FishDuck Post-Bowl Commentary

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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.

The GREAT

Sack by Joe Walker!

D.C. Photography

Sack by Joe Walker!

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.

The GOOD

Matt Wogan

D.C. Photography

Matt Wogan

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!

The OFFENSE

Marcus Mariota

D.C. Photography

Marcus Mariota

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.

Hang onto the ball!

D.C. Photography

Hang onto the ball!

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!”

Charles Fischer

Oregon Football Analyst for EugeneDailyNews/FishDuck.com

Eugene, Oregon

(Top Photo from Video)

 

 

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Charles Fischer

Charles Fischer

Charles Fischer has been an intense fan of the Ducks for thirty years and has written reports on football boards for over a dozen years. Known as “FishDuck” on those boards, he is acknowledged for providing intense detail in his scrimmage reports and in his Xs and Os play analyses. He and his wife Lois, a daughter, Christine, and their dog (Abbie) reside in Eugene, Oregon, where he has been a financial advisor for 30 years serving clients in seven different states. He does not profess to be a coach or analyst, but simply a “hack” that enjoys sharing what he has learned and invites others to correct or add to this body of Oregon Football! See More...

  • Douglas Fur ’74

    Good news. Marcus is back.
    Bad news. A one touchdown tie with an unranked team.
    Options. Stalinist ball control offense with heavy tanks on the OL or “Confuse-a-Cat” offense with more options.
    Look to Navy or basketball or Bellevue H.S. or Aussie football anything but more of the same because teams are stopping our current offense.

    • Holiday Pie

      Interesting thoughts, Jeff. Of course you’re wrong, but that’s OK. It must be boring without your Gators in a bowl. look forward to your post next Sunday.

    • hokieduck

      Texas may have been unranked but they were not untalented. Loaded with 5 star and future NFL players, good enough to beat Oklahoma, troubled and lacking a QB but still no slouch team. Also, they were the power running team that supposedly ate the Ducks for breakfast.

      Seems we did OK. If that defense came to play every game and Mariota remained healthy and Helf/Frost kept DAT in the slot and used Tyner much more heavily much earlier in the season… well… if a frog had wings, he wouldn’t whomp his a$$ every time he jumped. Sigh.

  • hooverli

    “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?”

    It’s obvious, and should have been noted earlier on, that Chip was the genius everyone claimed he was. He was respected for his creative plays, instilled the utmost confidence in his players and coaches, and seemed to always share the credit. After this year, it should be obvious that the program has come down to earth without him. Mark’s a great guy but he’s never come across, to me, as the innovator that Chip was. He was probably a great sounding board for Chip but not a creator of innovative game plans. But then again, there are very few who are as brilliant as Chip.
    Go Ducks!

  • MAITAIDUCK

    I always appreciate your commentary Fish, and this Offense scared me too in the RED Zone where they again with the Fast athletic Players we have on offense shouldn’t be having these sorts of problems reaching PAY DIRT. I believe that Tyner will pass NO. 9 on the depth chart because he just runs with more Authority and the TE Position looked uncapable of putting together anything remotely scary to what was happening with the Position earlier in the year. I know this wont be a problem next year with 3 really capable TEs on the roster. All in all I did not know what to expect from Helfrich for this Game but he out did Chip in his 1st year with a 11-2 mark. OC Position from Scott Frost must improve as our QB Depth and hopefully Morgan can come in and beat out Rodriguez and Lockie because this offense needs a reliable back up in case Marcus goes down and he just might be the guy.

  • hokieduck

    The season is over. It was a true disappointment for most fans, me included, although I also see the big picture and appreciate how far the Ducks have come and what rarified air we breathe even in a disappointing season. My thoughts.

    Chip Kelly is a once in a generation coach. Or longer. I read somewhere yesterday that he is being seen as revolutionizing the NFL in a way not seen since Don Coryell at San Diego in the late 70s early 80s (with the great Dan Fouts as QB). Coryell, like Chip, revolutionized the game by spreading the field both horizontally and vertically. He did so by revolutionizing the passing game; Chip does so with the running game primarily.

    But what I miss most about Chip and what I did not see from Helfrich this year was *adjustment*. Chip watched the first couple of series and then he made mass adjustments. At half he went nuke and came out blazing. The ability to adjust this year seemingly was simply gone. The last half of the season kind of exemplified that.

    Secondly, Chip just had an edge that came across in every single thing he did and bled over into the players and the program as a whole. That edge moved to Philadelphia this year. No more were the Ducks players getting up and making their beds. Silly? Yes but no. No longer were 4th down decisions … well, not seeming like decisions, just extensions of the series. And never would the problems with players (Lyerla, DAT, Huff) have been allowed to fester or to communicate itself outside the program. DAT’s Instagram posted the day before the Alamo Bowl was the latest indicia of this problem (for those who do not know he posted an image of himself in his UO track gear with the caption (roughly) “I prefer track because it is all about you. You don’t have to rely on anyone else.”) It should also be noted that he posted “One More Year” on NY’s night, however.

    So Goodbye 2013. Let’s get some recruits. Let’s let Helf and Frost grow up a little bit. Let’s get a demon as DC.

    Go Ducks. WTD.