Meet Will Stein, the new architect for Oregon football’s offense

Eugene Register-Guard
New Oregon offensive coordinator Will Stein took the field for his first week of fall camp with the Ducks and says he’s already clicking with quarterback Bo Nix after just the second day.
“We share a lot of commonalities in terms of our personalities,” Stein said. “Our intensity and attention to detail, we both played quarterback … I’ll try to do everything I can to keep developing that relationship.”
It starts there for the new architect of Oregon's offense and his coaching staff, who've relied on Nix to not just lead, but to go back and forth on schematics throughout the summer.
New Oregon offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Will Stein, center, leads a drill on the first practice of spring for Oregon football as the Ducks prepare for the 2023 season.
Stein said he and Nix talk every day, and though they do exchange a couple words on their personal lives, they spend a lot of time discussing schemes and film.
Stein joined the program in December and said he spent his first few months familiarizing himself with the now fifth-year signal caller and the rest of his players.
“It’s a collaborative effort,” head coach Dan Lanning said. “He’s done a phenomenal job of gelling (our staff) together. Will brings in a lot of great ideas. He’s been a part of a variety of systems that I want to see us be able to institute within the framework of what we already do. That’s already happening.”
Stein a former quarterback at Louisville
Stein began his coaching career after graduating from Louisville as a former quarterback in 2011. He received his master's from Louisville in 2014 while working as a graduate assistant before eventually coaching at Texas and Lake Travis High School.
Stein’s most recent stop was at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where he served as the pass game coordinator and wide receivers coach in 2020-21, and last year served as the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Under Stein’s leadership, San Antonio enjoyed record-breaking success, with quarterback Frank Harris finishing second in the nation in total yards with 4,453, and sixth in the country in touchdowns with 40.
Oregon offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Will Stein, right, participates in a drill with defensive back Steve Stephens IV and quarterback Ty Thompson on the first practice of spring for Oregon football as they prepare for the 2023 season.
'Adding his flavor to it'
Stein is now putting those experiences into play with the Ducks, who already have an idea of what they’re good at but are excited for what he will bring as the play caller.
“It’s pretty similar,” offensive lineman Marcus Harper said. “In terms of schematics it's similar… but he’s adding his flavor to it.”
With Oregon’s season opener against Portland State just under a month away, Stein is focused on the little things.
“Are we finishing?” Stein said. “That was the major emphasis today and that gets back into getting in shape. Are the lineman chasing the ball on the field, are the quarterbacks pushing it, are the receivers fighting their butt off to get back and get set. Then we ultimately need to eliminate mental mistakes. Those are the little things that turn into big things.”
New Oregon offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Will Stein, center, works with quarterbacks Marcus Sanders, left, and Austin Novosad at the first practice of spring for Oregon football as they prepare for the 2023 season on Thursday March 16, 2023.
Boasting a talented tailback room loaded with experience, the Ducks haven’t quite settled on how many running backs they plan to use throughout the season.
“Every great team I’ve been on has used multiple backs,” Stein said. “If we can play three or four a game, that’ll be good … we like to keep those guys healthy, it’s a violent position, but each has their own strengths.”
Leading rusher Bucky Irving is back, with preseason all-conference honors, after toting the rock for 1,058 yards in his first season at Oregon. Noah Whittington was Irving’s main complement in 2022, with just 17 less carries and 779 rushing yards, and Jordan James also rotated in and rushed for five touchdowns and nearly 200 yards.
All three of those backs return, and the Ducks’ coaching staff likes their young depth with Dante Dowdell and Jayden Limar joining the team after standout prep careers.
Time will tell if either Limar or Dowdell can do enough during fall camp to earn some reps, but Stein certainly isn't complaining about the talent and depth featured at tailback this season.

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