Miami football alum Mario Cristobal on short list to win first national championship

GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 21: (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 21: (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) /

Mario Cristobal who is a former Miami football player and coach and is now the head coach at Oregon was named as the coach with the seventh most likely odds to win his first national championship.

Mario Cristobal played offense line on the Miami football team from 1989-92, was a graduate assistant coach with the Hurricanes from 1998-2000 and an assistant coach from 2004-06 was tabbed as the seventh most likely coach to win his first national title by 247Sports.Com. Cristobal is entering his third season at Oregon.

Mario Cristobal began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Miami football program from 1998-20. After three seasons as an offensive line and tight ends coach at Rutgers, Cristobal returned to the Miami football program as the tight ends coach in 2004-05 and the offensive line coach in 2006.

Cristobal was hired as the head coach at Florida International in 2007. A five-year stint with the Panthers included a victory in the 2010 Little Caeser’s Bowl and loss in the 2011 Beef O’Brady’s Bowl. Cristobal was fired following a 3-9 record in 2012. Cristobal then spent the 2013-16 seasons on Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama.

After one season co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach with Oregon, Cristobal was hired to replace Willie Taggart who left the Ducks to take the head coaching job at Florida State. Cristobal coached the Ducks in their loss in the 2017 Las Vegas Bowl and was then named the full-time head coach.

"No. 7: Mario CristobalMario Cristobal’s start at Oregon has been as good as one could hope in the Pac-12, but the biggest challenge and test for the head coach awaits in Year 3. Quarterback Justin Herbert and four starters from what he believes is the best offensive line he has coached are gone.The good news? CJ Verdell is back at running back and the Ducks are stacked at receiver. The defense is pretty good, too. Oregon won the Pac-12 with a 12-2 record last season, and if not for a loss in the conference, the Ducks would have reached the College Football Playoff.Now the next step is jumping from 12-2 to an undefeated or one-loss season — and doing it without Herbert at quarterback. ,” Cristobal told 247Sports recently on an episode of Social Distance (about the Oregon Football Program taking the next step after winning the Pac 12 and the Rose Bowl last season.)“I mean, going from 12-2 to 13-1 and that 14-0 mark, that’s exponentially harder than making the leap from 9-4 to 12-2. So the gap has to be closed in terms of, from a coaching staff standpoint, we have to make sure that we are flawless and airtight in everything we present to our players. We know what we have. We feel like we have a good understanding of what we can be good at and certainly the things we have to improve upon, and at the same time we’ve had to continually develop and increase the talent level in our locker room on our football team. Recruiting has certainly been a tremendous plus for us, and it’s going and trending that way again for the third consecutive year.”My confidence in Cristobal is not necessarily tied to the quarterback. He has the toughest and hardest-hitting team in the trenches in the Pac-12, and as he continues to build the program with a resurgence in recruiting (the best classes in Oregon history), the Ducks are built to be contenders in the future."

Comparisons between Cristobal and Manny Diaz

The above analysis came from Brandon Marcello of 247Sports who named Cristobal as the seventh most likely coach to win a national championship from his list of “The 10 coaches most likely to win first national championship.” Cristobal enters the 2020 season with some question marks as stated by Marcello.

Some of the changes on Oregon are not unlike what the Miami football team is facing this fall. Both programs will have new starting QBs. Oregon is in a better position after finishing 12-2 and nearly qualifying for the college football playoff last season. Miami is coming off of its first losing season since 2014 after finishing 6-7.

The Hurricanes do not have the luxury of a running back with the accomplishments that Verdell has had in his first two seasons in college. Verdell has rushed for 2,238 yards, 18 touchdowns and caught 41 passes for another 440 yards and two TDs as a freshman and sophomore. Cam Harris will get his chance to be Miami’s lead RB.

Many Miami fans have clamored for Cristobal to return home and coach the Hurricanes. Cristobal is not likely going anywhere. With the success Cristobal has had quickly at Oregon, Nike founder and huge Ducks benefactor Phil Knight will make sure he is in Eugene for as long as they are successful.

The job for Manny Diaz is to build on the 13th ranked 2020 recruiting class, continue to recruit well in the 2021 class which is currently ranked 11th and most importantly have a successful 2020 season. It is always tough to put a number on success but if Miami wins any less than eight games in 2020 the critics will be out in full force.

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Aside from a winning season, the Hurricanes need new offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee and QB D’Eriq King to deliver on the promise of the improved offense in 2020. If the offense does not drastically improve in 2020, Miami could be headed towards another mediocre season and Diaz’s job would be in jeopardy.