Oregon football coach Dan Lanning says the 2024 squad is ‘hungry to be great’

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s only April, but there’s still a lot of hype around this Oregon football team for when they take the field for their first game on August 31.

But first, they take the field Saturday for their spring game.

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“I think we have a group that’s really talented. That’s hungry to be great,” said Lanning about what excites him the most about this squad. “We want our practices to look different than everybody else in the nation. I want you to be able to go to our practice, close your eyes, and hear our practice. I think that tells you we have a physicality at practice that I think is required in football to be successful. The toughest team is going to win. I think we have a group that really embraces that. They embrace hard work. That’s something that’s got to be a characteristic for us next season.”

Another characteristic this team must possess? Don’t buy into your own hype.

Lanning says he’s been around teams that overachieved and teams that underachieved.

So, the question begs, how does this team avoid being the latter?

“Being a team that’s accountable to each other. I think it starts with that,” said Lanning. “Being a team that’s about growth, and not ego. Being a team that’s proactive and not reactive. There’s a lot of characteristics that we look for, but our DNA traits have to show through. We have to be a connected team. We have to be a team that’s growth-oriented. How can we get better? We have to be a tough team. We have to be a team that’s willing to sacrifice. We have to do more than somebody else to get what we want to get.”

Fans get their first chance to see if those traits exist on Saturday.

“It’s easy for a fan to follow the ball and where the ball goes but pay attention to the line of scrimmage. See how the guys operate on the sideline. Look at the way they warm up,” said Lanning of what he wants fans to zero in on during the spring game. “The way you do anything is the way you do everything, so hopefully all the little details stick out for us.”

Speaking of details, in some places around the country, the spring game feels like a footnote. That’s not the case at Oregon.

“I think it’s something our fans have emphasized,” said Lanning when asked if making this game an event has been an emphasis of his. “They realize the impact this spring game creates for us in recruiting, for us in our players, trying to create that gameday environment. You watch a lot of spring games around the nation, and they don’t mean as much as they mean here in Oregon.”

And that means the world to Lanning.

“This place is special because of that fan support and how much they care,” said Lanning. “We really enjoy having them there in the stands and making part of this experience for them.”

Oregon’s spring game kicks off on Saturday at 1 p.m. Fans can attend the game for free but are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items. The game will also be broadcast on Pac-12 Network.

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