Reassessing Being an Oregon Fan

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For the first time in the three year existence of this site — we are not doing an analysis this week. Before the days of, I would simply delete the loss in the DVR and never even want to look at it again. Now I am supposed to analyze it for you, but the pain and the flood of emotions that hit me are the same as all of you face. I can’t.

I have learned that the best time to analyze a loss is six months later in the late spring/early summer, as by then the pain has subsided and we can be more objective in learning from it. At — we are also fortunate to have guest coaches breaking it down for us, as we had this last summer from Coach Curtis Peterson, and Coach Levi Steier. We can also approach it from a positive learning experience mode as I did recently concerning our problem with sacks.

While there is a ton of good things in the Arizona game to review, and quite a few tough things to learn from in that contest, I am struck even further by the reaction of many Oregon fans to the loss. This is an Opinion-Editorial piece that will make many of you angry, but I do believe that we all need to reassess what it is to be an Oregon Fan at this time.

Fans don’t know JACK …

Rethinking this?

Kevin Cline

Rethinking this?

One coach I work with never goes to Oregon games anymore because, as he says, “I cannot listen to the stupid things the fans say.” I was surprised to hear him state that until I had a film-viewing session with him, and I realized how little I really knew.

Now keep in mind that, growing up, I played for five years (up through high school) and had studied the game quite a bit. I also gained some notoriety by being the first in the state media to reveal our new 3-4 defense to the public in the summer of 2010 … but even with all of that — I was stunned at how much more there was to the game.

Let’s put coaches at a 10.0 in football knowledge, and most fans would place themselves as a 7.0, including me before this experience.  The reality is that most fans are a 1.5, and my job on this site is to be the bridge between the coaches and the fans.

I’ve created more than 100 analyses, and spent hundreds of hours consulting with coaches, and I can say with absolute certainty that 99%+ of the fans don’t know JACK about the game — and sometimes it seems they don’t want to learn, yet still spout their nonsense [/rant]) I personally am not qualified enough to comment after what I have determined that I don’t know — yet we have fans who admonish coaches about things of which they really know nothing.

Who are you going to get?

What do Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Steve Spurrier, Les Miles, and Bob Stoops all have in common? They each have won at least one National Championship and all five of those coaches lost two games last year, as did Mark Helfrich. All of them have also lost a game so soon into this season … so if you advocate firing our staff, who are you going to get who is not locked into his current gig and has done significantly better recently?

Coach Willingham

From Video

Coach Willingham

Have you looked around the conference at the history of the other teams and the massive turnover throughout the years?  Washington fired Lambright immediately after it was shown he was not Don James … and the program slid downward until it actually hit an 0-12 season from subsequent coaches who were well respected.

Fire this staff and lose the incredible expertise of John Neal, Steve Greatwood, and Gary Campbell? That is what a new coach will do, thus we could become the “Tire-Fire” that is now Michigan. You run a huge risk of tanking your own program by knee-jerking a decision emotionally.

Who are YOU to judge?

So many of us fans demand not just wins, but wins that are pretty enough for our entitled sensibilities. These coaches put in incredible hours to win; do you do the same at your job? Are you as good in your profession as what you are demanding of them?

Rich Brooks

John Giustina

Rich Brooks

Twenty years ago — after the ’94 Rose Bowl the story was circulated of a local businessman who was key to the program. (This was before Phil Knight.) If anyone had the right to be judgmental, he could, as he had built a prosperous business, and had great health and family.

Truly he was an exceptional human being and Rich Brooks was grateful for his support at a crucial juncture for the program. If anyone could have told Coach Brooks what he should be doing, this man had the track record of success to justify those “suggestions.”

But he never did.

He never told Rich how to do anything, because he knew how little of football he was truly aware of … and knew that Coach Brooks was working like crazy and trying his hardest to improve not only the football Ducks but of his beloved University, as a whole. These coaches want to win so bad that losing can actually make many of them ill – physically; a perfect fan like this businessman is what Oregon needed then … and now.

Our Offense Suffers because of Chip Kelly?

Chip Kelly

From Video

Chip Kelly

Yes, it is true. At Oregon we are still building the talent level on defense, and we have always won by outscoring the opponent and having a defense that is average, at best, and yet makes enough key plays to secure the win.

Arizona scoring 31 points is not a crushing event when our offense scores 52 points — as they often do. But how can you score that many points with a true freshman at one tackle and a walk-on at the other tackle? I’ll tell you — you can’t.

Why don’t we have some junior or sophomore tackles to fill in as other elite programs do? Because we had poor recruiting at that position for a two-year span under Chip Kelly, and we have yet to catch up.

St. Charles (Chip, not me) would have a struggling offense if he were here now for the same reasons, but at least he would take responsibility for it. Coach Helfrich has to deal with it without a word about the truth of why we are in this difficult spot.

If we were to have the usual replacements, the offense would score in the high 30s-to-mid 40s — with room for more) and we would win without injuries to the quarterback. Our former coach is revered – and rightfully so — and I made a ton of instructional videos about his offense that are still viewed every hour of the day. However, he was not perfect, and learned on the job, as well.

Oregon should be better …

Be realistic; do you really think you know more than the coaches? I heard people spouting about us not running Marcus Mariota more during the game as we were walking to our cars the other night. Yet none of us knew that he was slowed down by minor injuries from the WSU game.

Why aren’t we blitzing more?” Perhaps it’s because the coaches know that the fifth defensive back coming in tweaked his ankle in practice and cannot cover the opponent in the slot. So we have to rush only three to facilitate a drop into an easier eight-man zone defensive coverage. There are tons of things about the players, injuries and knowledge level that make up the game plan by the Oregon coaches. You simply cannot judge, because you do not know these inside facts — even if you do have the knowledge of the game, which the average fan most certainly does not.

Why aren’t we running screen passes to slow the blitzes?” Perhaps it’s because it takes more timing and communication than we have time to cover in practice with the new starters — thus we have to keep the game plan simple when we have inexperienced players starting. So what do we do when the simple plays don’t work? (Fans … you answer that …)  You do the best you can – which is what our coaches are doing.

What are the Best Probabilities?

Steve Greatwood

Craig Strobeck

Steve Greatwood

This coaching staff is superb, and given time it will prevail. You cannot have a new head coach along with new offensive and defensive coordinators without some OJT taking place. Look around the conference at the head coaches; they all learned their bones somewhere else before coming to this now, very difficult league. [Editor-in-Chief (EIC) comment — This intuition is spot on.]

How many times in your profession were you told not to do something because it did not work? Yet you tried anyway because you were now doing it and thought you could do it better. It is quite possible that some of that is occurring with our newbies on the staff, and we have to be patient as they figure it out.

We could fire them all and have some poor upcoming years in getting new players to fit the new coaching staff, or we can have some years that are successful, but not as good as fans want while the current coaches learn. I believe they are very talented, and if we give them four years total — they will have us back in the Top-5 consistently. We are in the second year of that (first year for Don Pellum) timetable that I would ask fellow fans to honor.

“I don’t see the same emotion from the players.” 

Perhaps, again, this is part of the learning curve as every coach wishes to do it his way, see the results and then change to a different approach or go back to how it was run before. We must let that happen, as I am convinced that not only can this coaching staff succeed at the level to which we seem to be accustomed – but the downside risk of making a change is so enormous that the probabilities are clear to many of us. The upside potential of this staff vastly trumps the massive risk of making a change.

“Charles … you are a Suck-Up and a Sunshine-Pumping Tool.”

All ages should rethink this?

Kevin Cline

All ages should rethink this?

I get that a lot, but my view is based upon a rational, mature approach to my beloved Ducks. This site is about learning and pondering; we will deal with the negative, but we won’t be nasty about it. I was at Autzen Stadium 20 years ago during the Utah game … and noted the 35,000 on hand during the crunch time of the game.

Thursday night we had 58,000, thus we have 23,000 Bandwagon fans who will be with us only when we’re winning. This program needs better fans than that and I challenge the readers of this site to rise beyond their emotions.

Quit acting entitled and look at the reality of how other teams in the conference have fared and just how lucky we all have been during this wonderful ride to the top. I have faith that we will be back there again — with patience.

Will you reassess what it is to be an Oregon fan? [EIC note — How dare anyone BOO our Ducks — shame on you.]

Charles Fischer     (FishDuck)
Oregon Football Analyst for the CFF Network/
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...

  • Keith Dennis

    This is absolutely, 100% how I feel. Thank you for writing it.

  • Northrivers

    Thank you for your honest insight. Have hung in there through the lean years, love the winning years, but will be a Duck fan no matter what!

  • BigGreen1981

    Our Ducks be ready to play this weekend vs. UCLA.

  • DonealDuck

    Since the Pac-10 / 12 switched to a 9 game conference schedule there has been a total of ONE team go undefeated in conference play. ONE – Oregon 2010. No other team in no other year of a 9 game conference schedule has done it.

    Anybody who EXPECTS ANY TEAM to go undefeated in a 9 game conference schedule is sorely uninformed and misguided.

  • Me

    I dropped my season tickets in part because of price increases…but ultimately because of the people the sat near me. NOT Duck fans.

  • panamaslim

    Whoever heads the Ducks in the future will be in a scary place – it’s like Bartow following Wooden. But with what Kelly produced on the field, along with the brand, the infrastructure and the funds, we’ll consistently be a 2-3 loss team most years. And that is pretty darn good. Go Ducks!

    • RJ

      The best teams can only hope for is a 2 or 3 losses year. The other 2 or 3 wins is up to luck and chance.

  • win_the_day_go_ducks

    I’ve been reading this site for years. I just signed up so that I could say, this piece echoes everything I think and feel. Having a loss sucks, but crappy fans make it almost unbearable. I remember getting splinters from the old seats in Autzen when the Ducks were LUCKY to even get to a bowl game.

    Thank you for this article, and thank you for your site, it truly is awesome and I love learning more about football and most importantly our beloved Ducks. I’ll be at the Rose Bowl this Saturday, but the next time I’m up in Eugene, I owe you a beer.


  • Harvey Road

    Respectfully, the coaches are paid a great deal and are the beneficiaries of resources that Rich Brooks could only have dreamt of. It is not unreasonable to expect that they will perform at a high level. That is what they are being paid and what they were retained to do. I do not fear change. I despise complacency.

    • Sports righter

      We are recruiting nation wide since we have a poor recruiting base around us… I don’t see the coaches being complacent and the last two and the upcoming recruiting classes I think back me up!

  • Coac H Brooks

    I like that you asked “Do the same at your job?”

    I’ve wondered what it would be like to spend ~100hours/week recruiting, making
    sure those recruits don’t crime, then teach ‘em how to work out, then
    teach ‘em their jobs (and stay humble), cultivate leadership, then create a game plan they can
    digest and modify it when the situation goes TangoUniform. Then the next day, you’d get second
    guessed by all those Sunday morning moron’s.

    I’m pretty sure that eventually, I’d get arrested for choking somebody (could
    be a recruit that messed up or a fan that stepped on my last nerve) and not one
    of you sonsabitches would feel bad for me.

  • FunkyDucky

    1. “Why aren’t we blitzing more?” Perhaps it’s because the coaches know that the fifth defensive back coming in tweaked his ankle in practice and cannot cover the opponent in the slot. So we have to rush only three to facilitate a drop into an easier eight-man zone defensive coverage.

    2.“Why aren’t we running screen passes to slow the blitzes?” Perhaps it’s because it takes more timing and communication than we have time to cover in practice with the new starters — thus we have to keep the game plan simple when we have inexperienced players starting

    Perhaps I don’t believe any of this crap! If we’re supposed to be #2 in the nation and we can’t handle this or don’t have the players to account for these two items…. then we should stop falling for the hype.
    Go watch the replays at noonlick and watch our lines, play calling and defense. Thank God we have Marcus for a while. If he can avoid running around in the backfield, perhaps we’ll pull out another win.

  • Trevor Westerdahl

    Thanks for the lecture.

    Do you realize that a great deal of the FUN of watching games is to be that couch-based coach? Fans can and SHOULD be allowed to express opinions, stupid or not. Why did Oregon lose to Arizona? Don’t you think it is possible that coaching is a factor? Anytime someone gets mad a coaching decisions, suddenly we aren’t fans?

    Alabama fans are pissed right now too. I bet Lane Kiffen isn’t feeling so hot right now. Guess what happens when teams loose: everybody has their opinion and they share it (right or wrong). Teams loose too much and coaches loose jobs.

    Its easy to believe everyone is on the same page with a winning team. I have been an Oregon fan long before Chip and I have LOVED the recent success of the team, but I never left when they floundered. As a long-term fan, I love my team and I have a right to make my own judgment calls and share my opinion. Isn’t that what these forums are for?

    Personally, I think its worse for writers to get all jacked up on their version of morality and start lecturing all the rest of us on how we don’t know jack. I love the Ducks. I wish them the best, but I can’t stand that the players are getting all the blame. There are really obvious coaching mistakes happening too.

    People don’t like to see their teams loose. Mans fans will get mad. Many get frustrated. Many seem apathetic and enjoy whatever happens, win or loose. Social media and instant posting leads a dramatic increase of emotional-based responses.

    Let people blow their steam and get over it. I see it with every single popular sports team: every one. There is nothing new or different here.
    Besides I watched the games, there were a lot of questionable coaching decisions. Perhaps some of these fans have merit in their comments.

    • Sports righter

      From my perspective, Marcus lost this game by taking too many deep shots early in the game rather than the simple first down passes there open. I feel he thought he was helping the oline by scoring quickly rather than a quick pace offense getting the defense on their heals. Coaches call plays, but the players have to execute and there were easy plays to be made by Marcus…these are the same mistakes that Hundley has been making and both QB’s have been sacked way too much.

      • DuckU

        I re-watched, and studied the first half of the AZ game right after the game had ended, and found the most surprising, unsettling mistakes were made by veterans on the team – most notably by Marcus.

        The defense had actually held AZ to 3 points in the 1st half, and had got a couple of turnovers. The O-line was what we all know it to be but even guys there like Grasu were uncharacteristically having a bad night.

        Marcus held the ball for far too long many times, and though we learned post game from Coach Frost that he was dinged up a little, he SHOULD’VE taken off, and got what yards he could get then slid (if he was indeed dinged up); besides, it’s not like he was any safer in the pocket, right? Even last year while he had the knee brace on he ran when he had to…

        To top that off he was indecisive too often, and pitching late in option plays which could’ve gone for big yards; at least twice this happened. He also failed in the zone reads many times – granted he’s not going to get it right every time but he failed an inordinate amount of times.

        Look, blame goes all over the place with that loss, and some praise to the AZ defense, and offense as well but the Mariota that won the WSU game with his arm and legs was not doing the same things against AZ – namely making the big play, taking what the D gave him or simply creating positive plays with his feet.

        This team needed “SuperMariota” to show up again, and win that Thursday night, but instead got Marcus “Kent”.

        Of course I still love the kid, and wouldn’t trade him for the world but I wanted to bring out what I saw as well, like ‘Sports righter’ said here.

      • Trevor Westerdahl

        Was it Marcus, or the play that was called? I challenge the idea it was Marcus and believe it was Frost. I watched the game again.. three receivers ran out and didn’t even turn until 15-20 yards out. Sorry, it was not Marcus, it was Frost trying to bring back his Nebraska days. The more time progresses, the more Frost drops Chip’s play-calling.
        There were no screens. No sweeps, No reverses.
        Nope, it was coaching – sorry!

  • Sports righter

    I have been a Duck fan through thick and thin and have found the fans to create more problem with their ideas then they think; All I have to reference is 28 years of losing by OS and the knowledge that the Fan chased two great coaches away (thank you OS fans) and got lucky with Denise Erickson and several WR who may not have been students at the time.

    I physically don’t like to go to too many games as it is difficult to get around, but the games I still go to make me wish I stayed home and watched on TV for the stupid comments I have heard. I do miss the energy of Autzen, but the feeling of entitlement is just too high there.

    I look forward to the thrills this season brings as we could lose any game we play and watching the players and the Coaches work to answer question and come together as a team is exciting for me to watch.

    Thank you for this article

  • Sports righter

    Oh and be ready for a DUCK fight this weekend as this team will not drop from sight; I think we win and we will win UGLY! If you don’t like ugly wins – don’t watch!!

  • Grant

    I agree re:Helfrich and the program in general.

    My one disagreement with you comes with Coach Pellum. I talked to multiple coaches about his scheme so far this year and they were in agreement that the tackling, play calling, and discipline were very poor. Combine their experience with the statistics, which show a major drop off from our defense, and I would say that Coach Pellum needs drastic improvement to retain his job in the offseason. I believe we CAN get better, but if not, we need to chalk up that hire as a mistake and move on. This is major college football, not the place to “get used to” being a DC. Should have hired DC Orlando from Utah State.

  • DuckU

    Great article, glad you wrote it, and agree 99.9% with it.

    That 0.1% I dissent with is the right for fans to vent their frustration and be irrational and/or make overreactive statements – in the heat of the moment – say, immediately after a bad loss like this one.

    I remember after the ugly loss at Boise St. in 2009 with Chip “all-mighty” at the helm, I lost my cool in front of the tv, and spouted all sorts of non-sense – mostly at this first time HC. A day or two later “Bruce Banner” returned, and the hulking green monster I had become subsided. You’ll recall that Oregon also struggled for the next few games as well; barely beating teams that the Ducks were perceived to be “better” than.

    For those so-called “fans” of this program who can’t eventually come to their senses, and allow rationality to set back in (if they were ever rational/reasonable people to begin with) I say to heck with you. This team doesn’t need you. Nor does it need your ‘boos’ being called from the stadium – that there is more embarrassing than any poor play on the field in front of a national audience ever could be.

    • Nick

      I don’t see why people are upset at these “bandwagon” fans. This is Helfrich’s second year, its not the fact that they lost to Arizona, its how they lost. I not only question the coaching staff but the entire team ( minus mariota). Arizona ruined Oregon’s rose bowl and put the final nail in the coffin for their national championship aspirations. Oregon shouldn’t need a pregame speech to get pumped up for a revenge game. The fact that they show little heart and also miss 30+ tackles is inexcusable. Stop making excuses for Helfrich and the players with the whole “Oregon fans are spoiled”.

  • Rebekah

    Thank you!!!! I totally agree. I’ve been only in Eugene since 2002 and I still love my Ducks! Even if we lost every game for the rest of the season, I will walk by my Ducks forever!

  • Jason Gamble

    Helfrich has to go. He does not have the ability to coach these guys. His before game and halftime speeches do not work. He does not know how to fire up the team. When chip was our coach we could be down at halftime and come out and score 40 points and shut the other team out. Helfrich does not have what it takes. The offense is built around manipulation. If we take to much time and let the defense get set were doomed most of the time. If we are in the hurry up the other team doesnt have a chance to get ready and were off and running. I have seen that so much this season. Mariota waiting and waiting and trying to get the coaches to hurry up. Just so we can run it right up the middle for no gain on 3rd and nine. Wtf. Wasnt are running game built on getting to the outside and wearing out the defense. Helfrich is gonna ruin this program. He needs to go before its to late. Wait it is to late. He needs to go…

    • Rgyle

      “Mariota waiting and waiting and trying to get the coaches to hurry up.” Agree.

  • Musgrave got it all started

    Thank you, the fact of the matter is the PAC 12 is an extremly competitive conference the chance of any team running the table in the regular season is extremely low. If you do, you are rewarded with a bonus game against proven winner in the conference championship. As Duck fans we should count ourselves lucky to have had the meteroic rise we ve had over the last 20 years. Even thinking worst case this year, and we go 9~3 or 8~4, we re going to a bowl game.You can tell the johnny come lately fans by how they handle a loss. If you ever gave up a Saturday or all your Saturdays to sit through all the beat downs the ducks took at home and on the road the 70’s,80’s, and early 90’s you cant help but smile now. There was a day when the Ducks could Coug it with the best of them. I remember 1988 when we started 6~1 and finished 6~6. I want a National Title as much as anyone but 8~4 aint too bad either. Go Ducks!

  • OreotheCat

    Look, I get it Fisch, you’re cranky because duck fans are sour about the loss, but this is a terrible piece. I hate it when I try to come back to this site and I see some goofy collection of non-sequitur like this.

    Still, sometimes they are so goofy that they are fun to read, and you’ve amassed quite the collection of fallacies, so lets run through them, shall we?

    “Fans don’t know JACK”.
    The fallacy: Argument from authority!
    It is true that most fans don’t know JACK about football, but this doesn’t principally disqualify them from the capacity to comment or be correct in their comments. It is possible to recognize the results of a poor offensive line without knowing how to coach an offensive line.

    “Who are you going to get?”
    The fallacy: False dilemma!
    Granted, calls for the staff to be let go are WAY, WAY premature. People doing this already can surely be called “bandwagoners”. Still, to assert that there are no good coaches to replace them because all the good coaches are tied up on other teams is absolutely silly, and Chip Kelly is an embarrassingly immediate example to the contrary.

    “Who are YOU to judge?”
    The fallacy: Straight non-sequitur!
    This one is pretty goofy. It does not follow that you must be a harder worker, better at football, more intelligent, or any such thing in order to judge anything or anyone and be correct in that judgement for the right reasons. Of course I suspect what you’re really trying to express is some form of “we should give the coaches a little slack, they are capable of making mistakes just as anyone else is, and it is unreasonable to expect perfection”, which would be perfectly fine, but this isn’t what that sections says.

    “my view is based upon a rational, mature approach to my beloved Ducks”
    Actually it quite demonstrably, definitionally isn’t. See above informal and formal fallacies.

    “Thursday night we had 58,000, thus we have 23,000 Bandwagon fans who will be with us only when we’re winning.”
    Once more, this does not follow at all. Just because you went to a game 20 years ago and noted the attendance does not mean that some proportion of all Duck games is comprised of bandwagoners.

    Although you claim to be impartial, mature, and rational here, it is actually quite the opposite. Your response is simply an emotional one directed back at people who complain after a loss. You’re irrationally in favor of the ducks. So don’t claim some high, mature, rational ground when nearly half of your responses to complaints are totally invalid. Its OK to admit when the ‘beloved ducks’ have clear problems, and you don’t have to attempt totally fallacious responses to protect them from criticism. Simply state that you are optimistic for X reasons, (and if you don’t have reasons to be optimistic, say that you are irrationally optimistic) admit of concerns for X reasons, and move on.

    Having a rational and mature approach to Oregon football means freely admitting when there are clear problem places, and with measured concern, entertaining measured confidence and *hope* for improvement. It doesn’t mean calling for the coaches to be fired, but it also doesn’t mean saying nobody has a right to criticize the coaching staff or be disappointed.

    • UOsa06T&FFB

      So congrats….. you successfully made yourself look like a complete loser to everyone that will read this post. Me… being an ex athlete(2 sports), having the pleasure of being trained by the best and with the best, being around the best in other sports, being around it all, working in sports at a high level as well, etc, etc, etc. You know nothing oreo… the fans know nothing… sh%t anyone who’s not directly involved with this stuff….. knows JACK. He was right and so far every former teammate of mine and other former athletes at the UofO surprisingly agree… well not surprising at all. We don’t like the direction Oregon is going… we don’t like the fans anymore… we don’t like even competing for the fans that much anymore. Most don’t even want to go to football games because of the fans. He hit straight on point with this. All it said is we got problems with bandwagon people and the obvious problems such as injuries are keeping us down. You wasted your time looking up all this crap; definitions, copy and pasting back and forth, etc. You’re pathetic to say the least. I bet you dream of playing big and hanging with football stars. Talk crap about our team and how youd be better out there. Also, you always get in to fact fights with people about the ducks or anything because you think you’re always right I’m sure. People like you make me ashamed of being called a duck. Well I actually don’t talk about it anymore. Being a duck is a fad now. Go play your Fifa and jerk off to the cheerleaders like everyone here knows you do. When giving an opinion about something… and you’re not a writer that “tries” to associate to it and know about it and study it…..shut up and move on. You don’t know JACK!

      • 2005 Graduate

        If athletes don’t like competing for the fans anymore, don’t do it. Simple as that. It isn’t forced labor. If you do something in a public forum, which college athletics most certainly are you will probably at some point get criticized for something. If you are ashamed of being a duck, don’t call yourself one. Most fans appreciate your efforts as well as everyone else on your teams. But pointing out that our OLine is currently injured and is unable to open up gaps or protect Marcus for long periods of time is not rocket science. Stating this in conversation on a message board or with friends does not make me a bad fan. It is a sport. It is fun. I like talking about it. Does losing a game mean most fans are going to boo the Ducks? Not the majority of fans who have been around for years. Does the Ducks losing a game mean we are going to stop coming to games? No it does not. The stands will be full on the 18th against UW. The fact that you played sports for Oregon does not make you a better University of Oregon alum. It just means you are more talented athletically than I am in your given endeavors. And for that I applaud you. 2 Sports! That is impressive. You are a very lucky individual who I’m sure spent hours upon hours training to be the best. But you are judging a majority of Oregon Duck fans and Alumni based on the actions of a minority. From your screen name I could assume you graduated from UO in 2006. I graduated in 2005. As with anyone on campus you would see football players at bars, in the dorms and at parties. Several of the guys on your team were not pleasant individuals. They were flat out jerks and they did not make our campus a safer or better place. Do I assume that all Oregon Duck football players are jerks then? Absolutely not. I would be failing to recognize that a lot of players are great people who strive for excellence on the field (or arena or whatever sports you played) as well as in the classroom and in life. So why should you assume that all Duck fans are that way? Because some obnoxious idiot wearing receiving gloves yelled something in the stands? If i’m going to be judged on that guy….well that is up to you but it sure is unfortunate.

        • hokieduck

          I read this response to Oreocat earlier. I have no idea… no idea at all… why it would have been removed. It was definitely in opposition to the thrust of this post, but it was well reasoned and reasonably well stated. Obviously, many disagreed, but that is no reason to delete the comment.

          Especially, given the subject matter of the post, it is disturbing that it is “awaiting moderation” after it has been on the site for a while.

          • FishDuck

            Hey Hokie,

            I had a business trip planned for months and was out of state for the last couple of days…a terrible time to be out of touch when the site blew up from my article.

            The “awaiting moderation” for the longest time was not intentional–I just could not get to it soon enough. I too read his post briefly between meetings, and thought it was super, and was disappointed to see that Disqus later on wanted me to moderate his when we have so many others that could have used such attention.

            I was going to respond to everyone….but it has gone too long. AND….I really said my piece in the article, and I let everyone say theirs in response.

  • Cam Passmore


    LTRFTC (the “C” is for commenter). First, I want to praise the part of this piece that is in defense of Helfrich. A year and a half into his run as coach and I find myself exactly where I was the day he was announced: hopeful, but not certain, he is the guy. Last season you really couldn’t tell anything about him, other than maybe he was learning how to motivate a team to rebound as the season drew to an end. But in total it was hard to read, at least in my opinion, in terms of how good Helfrich was. This season, when we beat MSU my opinion of him went up, after last week it went down, and here I am still uncertain, but I don’t know where people are coming up with the idea that it is clear he should be fired.

    But, and while it is still early to say for certain, I have to push back on your defense of Pellum. The bottom line is that he was given an excellent roster. Guys like Armstead, Ekpre-Olomu, and others are just different from what we have seen from previous Ducks defenses. Hell, we’re only a few years removed from John Bacon (sorry John, if you are reading this). Anything you can say about Oregon’s defenses, traditionally, simply does not apply to this particular defense. There is talent everywhere. And while we managed to make it to he national title game with a converted TE and a JUCO DE playing on the interior of our line (Bair/Clark), now we can’t get pressure with four and five star 300 lb monsters. Your rationalizations can’t overcome the fact that Pellum is under performing for the talent he was given to work with.

    A final thought: Michigan didn’t kill its program with knee jerk reactions. Michigan killed its program by trying to hang on to the same family tree of coaching for far too long. Was there a knee jerk regarding Rich Rod? Certainly. But they could have found another cutting edge coach. Instead they chose to try and go back to the Bo Schembechler era and stumbled back into the Lloyd Carr era. Continuity is good, but let’s not pretend continuity got us here. We got here because we brought in the right person from outside the program, Chip. Had Bellotti simply promoted from within this never would have happened.

  • GratefulD_420

    Charles the FishDuck does not reassess what is means to be a fan; because you by definition are one and a good one. Cheers.

    Now there are many vocal fans calling for the coaches jobs… that I can’t even tell the difference between the trolls or the so called Oregon fans. But if anyone know anything about football… losing a game, more games or several games does NOT mean our coaches are lost or our players have no spirit. True fans know the difference. Ups and downs happen. Losses to AZ (another Pac12 team with great coach; good players; nothing to loose; focusing all off season and all season on Oregon.) will happen.

    As Fish points out; Saban lost two last year and one this year…. and what where his recruiting classes? If you were an Alabama fan… who do you turn too when you always have the highest ranked recruiting classes? Fire the coach! There are many more stories and comparisons far more egregious.

    As far as people going after “poor discipline?”…. sorry, but I didn’t see anything crazy. #1… unsportsmanlike? (did you see Texas in the Alamo bowl RIP off Mariota’s hemet three times through the game and the announcers talk about a loose helmet !!! not counting all the cheap shots; it was a horrible display of coaching/discipline and Strong has to deal with it. We don’t!!!

    any ways… Go Ducks! Coach Helf will figure out the few small things he’s missing/learning to get there. He’ll have a great mentor in Kelly; who’s always loyal. We have a great staff (just need campbell, frost and radcliffe to stick with Helf a few more years to make transition smooth.)

    Winning makes all the bad plays go away… and talk about… oh jeez. what ifs’…. but damn we are good. Loosing….. makes all the bad plays; missed tackles; missed play calls look worse. Period.

    Go Ducks.

  • daddy44444

    Most duck fans don’t remember the good old days when going to the Sun Bowl was considered an actually good year. This program came up from the bottom and all the idiot hipster bandwagons will jump off like they always do. The pacific northwest has the worst fans I’ve ever seen. All of them run their mouths when they win and say they arent fans when they lose. They are all too busy drinking coffees and jerking off their boyfriends to understand how to actually play sports. Most never have and think that because they saw a couple of games they are experts.

  • Jason the Beav

    As a Beaver diehard, I respect these words. Many think we hate all Ducks (fans/players/coaches) alike. But we truly only hate the self-righteous, entitled bandwagon fans who woke up on 3rd base thinking they had hit a triple. This is rational and sound advice. I worry that it will only be mocked by those bandwagon fans and go unheeded by others. Just a 3rd party observation by a fellow UW hater.

  • JasonD

    Amen! Seems like a lot of people are fans of winning and not fans of the team. Calling for a coaches job after a 4-1 start is ridiculous. If you’re a real fan, support your team. If you’re a duck fan for wins and jerseys, please exit through the emergency exits located at the front of the bandwagon.

  • DrawbridgeSyndrome

    Great piece. Just one thought from my POV: Yes, there are an endless number of “fans” that say stupid things in the stands. But come on man – if you are going to stop attending games because you can’t hold your own wheel straight due to chirping of the backseat drivers, then I question who is the “fan” to begin with. Success stimulates passion and interest…a lot of this passion is driven by drunken idiots, and like it or not, drunken idiots are part of what make Autzen Autzen. That is sports and isn’t unique to Eugene, Oregon or any other sporting event where the stadium is packed. As a Blazer fan, you hear it all the time about how “intelligent RipCity’s fan base is”… you hear the same comments that drove said-stubborn fan to his boycott.

  • Kelly

    Oregon will most likely lose a few more PAC-12 games this year and certainly isn’t a playoff contender. With the new TV deal, other PAC-12 schools have been able to erase the money advantage Oregon used to have with the support from Phil Knight. It’s not Helfrich’s fault other conference schools have hired top-notch coaches like Rich Rod who can beat Oregon.

    Hopefully something good will come from Oregon coming back down to reality. For starters, Duck fans could quit treating opposing fans visiting Autzen like garbage yelling at them and what not. There’s a good reason why Oregon is constantly voted as having the worst fans by other PAC-12 schools.

  • troysyx

    This was a FANTASTIC article!

  • Sam Lea

    Just because someone is a student at the U of O doesn’t mean they don’t care about the team and will only be there when we win. I, like many other students have been fans our whole lives. Growing up in Eugene, I realize how big Rich Brooks’ influence was on the team and how much “The Pick” means to this program. Saying that the entire student fan base are bandwagoners is blasphemous.

  • Jedge20

    I have a few issues with this article. You blame Chip Kelly for lack of line that’s bogus yea he may not of recruited at that position but helfrich going in should have known they needed line, no excuse for a true freshman not to be good, pull in some good lineman from the recruiting class, that’s on helfrich not chip. Second you tell me we don’t blitz cause of an injury ok that’s fine but guess what were rushing three down lineman they are destroying us on the run cause we can’t get a push, sub the damn injured man out or shift your D to a four man front, well your argument maybe they don’t practice four man fronts because they run a 3-4 D. Well in all honesty if my team in every game this season Wyoming included is getting dominated up front something has to change but for some reason the D coord. Just dosent see it. Not once did I say fire the staff but when your ranked 100+ on total D you got some serious problems even if your scoring 50 points ask WSU for the last 5+ years. There was play calling in that game that was just terrible we talk about Mariota not getting time so leave a back, back to help block on this “True Freshmans” side, also why we running the ball on 3rd and 7 when we know Arizona is stuffing the run and we can’t stop the run (maybe Mariota audibled to it cause he saw something I don’t know) just saying though quit looking for these stupid excuse about the past coaches, Injuries, and why things aren’t working!!!

  • Jedge20

    Also in the “Who are you going to get?” Article you state in bold letters HUGE risk, it is a huge risk to get a new coach but guess what that’s part of the game we want wins since the early 2000’s that’s what us Duck fans want under Chip we won PAC 12 titles we won the Rose Bowl we should have won a National Title*, now under new coach we haven’t won a single PAC 12 title we haven’t been to a Rose Bowl and very far off from playing for a title. That’s part of the risk a reward you get for hiring a new coach do we want to every year just be a relevant team one of the top 5 best in the PAC be happy with no conference championships not make the playoffs, but hey every year we at least win 10 games so that’s a good season but hey we can be like Kansas State keep the same coach for 100 years and have some good and down seasons. Don’t say look at are conference history of coaches that took over in the season look at the last 2 years Ed Orgeron took over USC after going 3-2 he finished there season with a 6-2 record, look at Tim Kish who took over Arizona after Stoops went 1-5 Kish finished .500 going 3-3. So stop defending these damn coaches. Also since your defending these coaches why did we lose to Arizona you tell me that???? We’re they just a better team then us??? “NO”

    • Tannen

      Hysterical. Under new coach haven’t won a single Pac 12 title. You mean the ONE year! Not a commentary on Helf vs Kelly or any other coach, but that mentality is the problem. Like when folks said Kelly couldn’t win the big one…after 2 tries(09 & 10). The perspective is skewed. The knowledge of facts is minimal. All about what spoiled fans EXPECT!

      • Jedge20

        Yea I mean one Year that one team was one of the best teams Oregon has had, senior loaded talent wise, prolly one of the best secondaries in the nation, but the coach allowed it to self destruct after the loss to Stanford he lost the locker room by letting players go to the media and say the seasons over now. The truth is there that Chip couldn’t win big games against physical teams- Stanford- LSU- Auburn. U say the knowledge of fact are minimal it’s right in front of your face what u talking about?? Apparently your living in the past by saying what the spoiled fan expects, now a day people Demand wins especially when you jump into the spotlight of being a power team. Look at the Patriots this year, wanting toms head, Bill Belicheck, and Robert Craft. Who would have thought that would happen. It’s the same thing here in Oregon!!! I think what pisses people off so bad like myself is how terrible we look that’s what makes it hard to not blame people.

  • Patrick Pine

    With a record to date of 15-3 under Helfrich and the recent loss possibly avoided if the penalty on Washington had not been called (I doubt that would be called in the SEC) I don’t see why some are clamoring for Helfrich’s head. Agree with your column. But I would add that Nick Aliotti’s recent comments are very disappointing and from here sound like sour grapes that he was not made head coach. Those comments fuel the naysayers. As one of the few who actually did witness the infamous Toilet Bowl game I have to tell you that the current agony over a couple of losses in very close games to very good teams is actually evidence that this program is still in a better position than I ever thought possible.

  • wtd.ducks

    As a student and Duck fan beginning in the far from glory years of the early 80’s I wholeheartedly agree with the conclusion that too many have unrealistic expectations (but not with the preachy lecture about how fans know nothing and aren’t qualified to comment at all on the coaching). Charles, I love what you do, but I’ve got to agree with Chip Kelly that football is not rocket science. And it starts with blocking and tackling whether its at the Pop Warner or NFL level and the Ducks aren’t doing either very well right now. Hopefully they can fix this for the UCLA game this weekend or it will be a very difficult rest of the season.

    AZ beat UO because they simply did both much better. Yes UO has injuries and apparently can’t go 2 deep…on some key positions on the O line…this was a major issue for ALL positions with the 80’s Ducks where the season’s success could swing on a few key injuries…but I am surprised we have not made more progress with the program’s success over the last 10 years and that is on the coaching staff since you can’t say the existing, long-tenured position coaches aren’t critical in the recruiting regardless of who the HC is. It has to cut both ways.

    Re-watch the AZ game and see how many times a single AZ defender in a one on one situation simply tackled the ball carrier with proper technique and without help. Then compare it to the Ducks tackling form and over 35 missed tackles often with multiple players involved. We are about midway through the season and have had plenty of reps in practice now on these fundamentals and are still consistently and widely tackling poorly. In any job, if you can’t get your staff to execute the fundamentals your leadership will be questioned based on lack of results and that is appropriate whether the questions come from an expert on all of the underlying complexities involved or not. It is also a reasonable expectation that a team will improve in fundamentals from game to game during the season and my one criticism is we are not seeing it especially on D where the injury excuse doesn’t apply. That is also on the coaches.

    In any line or work, if you are exceptional at what you do people find out and the combination of personal ambition and delivering results usually provides opportunities to gain more responsibility quickly inside or somewhere else. The downside to promoting loyal people with over 20 years of experience that have not already achieved the leadership role in their function is there is usually a very good reason for it. Some people are just better not being in the top role but contributing on the staff and that’s great. Where you get into trouble is confusing longevity for the skills required to be successful in the top spot which are very different and while the jury is still out it looks to me like we may have made that mistake. I also think the Ducks O improved significantly precisely because they experimented with key new ideas and people from outside over the last decade and that is the blueprint we should be following on the D side too with the same goal of being consistently among the best.

    For a program that wants to be a title contender you need to be among the leaders in all 3 phases of the game. Why should continuity and settling for good/fair on the D side be the goal? Without pushing the same approach to innovation and change on the D side it should come as no surprise that the Ducks can continue to be very good but will struggle to be great and everyone should ratchet down their expectations accordingly.

  • disqus_JmcFDecx6w

    Great article. Nobody wants to see Michigan happen to Oregon

  • disqus_Zh8hDRwXyI

    Thanks CF for the article and the site, appreciate being able quack about the ducks. The fans who spoil things for the rest are the boo bird types, those cussing at officials, and booing when an opposing player goes down, booing your own team is unacceptable, just go home, learn to be more objective about the whys of victory and defeat.
    This upcoming game in the Rose Bowl should be a doozie, as both teams should be motivated to prove their credentials as competitors in a conference that seems unpredictable. The Ducks appear to go about the game in a workman-like manner, but for the expected showboating after making a good play, which mystifies me still as it is the expectation/goal.
    I’d think the team is probably happy to go to LA for this one, hope playing on real turf goes well.
    Give it your all Ducks, we are all rooting you on despite the valid criticisms/concerns. Play smart focused ball. If you can just win the afternoon this once it will be good for the whole day. No silly penalties.

  • Mark

    Lol @ Oregon, stop running gimmicky offenses and you might start winning

  • T-town Husky

    I’ve long lurked around this site because I love the analysis. Truth be told, I’m a die-hard Husky and always have been, and I hate the Ducks to the marrow in my bones. Full disclosure is important.

    Regardless, it has been interesting to see the sense of entitlement build here. There is a significant percentage of Duck fans who now feel that it’s their God-given right to have the most innovative offense in the nation, with cartoonish statistics and the ability to basically outsmart anyone (and when you can’t outsmart them, the excellent recruiting classes can just outplay them.) You changed football with Chip, and he should get credit for that. But football is a team game and a team of coaches is needed. That team should get credit also.

    I think it’s funny to talk about arrogant UW fans. We didn’t have the chance to be as ubiquitously arrogant and obnoxious as you have been when we were in our heyday. After all, we didn’t have the internet in the early ’90’s. However, let there be no doubt we likely would have met the standard you have set. And now, it’s completely common to call for coaches jobs, or tell a kid he sucks, or assume a sophomore will never get better based on his latest “failure.” And all of it is said without any real understanding of what it is to coach.

    Listen, I’m a coach myself, and actually a successful one, although not in football. (But since you are Oregon people, you likely have reasonable respect for my sport…track and field.) Because of that background, I usually read fan commentsand see them for what they are: irrational expressions of emotion, which I guess is fine.

    But is it? There is a point where the “fan” has read too many great resources (like FishDuck) and gains just enough knowledge to be, well, dangerous. And when I say dangerous, I mean crossing the line from fan/supporter of the program to wannabe coach/pedantic critic. The latter can be a arrogant and subversive to the program. The former is often accused by the latter of being a yes-man. But I’m sorry, that’s what being a damn fan IS. Otherwise, don’t claim to be a fan. Just admit that you like to pick apart coaches and kids more than you like to cheer for them. At least that’s honest.

    Now that you’ve arrived (and as much as this Husky fan hates to admit it, you freaking ARRIVED) you might want to heed my warning. Our fan base has become the Spanish Civil War these past 20 years, with pointing fingers and different factions undermining a once great force in college football. In the name of all that is holy, people have already started throwing Chris Petersen under the bus.

    Do you want this for yourself? This is supposed to be fun. For ALL OF US. Quit taking yourself so goddam seriously and support your VERY SUCCESSFUL TEAM. FishDuck’s analysis is dead-on correct.

    • FishDuck

      Hey Coach,

      You can certainly add “writer” to your list, as that was well done. Thanks for the kudos, but I will gently disagree about the level of fans being arrogant. Check my article later this week that is other than the analysis.

      If Huskies are turning on Chris Petersen….that is VERY instructive for us Ducks, as that is crazy. Coach Petersen is damn good, and having him there makes it hard to hate the Huskies.


      Thanks Coach for writing, do drop me an email, as I have a question for you.