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?
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?
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*.]
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