A Tale of Two Halves

At Autzen Stadium the Oregon Ducks meet the UCLA Brunis in Pac-12 Football.

Craig Strobeck

To channel Charles Dickens: it was the best of Ducks, it was the worst of Ducks.  But . . . in reverse order.

FS Avery Patterson turned the game around with this INT. He also made multiple open field tackles which highlighted this underrated defense.

Craig Strobeck

FS Avery Patterson turned the game around with this INT. He also made multiple open field tackles, which highlighted this underrated defense.

Saturday’s game against UCLA felt like two separate games, with the first half being as mistake-prone as any of the previous games.  Oregon’s first drive produced a fumble by Keanon Lowe and was recovered at the Duck’s 38-yard line, which set up UCLA with a great opportunity for an easy TD.

Later in the 2nd quarter, Maldonado missed a makeable field goal, and had a punt blocked, which UCLA soon converted into a touchdown.  It seemed the only things to go well were the fake punt creating a 66-yard gain by Rodney Hardrick, and the 40-yard touchdown run by Byron Marshall.

The second half was a different story, thanks in large part to the play calling.  A major concern about this team before the season was how Mark Helfrich would handle being the coach of a team that considers a 10-2 season a failure.

The coaching staff responded in the second half by making excellent adjustments and avoided the play-calling “writer’s block.”  The short passes by Marcus Mariota resulted in not having a single incomplete pass in the second half.  That set up the inside zone read, especially with Thomas Tyner who was able to keep his momentum forward more easily than on the outside zone read.  This resulted in plays that were consistently positive, as Tyner mowed over defenders who were fatigued from chasing around Byron Marshall.  Of course, under Defensive Coordinator Nick “The Mastermind” Aliotti, the defense asserted itself in the second half and simply shut the door on the UCLA offense.  UCLA gained fewer than 100 yards of total offense, and no points, in the second half.

So far the coaching staff has made one thing clear: No Chip Kelly, no problem.

HC Mark Helfrich and the rest of the coaching staff made all the necessary changes in the second half. Chip Kelly may have gotten too much credit when he was coaching here because the team hasn't skipped a beat without him.

Kevin Cline

HC Mark Helfrich and the rest of the coaching staff made all the necessary changes in the second half. Chip Kelly may have gotten too much credit when he was coaching here, because the team hasn’t skipped a beat without him.

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Max Blumenthal

Max Blumenthal

Max is a sophomore at the University of Oregon. He did his best Chip Kelly impersonation moving to Oregon from southern New Hampshire back in 2008. As a Portland area resident, he discovered UO through his older sister who studied there. He is also a member of the Bowerman's Pack which promotes Oregon's track and field team and even collaborates with Nike on grassroots running events. However, his true passion is Ducks' football. If you ever want to meet him in person, come to a blow-out game at Autzen Stadium and wander over to the student section. He will be the last one there after everyone else has left early.

  • BrandonG

    This was a good article right up until the last sentence where you said “Chip Kelly may have gotten too much credit when he was coaching here … ” This is as blasphemous as it is ludicrous. It is no coincidence that the worst year of offensive production under Chip Kelly exceeded EVERY year but one of Oregon’s offensive production prior to Chip Kelly running the offense, and that for 4 of 6 seasons, the offensive production from Oregon with Kelly in charge completely ECLIPSES anything Oregon did prior. Helfrich is standing on the shoulders of a Giant and don’t you forget it.

    • Richard Biggs

      Max is just saying that the caliber of play calling has not gone down since Chip left, and he is right — it hasn’t. Not to disparage Chip at all.
      as I think everyone of sound mind agrees he is(was) one of the best college coaches of all time.