The trouble with tempo

USATSI 7573183 168380293 lowresAustin Meek of the Register-Guard has a great feature today on Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost, and one of the factoids in the column is that the Ducks actually ran a faster tempo this season than in previous years.

“The Ducks averaged a play every 20.15 seconds this year, putting them just behind Texas Tech (19.79 seconds per play) and Baylor (20.0). Oregon’s pace was 20.5 seconds per play last season,” Meek wrote.

The tempo didn’t help them in the red zone, where they often looked disorganized and ineffective. For the season they scored red zone touchdowns just 69% of the time. They were also held to 48% on fourth down tries this year. Together these were two critical categories where tempo failed to be a consistent advantage.

Too-often wounded Duck: With a gifted passer and a great stable of running backs next year, is the up-tempo, no-huddle spread still the best design for the Oregon attack? The system is so widely copied in the PAC-12 and around the country that it no longer poses a unique challenge to opposing defenses. The Ducks might be better able to keep Mariota healthy in another scheme, and the defense could benefit if Mariota and company occasionally took time off the clock (Mark J. Rebilas photo, USA Today Sports Images.)


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