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Oregon coach Dan Lanning will remain with the Ducks after emerging as an early candidate to replace Nick Saban at Alabama. A reported top target for the job on Wednesday evening, Lanning was even the focal point of one Oregon news station's false report, stating the coach was in Tuscaloosa. In an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show, Lanning said his son told him about the report while the pair were watching a Jason Bourne movie at home. 

"It was distraction last (Wednesday) night," Lanning said. "My 13-year-old Caden, we just started watching a Jason Bourne movie. We were on Jason Bourne and my phone's blowing up and it's like, 'Dad, it says you're in Tuscaloosa right now.' It's like, we're watching Jason Bourne, focus on the movie. "

On Thursday, Lanning put all doubt to end with a social media announcement. 

"When I think of Oregon I think of innovation," Lanning told McAfee Thursday. "We all know that college football is changing like crazy right now and we're ahead of the curve. We've got a plan. We've got great support. If there's something I need, I can go ask for it. A lot of things that a lot of coaches are driven by, that's not really my motivation. It's one thing: can we win? Can we win at a high level? Can we compete for championships? That ability exists here. I think we have a program that could be the best in the nation as long as I keep this thing on track."

Lanning has quickly emerged as one of the top up-and-coming coaches in college football after leading Oregon to a 22-5 record in two seasons, including a victory in the Fiesta Bowl. He coordinated the 2021 national championship defense at Georgia and also served as a graduate assistant under Saban at Alabama in 2015. He took over for another Saban assistant, Mario Cristobal, at Oregon before the 2022 season. 

The two coaches who preceded Lanning -- Cristobal and Willie Taggart -- left for other jobs, but Lanning has remained committed to his contract, which of note includes a $20 million buyout to ensure that commitment. Still, the on-field results speak volumes. His 22-5 mark at Oregon comes with a 15-3 Pac-12 record. The Ducks' only losses in 2023 were to national runner-up Washington. They demolished most others opponents they faced, capping the season with a 45-6 win over Liberty in the Fiesta Bowl.

Lanning has built his reputation as a defensive coach but fielded elite offenses in his two seasons at Oregon. The Ducks ranked No. 2 nationally in total offense at 531.4 yards per game this season after ranking No. 6 in 2022. Oregon ranks No. 4 in the CBS Sports way-too-early top 25 after adding transfer quarterbacks Dillon Gabriel and Dante Moore over the offseason. 

"Competition is the secret and those are guys (Moore and Gabriel) that want to come compete, want to be the best version of themselves and they know that can come do it here," Lanning told McAfee Thursday. "They see what I see in this place. And we want to go get great players. And one thing we tell our players when they come, like the minute you get here we're going to go try to bring better and continue to bring better and that's how you get the best out of yourselves. We want competitors. Those guys are both great competitors, great quarterbacks and we're going to have a bunch of them on this team that can make us great."