ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit was talking about his love of Eugene while his seven-year-old son Chase sat on a staircase behind his father munching a Voodoo donut, covered head-to-toe in Oregon gear.
“My kids now are Oregon fanatics — you know they love Ohio State first but their team that they adopted is Oregon,” Herbstreit said. “I’ve never brought my kids to any of these shows but I brought my seven-year-old because he loves the Ducks. The first thing he had to do was go out and get gear so he’s head to toe in Oregon attire.”
When asked about who his kids’ favorite player is, Herbstreit said he wasn’t sure but said, “Right now he has a Marcus Mariota [jersey] on but De’Anthony Thomas saw him and said, ‘Where’s your number six?’ So I’m sure we’ll have a number six before we head back to Knoxville.”
Apart from the the love that Herbstreit’s kids have for the green and yellow, Herbstreit himself admitted to having a special fondness for the city of Eugene and the Oregon faithful.
“I love this weather and I love the passion that the fans have for their team. The show starts at 6 a.m. local so hopefully people will be out there ready to go,” Herbstreit said. “I like the outdoors so I like to go for a run along that (Willamette) river. I love college football and the fact that these fans are so passionate about their team, I can relate to that. I love this team and I love their program.”
ESPN analyst Tom Rinaldi echoed what Herbstreit had to say about Eugene. After living in Portland he understands the uniqueness Eugene has to offer.
“Honestly I think if you were to take an unofficial poll in there (with the rest of analysts) Eugene would be in the top three, if not maybe the top pick for a lot of guys. We love coming to Eugene, honestly that’s not a homer answer,” Rinaldi said. “We’ve never seen that vibe where you come on in the darkness, sometimes we dealt with the mist and the fog, obviously the roar of the (motorcycle) chopper and the Duck coming in on that — all of those things built a very different vibe. It’s a great and unique place to bring the show but it just has a tremendous energy — a different vibe than any other place we go to.”
While Herbstreit and Rinaldi gladly admit the fondness they share for Eugene and the Ducks, they aren’t too familiar with the culinary side the city has to offer.
“I don’t know the name of any place that I ever go, everything is kind of a blur but they bring in great food,” Herbstreit said. “There’s a little house that we go to (right next to campus), I forget the name of it, but we got there. My buddy found a great breakfast place that’s organic with eggs and pancakes and stuff like that.”