I hesitate to state that Oregon’s Alamo Bowl was tainted, but it had to generate the most ambivalence of any Duck football post-season game I’ve watched. I can’t decide if I’m excited or forlorn, which is a curious state in and of itself, for a fan as intense as I — and what you deserve. Tuesday morning is generally when my analysis of the week comes out, but I do not have the time for intensive film study, creating the diagrams and GIFs, along with writing the text in the time remaining on Monday evening after the game, for an analysis. Thus, I will simply offer some commentary and ask for your feedback, as well. In some respects, we need that before delving deeper.
It was surprising how many of the pre-game analysis comments by Coach Lee Staley proved to be prescient — and you can check them again here to see if there was ANYTHING that he shared that was overstated or inaccurate. His statements about the issues of Longhorn quarterbacking and the ability to come from behind were especially borne out as the game progressed. I was certainly thinking about his team’s weakness against running QBs in the first half; he mentioned some items that we did not see in the media until after publication of our report last week. Rarely do we have a guest coach of the opposition really nail down the key points of the game as he, and we thank him again.
Oh, come on! Was this acted out as a movie script for the retirement of Defensive Coordinator Nick Aliotti? It was an amazing defensive performance to hold Texas to only seven points, and granted, Texas made mistakes, but I have not begun on the Ducks’ miscues yet, either.
The Oregon defense made so many big stops in the running game and yet, to have two “pick-sixes” besides? That’s a movie script, baby. I loved the assortment of run-blitzes, corner blitzes, and stunts executed by the defensive line that seemed to anticipate where the Longhorns were going so many times. For me, this was a statement game for the defensive line, and we will have fun breaking it down in future analysis reports.
We have had a much-maligned kicking game throughout the year and rightly so, yet, what a perfect time for the best performance of the season! Kicker Matt Wogan nailed kickoffs deep, and was 3-4 on field goals as a true freshman in his first extended placekicking duty for the Ducks – his progress made us all proud.
Our punting was not superlative, until we downed a few deep in Longhorn territory, and again, was quite a pleasant surprise from senior Alejandro Maldenado. Special teams have brighter days ahead, which is notable, considering the many fake punts, field goals, or two point conversions we had this year. A great starting point to ponder the possibilities for next year!
Let me start by declaring that I am delighted with 11 wins, and that we did not have to play Alabama. My major concerns about the Oregon offense were not alleviated by the performance in the Alamo Bowl. Our problems scoring in the Red Zone did not change, nor did our penchant for committing inane penalties at the most inopportune times. Our offense scored 16 points, and I try not to think of what it would have been, had the cramps come earlier for Marcus Mariota. Watching our offense in the second half was like watching the Philadelphia Eagle offense with Nick Foles, as it was cut in half. The use of De’Anthony Thomas was more than a curiosity to me, and made me wonder what the game plan was — and how they meant to utilize his skills.
Speaking of game plans, what happened to the innovative game plans of recent years where Oregon sprung old plays in the playbook to unsuspecting foes? I noted very few wrinkles in recent games but KNEW we would pop something with a month to prepare. Nope. And it is another area of concern for some of us long-time Oregon fans.
Readers, and the staff at FishDuck.com, are wondering if I’ve lost my mind, since I have violated one of our cardinal rules at FishDuck.com; you don’t go negative on the Ducks.
This is one time I am bending the rule as Principal of the site – and because I am stating what many are feeling.
How am I going to put a positive spin on what I wrote about the offense? It’s easy, as many of us love drama and suspense movie/TV shows, and the Duck offense is going to provide plenty of drama and pondering in the offseason. The football games in 2014 will have us holding our breath as the team enters the Red Zone — the element of scoring ruthlessnessly will be yearned for, once again.
Games will not be over before halftime anymore, and our appreciation of a well-run offense will increase substantially. In so many respects the drama, the suspense, and the entertainment of Oregon football will never be better!
“Oh how we love to learn about our Beloved Ducks!”
Oregon Football Analyst for EugeneDailyNews/FishDuck.com
(Top Photo from Video)