As the Ducks came back out to start the second half last week against Cal, there were considerably fewer fans in the seats than when the game began. It was the first game of the school year, and the student section was nearly empty. There were noticeable pockets of vacant seats visible on the TV broadcast.
Which brings me to my point.
We know the Ducks will lose a considerable number of players to the NFL draft after the season. Blowout games, then, allow the next wave of Duck starters to begin their tailoring for next year’s jobs — so – you may be missing the birth of a new Duck star if you attend the games and leave early.
Freshmen such as offensive tackle Cameron Hunt, running back Thomas Tyner and Tyrell Robinson, are getting a heavy dose of college action early, and it will contribute to their fast-tracking into veteran leadership by the end of the season. Other intriguing players such as safety Reggie Daniels, quarterbacks Jeff Lockie and Jake Rodrigues and receiver Chance Allen, are giving fans a look at what the future of Oregon football holds.
Of equal benefit, should any starters for the Ducks get hurt and miss a considerable length of time, there will be seasoned athletes ready to step in and play without any drop in expectations.
Oregon lost safety Avery Patterson last year to a leg injury and tight end Pharoah Brown missed the first three games of this season to a leg injury, as well, so expectations of every starter playing all season are lofty, at best.
It may not be pretty, and it may get frustrating watching the 3rd-teams guys run the IZR play after play and going for minimal gains, but it makes the team better now and for the future.