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Is Chip Taking Kindness Too Far?

Is Chip Taking Kindness Too Far?

Joel Gunderson
Reported by Joel Gunderson on October 22, 2012
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| 58 Comments

 

Say what you want about Chip Kelly, but in his 3+ years at Oregon, one common theme has emerged: His teams – after finding themselves up by 30, 40, even 50 points in two quarters – have played conservative second halfs more often than not.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s time for that to stop.

On Thursday night, as Oregon was busy scoring 43 points in 18 minutes at Arizona State, one thing became clear: Oregon could have scored as many points as they wanted. However, after amassing over 300 yards rushing in the first quarter and a half, Chip went soft, taking the ball – and decision making – out of Marcus Mariota’s hands.

Oregon, behind a defense that is stifling opponents, was never in danger of being challenged…but they wasted an opportunity to change the landscape of the BCS computers.

Last night, when the latest rankings were released, the Ducks had again slipped, this time being passed by Kansas State, fresh off a whipping of West Virginia. Oregon, as dominant as they were on the field against the Sun Devils, ended up looking average on the scoreboard, where it really counts. A 43-21 victory may have been great 10 years ago, when Oregon was playing for 8 or 9 wins.

For the modern day Ducks, however, it’s national championship or bust. The only way to get there is to show no mercy.

Chip needs to wake up and realize that this is big boy football. Being sportsmanlike is all fine and dandy when you’re in high school, but the stakes are much higher. Kansas State will not let off the gas, that much is sure. If the Ducks – free falling in the BCS – want a crack at the title, they need to follow suit.

Oregon’s schedule is about to turn, with three top-20 opponents left in the schedule. The opportunity for statements will be right in front of them.

Assuming Chip plays his cards right, the Ducks can be right back where they belong: Number two, with a shot at Alabama.

USC will be a challenge, and Oregon State is always scrappy, but this Oregon team is too good not to play for it all. Going undefeated, mind you, is nothing to sneeze at, and never a guarantee. It’s only happened one time in school history, and it created the most magical three months any of us have ever seen.

If Oregon is able pull it off again, it would be beyond a shame if they were not allowed to show the country how good they really are.

Kelly, for all of his humorous anecdotes, said something after Thursday that was worrisome. While meant as humor, it came off as a sign that he doesn’t see the big picture.

“We’ve got to do a better job being up 43-7.”

Yes, they do. As in, turn that 43-7 lead into 64-7. They can do it, and they can do it faster than any team in the country. Don’t fool yourself; putting up 64 at ASU looks a lot more impressive to writers and polls than 43 does.

If Oregon loses a game and doesn’t make it to Miami, home of this years title game, then it simply wasn’t meant to be. Perhaps it meant they were too young and made mistakes.

Maybe they got snipped by an opponent on a bad day. If they finish 11-1 and miss out, Duck fans are prepared to live with that, because no team should ever complain about getting to 11 wins.

On the other hand, to go 12-0 and miss out because they let off the gas? I can’t imagine anything more painful than that.

 

About Author
Joel Gunderson

Joel GundersonJoel Gunderson grew up in a small town, where the only thing he did for fun was worship the Oregon Ducks. He later moved to Eugene, where he studied journalism at the U of O. After working in radio, he married the woman of his dreams and settled down. Joel now spends his days studying Journalism and the fine world of grammar, all the while worshiping the ground that Charles "Chip" Kelly walks on! Follow him on twitter @gundy85View all posts by Joel Gunderson →


 

 

This article is published and edited by:

Editor

FishDuck Staff

Editor In Chief

Dano Dunn

Dano Dunn

 

  • Chile Duck

    Margin of victory is excluded from computer rankings used by the BCS formula so running up the score would not make a difference. The Ducks have already convinced the human voters and are ahead of UF and KS in those polls. SOS is killing the Ducks. Let’s just hope the Ducks keep winning and USC can beat Notre Dame.

    • Mike In PDX

      This^. 43-7 is just as good as 64-7. Makes no difference. The last half was all about avoiding injuries and holding our cards with the playbook.

  • GEAUXDUX

    Disagree. The reason Oregon “fell” (we only trail by .0175 to K State so the margin is almost zero) was because the Wildcats have a much stronger strength of schedule than we do at this point of the season. They have road wins in Norman and Morgantown—both signature wins. Oregon has no signature wins but It’s about to change. Scoring 70 points against outmatched opponents and risking injury to starters is the wrong thing to do. And it’s the wrong message to send to players, fans, and other teams. All we need to do is take care of business, and to do it our way. Let Bill Snyder and Urban Meyer grind opponents into the ground with meaningless touchdowns. I like Chip exactly the way he is.

    • hokieduck

      Exactly, plus by playing 3d and 4th strings meaningful minutes against meaningful opponents those guys get ready to reload the first and second strings next year when guys graduate. Also, recruits get to see that anyone suiting up in green and yellow and black and grey see substantial playing time.

      Ego is all that would be burnished by pounding teams. You can bet that other coaches take note and appreciate the way that Chip is driving his Maserati.

  • Duck1958

    Exactly, margin of victory is not a factor in computer rankings. The ducks problem is SOS, so this whole blog is pointless. As was pointed out by Ted Miller, ND has to go into Oklahoma next week, for the ducks it’s a win win. If Oklahoma loses K St.’s SOS goes down, ND loses it’s one less undefeated. Ducks just need to take care of business and let things shake out.

  • Rich

    Title of article needs spell check. Coach is classy. I do not want the ducks running up the score. There is too much football and strength of schedule ahead to be talking about running up through score. Rep’s for 2nd 3rd string is more important and another reason my the Ducks are so deep.

  • Duck lover

    This has got to be the least informed article I have ever read. Boo.

  • DDubbs76

    This notion that we’re losing out on the National Championship because of those decisions is short-sighted and riddled with errors. We’re not losing out, because the last half of our schedule is where our strength comes in, and the polls will reflect that if we continue to take care of business. If Mariota or Kenjon or DAT, or any number of players suffered a significant injury when we’re playing our starters in the 2nd half, up by 40, then the author would cry foul for that. It’s a lose-lose, and Chip’s doing the respectful, and smart thing. Since our guys have received many breathers this year, they will be much more fresh when faced with those challenging games.

  • Joel Gunderson

    This was not meant to bring strength of schedule in…I understand that SOS will help play out in the end, obviously. And I’m not even saying to leave the starters in until the end. What bothers me more is that the backups are running a dummy offense, and that’s what could hurt us. I want Bennett to throw the ball 15 times, because if he’s forced into action, he needs REAL game reps. The defense was even trimmed down Thursday, and although they only gave up one more score, I want every rep to be played like it’s a tight game…no matter who is in the game. Do that, and we can’t be accused of rubbing things in, and the score still looks good on paper for when the east coast media checks it to make their polls. Because make no mistake…most people who make up the polls DO NOT watch us for more than a quarter or two.

    • hokieduck

      Do you really believe that “throwing the ball 15 times” will not be perceived as running up the score or “rubbing things in?”

      Both Helfrich and Aliotti acknoledge that they are frustrated with the way the Ducks 3d and 4thers are finishing games. They are getting vid to coach these guys. Bennett is getting snaps with the big boys already. He needs to make those count when they count.

  • Joel Gunderson

    This was not meant to bring strength of schedule article…I understand that SOS will help play out in the end, obviously. And I’m not even saying to leave the starters in until the end. What bothers me more is that the backups are running a dummy offense, and that’s what could hurt us. I want Bennett to throw the ball 15 times, because if he’s forced into action, he needs REAL game reps. The defense was even trimmed down Thursday, and although they only gave up one more score, I want every rep to be played like it’s a tight game…no matter who is in the game. Do that, and we can’t be accused of rubbing things in, and the score still looks good on paper for when the east coast media checks it to make their polls. Because make no mistake…most people who make up the polls DO NOT watch us for more than a quarter or two.

  • http://www.facebook.com/TheBruceleeroy Jason Curtis

    A lot of people getting on Joel here. SOS will work itself out. Florida and Bama will work themselves out. We are still #2 in the human polls but we did slide there as well. I would not be surprised to fall a spot or 2 this week, we have Colorado. If FL, KSU and ND win big enough or even just win they may hop over us. Note – they are all playing top 15 teams this week. Colin Klein threw the TD to go up 52-7 with 2:25 left in the 3rd.

    Running up the score is airing it out late in the 4th. I think we could have put another TD on the board in the 2nd and let Bennett have the full O in the 3rd without being jerks about it. While those “style points” don’t matter in the BCS our stock is sliding in the human polls.

    Our lead over Florida in the human polls was cut in 1/2 last week. Our lead over KSU went from 140 votes/points to 90. If we lose a spot in the human polls we’ll all be pulling for losses from ND and KSU.

  • JDWebfoot

    This article is garbage. This isn’t EA sports NCAA football on your playstation and margin of victory has no bearing on the BCS. And what about the teams that don’t play backups at all unless forced (I.e. most teams)? Bennett doesn’t need to “throw 15 times per game”, especially when UO is up by 40.

    I completely disagree with the notion that the win on Thursday “might have been good enough 10 years ago.”

    If this is how you feel, jump off the Oregon bandwagon. We don’t need fans like you.

  • hokieduck

    Exactly *how* would a thrashing of ASU by the score 119-0 have changed the BCS ranking at all? This kind of article I would expect from the likes of Bleacher Report, not Fishduck. The AP and Coaches polls have the Ducks at #2. They will *not* get in front of reigning National Champion Alabama by killing their opponents any more thoroughly than they are already killing their opponents.

    In fact, the Ducks may be victims of their own success since their thorough thrashing of three ranked opponents sent all three of those opponents right out of the rankings (and present rank is what goes into SOS not rank at time of play).

    I hate to hammer on an amateur article, however, good grammar, Joel, just lacking in insight.

    • fishduck

      Hokie…I understand you disagree, (which is fine) but to lump us in with B-R is a little harsh. We do not write two vapid paragraphs with pretty pictures; we do the opposite. We want to inform and entertain in some articles, but we also want us and the readers to think, to ponder like this article. It IS a good thing to ask out loud.

      Even if we are wrong in the eyes of most…I want us to keep asking the interesting questions. Some articles, like the Justin Wilcox article had the majority in agreement and it was an interesting question to ponder out loud.

      I think Joel’s contention that allowing the 2nd-3rd-4th teamers to run the offense is a valid one. Just one play-action pass once in awhile can make a first down and prevent the other team from scoring a junk TD at the end.

      You have to admit…our second halves of games have not been very entertaining!

      • Chris

        If this article were arguing that letting the backups run a less vanilla offense would benefit the team by improving the play and readiness levels of the 2nd and 3rd strings (in addition to making the 2nd halves more exciting), then probably nobody would object, and we could ponder out loud whether preventing other teams from seeing more of our full offense is less important than developing the backups (or what the best way to develop the backups is, etc.). But as it is written, this article doesn’t really make that case — it makes a specious one trying to correlate our BCS position and our margin of victory, and it really is a factually unfounded opinion that doesn’t stand up to any scrutiny. Hence the overwhelmingly critical commentary. By the way, genuine criticism goes hand-in-hand with respect: it is thanks to the inordinately high level of quality that fishduck.com typically produces (and which most of us are very thankful for) that articles like this take folks aback.

        • fishduck

          That is correct–it is a piece that is factually unfounded as an OPINION piece. It is interesting how many people have grumbled about our winning margin, yet the only ones that post disagree. You will note the other article today had tons of information relating the past to the present in forming that thesis. We don’t want to do the same thing in every article.

          Thanks for the response.

      • hokieduck

        Chris hits the nail on the head, fishduck. First, the point of the piece itself was to postulate that our second half shutdowns were hurting our BCS ranking. That Chip’s decisions to not annihilate opponents “wasted an opportunity to change the landscape of the BCS computers.” And to that, I (and seemingly most commenters) simply disagree. Second, I used the reference to B-R precisely as Chris notes because I hold your website in high esteem. It does not mean that you hit the ball out of the park with every article. I may have harshed on Joel a bit with the snarky grammar comment, but that was a poke meant in fun aimed at his bio.

        I don’t know if it serves you or us or anyone very much good for you to come on the site and answer each and every criticism even in the gentle tone you have done. Journalists and budding journalists must learn to have a tough hide given how … passionate… we fans can be.

        I think this article simply missed the boat. Take it as a compliment that you have gained a pretty great following by a bunch of fairly well informed not just fair weather fans.

        Cheers. Go Ducks. WTD.

        • hokieduck

          And btw, that is hokieDUCK. Emphasis on the Duck. :)

          • fishduck

            Actually hokieDUCK…you make an excellent tangential point; the expectations are higher over here. I’m proud of that, but it IS a double-edged sword as sometimes we just want to issue an opinion without a ton of facts and see what others think.

            Reading through the comments I am struck at the superb writing and the type of vocabulary you don’t see too many other places. A class bunch even when we disagree.

            I will admit that you and others have me rethinking how we present Op-Ed pieces and I’m grateful to all of you for the feedback.

            It also makes me think twice about an OP-ED piece I was going to do for Thursday….that might have pitchforks and torches outside my door.

            It’s all fun and I thank you and everyone. What a year we are having!

          • hokieduck

            Op-ed away, fishduck. Simply indicate it is an opinion piece upfront and go for it. Then stand back and watch the fur fly.

            GDWTD.

          • Brandon

            Editors (at least good ones) have an obligation to ensure that their publication’s Op-Eds maintains factual integrity, fishduck. Opinionators are entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts. Editors who fail in this regard are just as guilty of spreading misinformation as their writers are. It is OBVIOUS that Joel thought that running up the score would change the BCS computer ranking and that running up the score to alter the BCS computer calculations was the central tenet of Joel’s article. By allowing this article to be published, you either demonstrated your own ignorance with regard to the BCS ranking methodology, or you were throwing Joel under the bus and to the wolves. My guess is that it was the former. Sadly your (and Joel’s), lame attempts to act like this is an article about allowing the backups to run the real offense or about altering the human polls instead of just admitting that both of you misunderstood the BCS ranking methodology come very close to showing a lack of integrity. Admittedly, the question of integrity was already on my mind following Joel’s apparent recommendation that our program leave sportsmanlike conduct to high schoolers and “show no mercy.”

            College Football is about more than just winning and entertainment. It is also about values like integrity, honor, accountability, and hard work. It seeks (or at least should seek) to instill these values into our young athletes while shaping them into exemplary citizens. It is something I’m sure Chip Kelly promises to the parents of our young recruits, and it is something that I believe our fans expect from our team. Let’s not lose sight of that in the heat of battle.

            And despite the criticisms, I haven’t forgetten what an awesome job FishDuck has generally been doing on a day to day basis and why I love this site.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=529015140 Don Gilman

    Really? You don’t think Chip realizes this is ‘big boy football’?

  • Duxinarow

    Even though point margin doesn’t matter in the BCS computers, it is a factor in the human poles and that has been reflected in our slight downward slide in those polls resulting in a drop behind KSU when all are combined.

    • hokieduck

      Our SOS is what has given KSU the (momentary) lead. All the Ducks have to do is win. They are in total control of their destiny. After next Saturday’s game, the computers will love the rest of our schedule and we will shoot up. In the event the computers might like an unbeaten (probable) KSU or an unbeaten (improbable) ND more than the Ducks after conference play, both those teams sit home while the Ducks play a great team in the Conference Championship. That will tip anything left in our direction. I don’t think it will take that, but it is the ace in the hole.

      The most important game on the schedule is Colorado. Go Ducks. WTD.

  • kait

    Letting off the gas in blowouts is the smarter move in the long run. Remember when we left LMJ in the Cal game late into the third quarter and he hurt his elbow? Letting 2nd and 3rd stringers is important. Give starters less opportunities to get injured and get that game experience for those deeper on the depth chart. As others have mentioned. M.o.V. is NOT part of the computer rankings, and all of the humans already have us at 2.

  • fishduck

    I don’t think people should dog-pile on Joel when it is simply his opinion, and one that I and many others share. We have the voters NOW for the polls, but perception is everything. They see us drop and begin to wonder if we ARE a #2 team, and if we lose that toe-hold….we have more problems than the computers.

    Agree or disagree–it is an interesting question to ponder!

    • http://twitter.com/morganducks Paul Morgan

      The problem is in the first paragraph, when the author intimates that running up the score will somehow improve our BCS ranking. It won’t. Pure and simple. False premise = derision.

  • Sheyn

    Margin of victory doesnt matter, but MM, KB, DAT, or any other starter getting lost to injury because we wanted to run it up would matter.

    plus if i was a defensive player and the team was running it up, you hit that much harder. you can not win but you can make a difference by knocking Ducks the F#$% out.

    Keep our team healthy when the game is not in doubt.

    horrible write. plus even if we win out and k state does our remaining body of work is better than theirs and our season as a whole will be better in the end. Voters all know we sit our starters down at halftime. that is why we are a solid second in the polls.

  • Portland Chuck

    Fishduck – your commentaries and videos have been consistently excellent – except for this one. The computers do not account for scores. That is a fact. For further confirmation, look at where Notre is ranked by the computers. It MIGHT be a factor with Harris and Coaches poll voters, but probably won’t if Oregon wins the remaining games on its schedule. Those polls still have Oregon ranked #2. Consider also, that if K-State is still making noise and winning games by the end, the fact that they dodged a game with Oregon this year can be remembered by the pollsters (if not the computers).

    Lastly, and most importantly, what if Marcus Mariota had been tackled hard and suffered a season ending knee injury in the 2nd half last weekend? Would we still be national title contenders? How confident do you feel with Bryan Bennett at the helm right now, judging from his recent performances?

    In sum, In Chip We Trust.

    • fishduck

      We should have done a better job explaining that we did not want to see the starters playing, but allowing the subs to use the playbook beyond plunges between the tackles. You can score points with these 2nd and 3rd teamers…but they have to be allowed to.

      I maintain that IF our perception is dropping and voters decide that we are NOT the #2 team…the computers will not overcome that. Winning 63-21 is better than 43-21 for the voters, and we will need them to stay with us until the SOS with the computers catch up. Scoring 20 more points could have been done by Bryan Bennett with the usual play-book. He did it last year against ASU!

      We at FishDuck.com will not be right every time–noone is, but we want to ask the questions and discuss it. Thanks for your response.

  • Phil Kulak

    Chip could have put 100 on every opponent and it would just make us look like classless jerks without doing _anything_ to our BCS ranking. The computers don’t take that into account and all the human voters already have us at 2! In fact, if I was a human voter and some team was running up the score every game, I’d leave them out of my rankings. This is why Chip is the coach, not you.

  • Reg

    you’re an idiot. There’s no reason to risk injury and wear to these guys. Let them rest and get through the season undefeated.

    • joel gunderson

      Thanks for the sentiment. Not one time did I say “keep the starters in”. Our backups and third stringers can score, we just don’t run our offense while their in there. That’s all I’m saying.

      • Sorry Joel, No

        They’re in there.**

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.lyon.5661 Dan Lyon

    I happened upon a sight over the weekend where a person had used the Jenkins coefficient to determine which teams were running up the score. I couldn’t find the sight today, but as I remember.
    Teams running up the score; Kansas State, Texas A&M, Arizona, LSU, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
    Teams not running up the score; Oregon, Alabama, Mississippi State, Arizona State, Houston.

  • Sorry Joel, No

    1. “The only way to get there is to show no mercy.”
    wrong, staying healthy in order to win all our games is
    2. “but they wasted an opportunity to change the landscape of the BCS computers.”
    margin of victory is not a factor, SOS is
    3. “The opportunity for statements will be right in front of them.”
    Hence why we sit guys out, save their bodies and the playbook so we have more tricks up our sleeve when those opportunities are presented
    4. “putting up 64 at ASU looks a lot more impressive to writers and polls than 43 does.”
    writers and polls have us #2…. computers which factor in SOS are why we are #4. irrelevant.

    Sorry Joel, people are just calling it how they see it and fine to have an opinion, but it’s pretty obvious you don’t know what you’re talking about with those quotes.

  • uoinmexico

    Could not agree with you more. We all know the BCS has eliminated margin of victory, so there is nothing UO can do about that or their weak SOS. Why then do teams like USC, KSU, and FLA that have stronger SOS keep the starters in and run up the scores? They want to eliminate ANY doubt on the East Coast that they are dominate, even against teams such as Colo. UO needs to win by bigger margins, period. Why save the starters for the big game if you don’t even get to the big game? Your blog is no more pointless than the posts it generates.

  • uoinmexico

    So all of you who disagree with Joel must also view the 2010 and 2011 seasons as ones where Chip made continually bad decisions by keeping Thomas and James in games that were already over. Just one example, the 2010 USC game.

  • uoinmexico

    So all of you who disagree with Joel must also view the 2010 and 2011
    seasons as ones where Chip made continually bad decisions by keeping
    Thomas and James in games that were already over. Just one example, the
    2010 USC game.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1349807211 Chris Andres

    You know I agree with some of what was said in this article and I also disagree with some of what was in this article. It bother me though that Duck fans would attack other Duck fans over it.

    You’d think The Ducks were on their way to a 3 – 9 season.

    True the 2nd half play has nothing to do with our BSC rank.
    True our SOS has everything to do with our BCS rank.
    True our 2nd half of games has been a disappointment to say the least.

    But as was stated above we have USC, Stanford, & OSU to focus on. We need to stay focused and stay together on this or what is the point of being fans.

  • uoinmexico

    So all of you who disagree with Joel must also view the 2010 and 2011
    seasons as ones where Chip made continually bad decisions by keeping
    Thomas and James in games that were already over. Just one example, the
    2010 USC game.

  • j10eff

    Chip needs to have USC and OREGON STATE win out…they will be fine when they drop 50 on USC….K-State looks to be the real threat…..Notre Dame will be out of the mix after this weekend…if Notre Dame beats Oklahoma than you better just pack your bags to the rose bowl because Notre Dame is going to Miami

  • Brandon

    “No mercy” … “Chip needs to wake up” … “Big boy football” … “Being sportsmanlike is all fine and dandy when you’re in high school.” Sorry Joel, but aside from the aforementioned criticisms, you also come across as a prick and a douche. God-forbid that you have children and teach them these misguided values.

    • Joel Gunderson

      Well my wife is seven months pregnant. So I find your comment to be INCREDIBLY disrespectful. This is football, not life-and-death. You’re entitled to your opinion, I’m entitled to mine. If you don’t agree with me, that’s fine. Don’t bring my family into it. Be a bigger person than that.

      • Brandon

        If you gave a rats rear about respect, you wouldn’t be telling Chip Kelly to “wake up” and recognize that this is “big boy football.” But since you appear to have interpreted my comments in the least plausible manner … that I was somehow wishing that you be unable to bring children into this world and father them, please allow me to rephrase … God forbid that you teach ANY child values like showing “no mercy” in sports and leaving sportsmanlike conduct to high-schoolers. I really hope that you’re better than that and just got caught up in the moment. Going all Cobra Kai isn’t the answer.

  • gcat10

    Your reaction is mirrored by majority of Oregon’s fanbase. Misinformed. Along with Missouri, Oregon might have the most ignorant/delusional fans in college football.

  • Duck in Dothan, AL

    Joel, I enjoy reading your articles!

  • hokieduck

    Joel. Not to beat a dead horse, but now that we are being decimated with injuries (especially on D), aren’t you glad that these 3d and 4th stringers got meaningful minutes during the first half of the season?

  • su67

    Fear the Tree.

  • su67

    You must fear the tree.