Now that we are officially one game into the season, I can breathe a sigh of relief and satisfaction at finally having watched an Oregon Duck football game again. As expected, there were very few surprises about Saturday’s game. And, given the predicted outcome, here are five things that did not, in fact, surprise me:
Mark Helfrich kept it under wraps
Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said repeatedly that we would not see much difference between him and former coach Chip Kelly. That appeared to be true in more ways than one on Saturday. We can’t really take much away from a game against a team the caliber of Nicholls. Coach Helfrich did not seem to be quite as aggressive as Kelly in his 4th-down play calling.
Keeping the playbook under wraps is how Helfrich is most like Kelly. Not surprisingly, the play calling was fairly mundane for the duration of the game, with Oregon not needing to go big to beat the Colonels. So, we still have yet to see how Mark Helfrich will really coach a game of football. This Saturday should give us a better feel for that — this game is on the road, three time zones away, and will be played in a very different, game-changing climate.
Bralon Addison wants to win
Bralon Addison showed just how badly he wants it, Saturday. Addison caught two balls for 42 yards and a flashy touchdown. The touchdown wasn’t Addison’s best highlight, though. De’Anthony Thomas and Marcus Mariota both scored touchdowns that were sprung off blocks courtesy of Mr. Addison. Bralon was number one on my list of breakout players for the 2013 season, so I am not surprised at the heart he puts in to every down. With him and Huff, the sky really is the limit.
Still on the lookout for a Tyner sighting
Thomas Tyner has yet to make his much-anticipated debut for Oregon. I was absolutely not surprised that he did not participate in Saturday’s game. Oregon has way too many running backs on the roster to put Tyner at risk unnecessarily, given his ramping back up to speed from a minor lower leg injury. Word is that we will get to see a little of what Tyner has to offer this Saturday against Virginia. It obviously bodes well for Tyner — and the Ducks — if Oregon opts to not redshirt the freshman.
Backup QBs looked good
Jeff Lockie got it done with his feet, rushing for an eight-yard touchdown and throwing 1-3 for eight yards. Jeff Rodrigues got it done through the air and with his feet. Rodrigues went 2-2 for 30 yards, and ran for a touchdown, highlighting another 28 yards on the ground. Lockie entered the game as the second-string quarterback, but I suspect the competition is still far from over. I was very pleased to see both QBs play so well, even if it was against Nicholls.
DAT says “shut up”
DAT has something to say to the people who doubt that he is a true running back . . . “shut up!” Granted this wasn’t Stanford the Ducks were playing against, but Thomas looked every bit the go-to back. He took a lot of his snaps right back up the middle – opting to bang it, rather than trying to outrun pursuit to the corner. On one of the runs he actually carried would-be tacklers for a first down. I have long been under the impression that DAT is strong – and much more durable than critics give him credit for. I was not surprised to see him make that statement. If this trend continues, his stock in the 2014 NFL draft will continue to rise.I love watching every game Oregon plays, but I hope this Saturday will shed a little more light on what direction Mark Helfrich will take the team. I would love to hear your thoughts on anything I might have missed during Saturdays game. Any predictions for the Virginia game? Go Ducks!!