So … About This Defense …

Armstead sack

I was at the Oregon Club meeting 20 years ago in 1994 when Nick Aliotti christened the name of the “Gangrene” defense, and I recall the howls at the name. I remember thinking that “Gang-Green” was clever and fits us so well … but alas that was not the right spelling.

I have been asked to consider a short (if that is possible with me) article that offers a little pondering with room for conversation for readers on a regular basis. I like the idea of it, being beyond my usual role as an analyst or an intermediary to coaches. A Duck buddy, Jeff White, offered a factoid he read that got me to thinking about this defense and that infamous one 20 years ago — how, in Oregon’s first two games, have our opponents scored only three points in the 2nd halves this year?

Whoa. Should we start thinking about nicknames?

Arik Armstead

From Video

Arik Armstead

It may seem premature with all the young talent that is emerging on this defense. New starter Reggie Daniels has quietly created two turnovers in two games — he knocked loose a fumble against the ‘Yotes and tipped the Spartan pass that Ifo Ekpre-Olomu intercepted.

These are plays that make teams win, but our reliance on so many young players, such as Chris Seisay, Tyree Robinson, and Torrodney Prevot, gives me pause. We have other players who have played before, but with low impact. Arik Armstead had a good game, but will it last?

Defensive Coordinator Don Pellum

From Video

Defensive Coordinator Don Pellum

Such few points scored after intermission by the opps means some serious adjustments are being made by new Defensive Coordinator Don Pellum at halftime. In the past we did not always make wholesale changes going into the second half; does this mean we are taking more risks under Coach Pellum?

So far the results have been impressive, and I personally wanted to see one-of-our-own do well this year. I really felt he would be a great defensive coordinator, with a 30% chance of the defense performing even better than before. While we have only a small sample size to make a judgment call on — my gut tells me we’re going to be in good shape under this new DC.

That terrific defense of the 1994 Rose Bowl  team did not start out as well as this year’s defense, and yet is remembered fondly. Am I being too harsh in asking for more proof from this year’s defense?

What do you think of the defense thus far? Of the veterans, the newbs, and the new man in charge? (My suggested nickname is … “The Green Wall“)

[EIC Note: Charles, I’m thinkin’ you may be “Wing man” material — just sayin’ *wink*.]

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...

  • disqus_Zh8hDRwXyI

    On the D thus far how ’bout Mellow Yellow ? Show up late but finish….OK ?

  • Douglas Fur ’74

    “Fresh Green”, young players new DC. My guts reaction is that DP has the potential to be a great defensive coach. With the thousands of whims and variables of college ball we won’t know until next year or later. (To be honest I also thought Tyrone Willingham was going to be good at UW…)

    • FishDuck

      Ha! You illustrate what haunts us all; just how little we know in the end. I too, thought Ty was going to be scary as UW….and was dubious about Bellotti bringing in an unknown coach from a FCS school to be OC?

      I thought Erickson at ASU was going to turn them into a juggernaut, and did not think much of the current coach when hired…and so on. Who knows? It adds to the drama and entertainment, and in my case–it adds to my thankfulness for what we have.

  • d_king

    It’s way to early for that kind of stuff really. We need to look at how they do against conference teams. Not that the teams we’ve played are that much less (sparty) then PAC12 teams, but it’s different when the team you play every year is in front of you. The non-conf. teams don’t have the experience of years and years of playing each other to draw on.

    Personally I’m skeptical of comparing the current D with gang green or even the D from 2011.

    I’m excited and hopeful, but need conference play to make a call on this one.


  • hokieduck

    With so many youngsters, maybe the name should be the GreenGreens…

    On a serious note, this defense has potential but is not showing enough effort. I have rewatched all of the games, some several times. So many times I see defenders who could be in on closing out a play, instead pull up and let the other guys handle it. That is not the kind of football played by a great defense. That is not the kind of football played by the Kiko/Clay Ducks defense of two three years ago (I see a little Kiko in Joe Walker, however).

    A lot of things in life are not controllable; effort is not one of them. Until the Ducks desire to be great and play with that intensity and focus and effort, this defense deserves nothing more than a swift kick in the butt. They have great potential. If they fail, it is attributable to an unacceptable lack of effort.