first thing I did is go back and look at what I could have done different preparing some of these guys, what could I have done different preparing.
Prukop has dominated the Oregon headlines. What are some things you learned about him during the recruiting process and since he has been on campus?
Lubick: We watched him on tape and what really jumped out at us is a guy who’s a proven playmaker who’s in a similar offense. He’s a guy who can definitely run the football and be a threat that way, but he can also drop back and throw it. The leadership, his competitiveness, the fact that he has been very successful in a good league. The experience, which is what Vernon [Adams Jr.] brought to us, too. The fact that we had a lot of success with Vernon, I think that all played into it, too. ... Since he has been here he has been everything we thought and more. We can’t watch him throw the ball but we can do drills without the football and he has already started showing leadership ability not by talking but by doing it, by outworking people and by his effort. His hunger to learn ... he has basically lived in our building.
Lubick: They have been incredibly great and they were that way with Vernon, too. It showed me a lot about their character and Jeff, in particular, he was spending time off the field with [Vernon] to make him a better player. Jeff obviously understood the offense a lot better than Vernon and so he would help him. He would go out of his way, and it was very unsolicited. He would go out of his way to make sure Vernon was successful.
Considering he’ll be here for eight months before the first game and Adams was only on campus about three weeks, are their experiences even comparable?
Lubick: The situation here is more advantageous for Dakota because he’s going to have a whole spring ball, he’s going to have a whole offseason, he’s going to have the whole summer. Venon had none of that. ... Now, with Dakota the thing about him is we can go through our whole offensive package in the spring and see what works and what doesn’t work and what we can do better. With him, it’s just going to be a lot easier to find out what he does well because we won’t be rushed.
Last season you said you were cutting back on coffee, how has that gone since you were named coordinator?
Lubick: During the bowl game it was 100 times more. But so far, after recruiting, I’ve been switching to green tea after 10 a.m. It has been a lot better for me.