Midway through the first half of the Oregon Ducks’ dominant 42-6 win over the Colorado Buffaloes, the ABC broadcast teased “unprecedented access” from Dan Lanning and his team that was given to their cameras before airing part of the pregame speech that Oregon’s coach delivered before kickoff.
It’s a video that you’ve likely seen by now unless you are completely tuned out of the sports media news cycle.
“They’re fighting for clicks, we’re fighting for wins,” Lanning said to his players. “There’s a difference. This game isn’t going to be played in Hollywood, it’s going to be played on the grass.”
When the speech was originally aired, social media went crazy for it, admiring the passion that Lanning showed while firing his team up for a marquee matchup.
Unsurprisingly, though, the narrative has shifted over the last couple of days, and Lanning found himself as the center of many sports talk show debates on Monday because of his remarks. Some — including Fox Sports’ Skip Bayless on his show Undisputed — labeled Lanning as a bully, saying that he was filled with “venomous vengeance” when targeting Colorado coach Deion Sanders in his speech.
On Monday night, Lanning was able to speak to media members and address the backlash that has come from his comments. Here is what he had to say:
“I’ve watched him (Bayless) enough to know how often he gets it wrong. Ultimately, here’s what I say we’re playing to win the game and you saw a 15-second clip, from a window view outside the house, and what happens in the locker room,” Lanning said. “I know our locker room. I’m in the house 100 percent of the time. I know how our players felt going into that game. I know what it takes to motivate our players. That’s my job to motivate our players. He has a job, I have a job to, to get out there and perform on the field. But inside that house, they felt a certain way. They felt a certain way about a group stomping on the ‘O’, they felt a certain way about guys talking to him in the pregame. I’m proud of those guys, because what they decided to do is talk with their pads. They didn’t want to do anything extra afterward. They wanted to talk with their pads. and they did that on Saturday.”
Anyone who knows Lanning can feel certain that he did not make the comments with any hate towards Coach Prime.
“I’m also grateful and can clearly acknowledge that the attention that we got this Saturday, in large part was to Deion and what he’s doing to college football, and if anybody can’t see what he’s done for college football and how he’s bringing excitement to college football, you’re crazy,” Lanning said. “I said that last week as well. He’s done a lot for the game. He’s building something over there. I think that’s really really clear. There’s no secret there. But it wouldn’t matter if I was playing my 10-year-old son on the other sideline, I’m going to do everything I can to win. If I’m playing Bill Belichick I’m gonna do everything I can to win. Did I go for it on fourth down? Yeah, I have every game this year. I’ve gone for it nine times. Did I go for a two-point conversion? Yeah, I’ve done it three out of four games this year. And if we play again tomorrow, I’m gonna do the same thing. I’m gonna do everything I can to win a game and everything I can to motivate my team. So you know that to me is classless what he’s (Bayless) saying there but I’m not really worried about it.”
Obviously, the pregame speech worked to perfection. Oregon went on to dominate the game in every facet, and now they head into Week 5 with a 4-0 record ranked as one of the best teams in the nation.